I didn’t earn the title ‘Field Marshal’ for selling snacks in Galle Face – Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka
Posted on April 24th, 2019

Vehemently criticizing both, the Government and the Opposition equally, over the recent terror attacks carried out by Islamic fundamentalists; United National Party (UNP) Parliamentarian, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka today (24) said that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardena cannot escape the responsibility for the tragedy by simply saying that they were not summoned for the meetings of the National Security Council (NSC).

Participating in the special Parliamentary debate on the prevailing terror situation in the country, Fonseka said, I respect the Prime Minister. Nevertheless, if you were not summoned for the NSC meetings, you could have raised that issue in this House. You had six full months and you never said anything about it. Now you cannot escape saying that you were not summoned or informed about this. As the State Minister of Defence, Wijewardena must be at the NSC meetings. What is the point of a State Minister of Defence if he cannot attend such crucial meetings? If he could not do anything about it, he should have resigned from the post.”

Fonseka added, I was given a chance to meet the Prime Minister 48 hours after the terror attack. I did not earn the title Field Marshal for selling snacks in Galle Face. There is no member in this Government who has more knowledge than I have with regard to national security related matters. If there is any such person, I will give this title to him. This Government never uses our knowledge. I do not need any positions. Just utilize the knowledge of people like me to ensure national security.

“Also, I have nothing personal against the President. However, he only returned to the country from Singapore, at midnight on the day following the tragic incidents. There were flights from Singapore which landed in Sri Lanka at 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. that day. Yet, he did not choose to take an earlier flight even after such an incident. Is that suitable for a Leader?

All the Governments after 2010 should take responsibility for this terror attack. I think Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa can remember that I proposed to build a national intelligence agency combining all intelligence units and divisions and to make it the best in South Asia soon after the war. But unfortunately, that did not happen. Instead, the intelligence operatives had been used to stalk political enemies and their children and conduct surveillance. Even the new Government did not do what should have been done. Both these Governments allowed intelligence services to deteriorate,” he added.

Furthermore, he noted that the Easter Sunday’s attack was a long planned one.

It took 12 years for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to carry out a suicide attack on the then Defence Minister Ranjan Wijeyaratne. Therefore, these people must have planned the recent attack at least seven to eight years ago. The LTTE’s terrorism was markedly different as it was an organisation fighting to divide the country. Its motives were political, whereas this group is pushing a religious agenda. I regret that the intelligence reports on the recent attack were ignored. It seems that the authorities did not give a fraction of the consideration given to information provided by Operations Director of the Anti Corruption Force, Namal Kumara for them,” he added.

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