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The Church of Ceylon has called for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the formation of a truly representative caretaker administration that can regain the trust of our own people and that of the international community.

In a media statement signed by Rev. Keerthisiri Fernando, Presiding Bishop of the Church of Ceylon and Rev. Dushantha Rodrigo, Bishop of Colombo, the Church said it notes with deep concern the deteriorating state of economy and the sheer sense of apathy with which those in power approach the plethora of problems facing the people of our country.

Text of the declaration “It has been almost two months since a new Prime Minister was sworn in, well against the will of the people and ignoring the advice of religious leaders and civil society. The Cabinet that subsequently took office took no meaningful action to alleviate the suffering of our people or to secure assistance from any party to improve the state of the economy.

The current illegitimate government is only able to comment on the deteriorating state of the country from time to time and warn people to prepare for the worst. There is no action plan, roadmap or clear strategy for short, medium and long term recovery. It has now reached an absurd point where even ministers in this administration are openly calling for each other’s resignations. Obviously, this government has no legitimacy, even within its own ranks.

“We are extremely concerned that our people are dying on the streets, languishing in fuel queues for days waiting to get a meager supply of petrol or diesel. Supplying gas and kerosene for cooking is now a thing of the past. Many small and medium-sized industries and businesses have collapsed, pushing thousands of people out of work. Our schools remain closed indefinitely causing irreparable damage to the future of our country. We are alarmed that the police and armed forces are now using excessive force on unarmed civilians in order to quell the state of chaos which is clearly not their own creation. The increase in the suicide and crime rate is indicative of the degree of despair in which our society is plunged.

“It is no longer possible for this so-called government to remain aloof and indifferent to the call of our people. Any government that cannot earn the trust of its own people will have no chance of demanding respect from outside governments for funding agencies. Furthermore, it is ridiculous to expect outside agencies to save Sri Lanka when those responsible for corruption and mismanagement still control the country. The nonchalant attitude of these organizations to the suffering of our people is a clear message that cannot be ignored.

“Therefore, we reaffirm our call for the following:

“1. The immediate resignation of the President who must take personal responsibility for driving this country into bankruptcy. We wish to remind the President that a mandate can only be legitimate if the people still have confidence in him. The overwhelming call for his resignation from religious leaders, civil society and the man and woman in the street is a clear reflection that he no longer has a mandate to govern this country.

“2. The immediate resignation of the Prime Minister who has never had the legitimacy to exercise his functions. It is clear that there is no plan and no action to revive the economy other than people having to tighten their belts and die in the queues. The past two months have demonstrated the inept incapacity and failure of the current administration to tackle the burning issues of our country. The fact that the situation has only gotten worse is clear proof of this.

“3. The formation of a truly representative interim administration that can regain the confidence of our own people and that of the international community. This administration will be called upon to quickly manage the current crisis while developing appropriate strategies in the short, medium and long term. term for economic recovery. We are convinced that our country has a lot of potential to rise and rebound strongly if there is agreement on a common governance framework and support for a realistic plan for economic recovery. After all, the vast majority of our people are smart, honest, hard-working men and women who had their dreams shattered overnight through no fault of their own.We must seek leadership that can rally our people at this time.

“4. The urgent enactment of constitutional reforms aimed at reducing the powers of the executive presidency and reintroducing independent commissions. Strengthening the role of Parliament and ensuring the independence of other institutions that are essential to maintain checks and balances in governance are essential for this nation to progress with dignity. Such reforms must be the result of a consensus from all sectors of the population and must necessarily safeguard the interests of all communities.

“5. The immediate reopening of schools by providing the necessary facilities and priority support to function as normally as possible even with difficulty. We call on all the police and the armed forces to act with discernment and restraint in the coming days as people are agitating for their lives and livelihoods to be restored. We would like to remind the three forces and the police that their own families have not been spared the suffering and that the future of their own children also hangs in the balance. game due to the current situation.

The suffering masses will have no choice but to intensify their struggle because they are not heard by those who selfishly cling to power. As a Church, we will stand with and support our people as they engage in peaceful protests beginning from now, calling for a meaningful change in the direction of our country. We continue to pray for our land and for wisdom to get through these difficult times. »