During his address at the “2023/2024 National Law Conference” held at Nuwara Eliya Grand Hotel, President Ranil Wickremesinghe acknowledged that although all political parties in the Parliament are united, none of them currently possess a 50% voter base. He emphasized the need for unity among the parties, not solely for the purpose of elections, but to steer the country towards recovery from the ongoing economic crisis.
• A significant majority of the population lacks trust in elections
and the political system
• The people’s main aspiration is to revive the country from the
ongoing economic crisis
-Says President addressing the National Law Conference
The President also highlighted the loss of faith in elections and politics among the majority of the population, including the youth.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe further emphasized that while the re-establishment of law and order, as well as political and economic
stability, is crucial, it does not imply that Sri Lanka has completely overcome the crisis. He emphasized the necessity of making significant commitments in the future to ensure the success of the entire process.
Reflecting on the economic challenges faced by the country ten months ago, the President mentioned that it was an unprecedented situation in history. He acknowledged the efforts made by himself and his team to alleviate the crisis during that time.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe further said,
“This is the first time that the National Law Conference focuses on the process of economic restructuring and its development. I believe
selecting Nuwara Eliya as our venue is fitting. It was here that Governor Edward Barnes resided, the man who played a significant role in promoting coffee cultivation and laying the foundation for our plantation economy.
As we gather here today, it has been 10-11 months since our country faced a state of failure. However, we have managed to establish law and order, political stability, and economic stability in our nation. Yet, we are aware that this stability is only temporary, and we still have a long road ahead to overcome the challenges we face.
Just ten months ago, our entire economy was severely tested, a situation unprecedented in our country’s history.
Although our focus in the past 10 months has been on restoring law and order, political stability, and economic stability, it does not imply
that we have completely overcome the economic crisis. Regrettably, the majority of our people have lost faith in elections and politics. Whether it is the Parliament, the judiciary, the media, private sector trade unions, or professionals, a vast number of citizens lack trust in the entire system that governs our nation.”
Comments made by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya ;
“Despite the multitude of challenges we have faced in recent years, the Bar Association has persevered, bringing together its members for
conferences centred around different themes. In 2022, our focus was on Resilience in the Legal Profession:
Reinventing and Adapting. It was a testament to our determination to navigate the changing landscape of our profession. Earlier this year, we reconvened under the theme of Navigating Through a Crisis – the Role of Law. The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing
economic crisis presented us with unprecedented difficulties and obstacles. However, we firmly believe that it is the collective responsibility of each one of us to exert every possible effort to overcome these challenges and forge ahead towards a brighter future.”
President of the Bar Association Attorney Kaushalya Navaratne;
“Traditionally, the focus of the National Law Federation has been on discussing everyday topics relevant to the legal profession. However,
this year’s National Legal Conference 2023/2024 is taking a different approach. We have dedicated this conference to exploring the role of
the legal community in serving the national interests and shaping a better future for our country.
In this endeavour, we are actively engaging with various stakeholders. It is no secret that our nation is currently grappling with
unprecedented political and economic challenges. Therefore, it becomes imperative to establish a robust legal system and ensure the
independence of our judiciary.
To uphold the principles of the rule of law and steer the country in
the desired direction, visionary and disciplined leadership that
respects democracy, safeguards the rights of our citizens, and ensures
national security is of utmost importance.
For the first time in the history of our profession, we have
designated the National Legal Conference as a platform to engage with
all stakeholders and discuss areas within the legal field that require
reform or revision.
Our objective is to provide the necessary support and raise awareness
to introduce laws into our legal system that will pave the way for the
long-term development of our nation. We aim to transform Sri Lanka
from a developing country to a developed country and exert our
influence on legislators towards achieving this goal.”
Mr. Faizer Mustafa PC, Chairman NLC
“Today, as a nation, we find ourselves in the midst of a profound crisis. This conference holds far greater significance than a mere gathering of the legal community. We have chosen to convene this event as the starting point for a vital dialogue involving policymakers, officials, and the business community, with the common goal of revitalizing our country and economy.
Within the legal sector, it is crucial to recognize the pivotal role of entrepreneurship in driving our nation forward. Enterprises and
entrepreneurs must embrace and uphold the principles of the rule of law, for it is through this foundation that we can truly progress.
To achieve lasting solutions, it is imperative to involve the political leadership in this endeavor. Their active engagement and commitment will be key to realizing the successful outcomes we desire from this conference.”
Professor Maithree Wickramasinghe, Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam, Finance Ministry Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, President’s Senior Adviser on Economic Affairs Dr. R.H. Samaratunga, former Minister Naveen Dissanayake, and a distinguished group of Supreme Court judges and lawyers attended this event.