President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday appointed two more Presidential task forces within a short span of time consisting of military or former military top brass. The new task forces were announced by a gazette extraordinaire yesterday.
Accordingly, one task force appointed is led by Secretary of Defence Kamal Gunaratne to ‘build a secure country, disciplined, virtuous and lawful society’. Senior Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, D.M.S Dissanayake has been appointed as secretary of the Task Force.
It consists of 10 high-level military personnel, both currently in service and retired, Acting Inspector General of Police C.D Wickrmaratne, and two Deputy Inspector Generals of Police.
According to the directive issued by Rajapaksa, the most prominent responsibility of the government is to give priority to National Security and create a virtuous, disciplined, and lawful society that respects the rule of law and justice as it has stated in the policy statement, vistas of prosperity and splendor.
The task force has been directed to give priority to National Security and create a virtuous, disciplined, and lawful society that respects the rule of law and justice as it has stated in the policy statement, Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour.”
The members of the task force are listed below :
- Major General (Retired) Kamal Gunaratne – Esquire Secretary to the Ministry of Defence
- Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva – Esquire Commander of the Sri Lanka Army
- Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva – Esquire Commander of Sri Lanka Navy
- Air Marshal Sumangala Dias – Esquire Commander of Sri Lanka Air Force
- Mr. C.D. Wickremarathne – Esquire Acting Inspector General of Police
- Major General (Retired) Vijitha Ravipriya – Esquire Director General of Customs
- Major General (Retired) Jagath Alwis – Esquire Chief of the National Intelligence Service
- Major General Suresh Salley – Esquire Director of State Intelligence Service
- Major General A. S. Hewavitharana – Esquire Director of Army Intelligence Unit
- Captain S.J. Kumara – Esquire Director of Navy Intelligence Unit
- Air Commodore M.D.J. Wasage – Esquire Director of Air Force Intelligence Unit
- T. C. A. Dhanapala – Esquire Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Special Task Force of Police
- Waruna Jayasundara – Deputy Inspector General of Police
Political commentators have raised concerns that militarization of the government system is taking place as evidenced by the formation of the task force. One commentator noted that military personnel are being appointed through task forces to carry out functions that would commonly be carried out by the respective Ministries relating to the subject. “The people do not understand the severity of this issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, another 11 member task force was also appointed to preserve and manage archeological sites in the Eastern province. This task force is being led by archeology expert Ellawala Medhananda Thera.