The Joint Convenor of Support Maithri UK Team Buddhi Weerasinghe chaired the meeting.
Damendra Panangala, Joint Convenor welcomed the President Sirisena and ministers on behalf the organizing committee and the members/supporters.
Delivering his speech , Buddhi Weerasinghe, Joint Convenor of Support Maithri UK Team stated that 'the 'Support Maithri UK Team' was formed with a clear objective. The objective was to 'Topple the Rajapaksa regime and bring back the Law and Order to the country'. To meet this objective, people from various political parties got together and formed an alliance at which everyone could contribute onto the presidential election campaign. He appraised the UNP UK Branch, National Youth Front UK Branch, members and supporters of Jathika Hela Urumaya, Janatha Vikumthi Peramuna Democracy, NMATUK, Tamil and Muslim Communities in the UK who joined with Support Maithri UK Team. Buddhi Weerasinghe further stated that the SMUKT is delighted that the Sri Lanka now has a new President whom they pledged the support for.
Buddhi Weerasinghe went onto say that the Meeting between His Excellency President and the members of Support Maithri Team is to exchange views and present a few proposals for President's considerations. He said that, 'the Team hope that His Excellency President will give due considerations to the proposals submitted and views from our members. The Support Maithri UK Team reassures its fullest support to rebuild Sri Lanka's image within the UK and would like to actively contribute to the future growth strategies of Sri Lanka'.
Speaking at the event, Mahinda Perera Ushettige of JHU and President of Democracy for All, thanked the President for giving the Group to meet and greet the President. He also warned that the President should be careful from the so called supporters or friend who now come and rally around the President.
The Document of proposals handed over by Ravi Siriwardena to the President for his consideration some of which are proposals from the community members.
- The SMUKT proposed to the His Excellency President to appoint a 'National Council' with a view to seek expert advises and consultancy services from professionals and successful business leaders who live out-side of Sri Lanka. Members who service on this council can play a vital role in rebuilding our country by providing their expert knowledge.
- The SMUKT proposed to the President that the new government will introduce anti-discrimination Act and take as much as possible actions to foster the harmony between Sinahala, Tamils and Muslims communities in Sri Lanka.
- SMUKT proposed that Sri Lanka government will develop a mechanism to recognize and appreciate Ministers of Religion (mainly Buddhist Monks) who are doing tremendous work to promote Buddhism aboard.
- There are thousands of students who came to UK to study at colleges which have now been closed down by the UK authorities. Students who paid huge amount of monies as tuition fees are now in very difficult situation. Some of these students have been forced to return to Sri Lanka as their visa are not being renewed by UK authorities. The students' community requests the President to diplomatically intervene and seek UK government to re-look the circumstances of students those who affected due to the change of rules on immigration and provide some relief.
- The SMUKT also request The president's attention to reconsider the fees applicable for dual citizenship of Sri Lanka. Fee of Rs 500,000 per person is huge amount of money for a hard working Sri Lankans living aboard who also wish to apply for dual citizenship.
A Token of Appreciation was presented to the President by Madhawa Ranmandala - an organizer of SMUKT.
Addressing the gathering the President Thanked Support Mairthi UK Team and those who supported hi during the campaign. He appreciated the efforts made by UK Sri Lankan and the trust kept upon him by the Supporters in the UK. He assured that his administration will do the best to deliver what he promised during the election.
The President went onto say that his government has been warmly welcomed by Sri Lankan's friends such as United Kingdom. He stated this discussions with British Prime Minister is very successful and the friendship between two nations will be further strengthen.
The President also specially Thanked the Acting High Commissioner and his team for organizing the event given a very short notice.
Officials and members of UK branch of UNP, JHU, JVP, SLFP DP, TNA participated to the event which was organized by Support Maithri UK Team.
Press Contact : +44 75 3364 7037 (Damendra Panangala/Buddhi Weerasinghe)