Written by Staff Writer
05 Nov, 2014 | 6:18 am
Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, Rajitha Senaratna says that an opportunity to prevent the EU ban on fish imports from Sri Lanka, could have been prevented if it were not for the activities of an official at the Ministry of External Affairs.
The Minister made this revelation at a media briefing held on Tuesday,
[quote]The European Union informed us that they would keep it open until the 25th, and wait for documents sent by us. We compiled a beautiful file. It was very beautiful and even I understood it. We held a meeting to submit the file and it was entrusted to Amza at the Ministry of External Affairs. Preparations were made to send a technical delegation there, and then photocopies were sent for the visa application. They faxed the documents at the same time to secure the visas. Unfortunately, afterwards they tried to contact Amza. They put the application on the 22nd and called Amza continuously on the 23rd. There was no answer from Amza. He did not answer his office telephone or his hand phone. What had happened was that he had resigned and gone home. On the morning of the 24th we spoke to the EU Ambassador and asked him what had happened with the visa application. They said nothing had happened. He had put everything in his drawer and left. In the morning it was all cancelled. All the visa documents and everything else was in that file. So in the end what happened was that none of the submissions we had made were included in the EU report.[/quote]
The Minister also claimed that the decision of the EU was the result of a long term process.
[quote]They have not sat at the International Indian Ocean Commission since 2014. The Sri Lankan flag is there but there isn’t even a dog to participate. This is what happened. Allegations were levelled continuously and there was no response. They started saying everything including what was right and what was wrong. That is what caused the backlog and the bad name. We are trying to rectify it now.[/quote]
Speaking further the fisheries inmister expressed the following sentiment.
[quote]I am not prepared to do business here. The ministerial position and business are separate. I left the business to come here. I was involved in business but I closed it down. I had to close it down when I was a Minister in the UNP government. I had to close the company because I did not have the time. Other people open businesses when they become Ministers. I came forward with nothing, not even my public sector pension, when Vijaya Kumaratunga was assassinated. I spent money on all the leftist movements at the time. I had to close down everything. I can only do one of the two.[/quote]
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