Minister of Ports and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga stated if his brother had enough qualifications to be Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), then family connections should not be a barrier to him being appointed to the post. Ranatunga was speaking in response to a query raised by The Nation on reports that his elder brother Dammika was on the list of names that he had submitted to President Maithripala Sirisena regarding the appointment.
Ranatunga said he was not concerned over reports appearing in some websites charging that the minister was trying to continue the practice of nepotism that was so synonymous with the previous regime. “A final decision (on the appointment) will be made by a committee which includes the President. However, if he (Dammika) has the necessary qualifications, then why not?” Ranatunga asked.
When queried if he thought his brother was the best qualified person to be head of the SLPA, Ranatunga replied that would be determined by the committee tasked with making the appointments.
President Sirisena last month announced that heads of all government institutions will be appointed by a special committee that would include both him and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. While ministers can nominate candidates, the final decision would be made by this committee.
Meanwhile, in a letter dated October 6 sent to the Prime Minister, the Joint Trade Union Forum of the SLPA has urged the President and Prime Minister to appoint Dammika Ranatunga as the new SLPA Chairman.