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“Providing VMS machines free to fishermen commendable” :Rajitha

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Health and Indigenous Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has observed that the Fisheries Minister’s proposal to provide the VMS machine free of charge to the fishermen.

Addressing the House, Rajitha Senaratne stated: ‘During the previous government, the proposal was to provide this machine on a loan scheme due to the economic difficulties of the then government. Sri Lankans were not very familiar with the VMS system then. I proposed this system in 2010. I constantly engaged with the EU.

‘ Up to October 2013, the EU was satisfied with the efforts taken by us to rectify the situation and commended our progress. However, there was a change in their attitude towards our country and I believe it was due to political reasons. Their final report repeatedly said, ‘the decision was not political’.

However, we never told them that it was political. They themselves reiterated the fact as they wanted to show it was merely a decision taken due to our technical faults. That is why I told External Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera that we need to rectify the technical errors first, as the EU never liked to imply that their decision was politically driven. However, I had the confidence that the discussions would show positive signs.’

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