|Monday, 12 April 2004|
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has retained the important portfolio of Defence in addition to Education and Constitutional Reforms in the new Cabinet announced on Saturday.
The United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Cabinet contains many familiar faces as well as several new ones. Many new names are included in the list of deputy ministers. Several ministries have ben renamed while a number of others are totally new. The four nominees from the JVP as well their deputies are expected to take oaths later.
Thirty one ministers and their deputies took oaths on Saturday.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse will also function as Highways Minister. Highways, which was earlier usually included with Transport, has thus become a separate ministry. Felix Perera, the new Minister for Transport, is one of the new faces in the Cabinet. Former Speaker Anura Bandaranaike will handle Industry, Tourism and Investment Promotion, which are seen as important components of the economy. No deputy minister was appointed for these subjects.
Lakshman Kadirgamar reverts to his Foreign Affairs portfolio, for which no deputy has been appointed. PA veteran D.M. Jayaratne will continue as Post and Telecommunications Minister. He will also oversee Udarata Development. His deputy is Rohitha Abeygunawarden. Another veteran, Amarasiri Dodangoda, was appointed as Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister.
Pandu Bandaranayake is his deputy. Nimal Siripala de Silva takes over the newly-titled Healthcare and Nutrition portfolio. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane is the deputy minister. The Ports and Aviation Ministry went to Mangala Samaraweera, who will be working with Dilan Perera as his deputy.
Environment and Natural Resources goes to veteran MP A.H.M. Fowzie, whose deputy is Bandula Basnayake.
The crucial Trade, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Ministry went to Jeyaraj Fernandopulle while the equally important Power and Energy portfolio was given to Susil Premajayantha.
The newly-created Ministry of River Basin Development and Rajarata Development will be headed by Maithripala Sirisena.
Justice and Judicial Reforms went to John Seneviratne while Sports and Youth Affairs will be handled by Jeevan Kumaratunga, a deputy minister in the 1994 PA government, Sripathy Suriyarachchi, a newcomer to Parliament, is his deputy.
Plantation Industries goes to Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, a former Media Minister. In the new Cabinet, that portfolio has gone to Reginold Cooray. Veteran politician and MEP leader gets the Urban Development portfolio.
Apart from the President, there are three other women in the Cabinet: Sumedha Jayasena (Women's Empowerment and Social Welfare), Pavithra Wanniarachchi (Samurdhi and Poverty Alleviation), and Ferial Ashraff (Housing and Construction Industry, Eastern Province Education and Irrigation Development). Her Eastern colleague, A. L. M. Athaulla was sworn-in as Minister of Infrastructure Development in the Eastern Province. There are now women deputy ministers.
EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda received the portfolio of Agricultural Marketing Development, Hindu Affairs and Tamil Language Schools and Vocational Training (North). Christian Affairs as well as Parliamentary Affairs went to Milroy Fernando.
The new Ministry of Labour Relations and Foreign Employment headed by Athauda Seneviratne. Another new Ministry - Regional Infrastructure Development - is headed by S. B. Nawinna. Prof. Tissa Vitarana, a well-known scientist, is a new entrant to the Cabinet, in the capacity of Science and Technology Minister.
Among the deputy ministers are: Maheepala Herath (Transport), Chamal Rajapakse (Plantation Industries), Dilan Perera (Ports and Aviation), D. M. Dassanayake (Livestock Development), Kumara Welgama (Power and Energy), Mahinda Amaraweera (Urban Development and Water Supply), Segu Issadeen (Information and Media), Anwar Ismail (Deputy Minister for Infrastructure Development in the Eastern Province) and Lasantha Alagiyawanna (Transport).
Produced by Lake House