The United National Party is the party that rendered the most service to this country. The following is the enormous service rendered to this
country by the people friendly leaders who were committed to such tasks.
Mr. D.S. SenanayakePrime Minister - 1947 to 1952
The tenure of Late D.S. Senanayake who was the inaugural leader of the UNP and also the first Prime Minister of an Independent Sri Lanka can be considered as the time period in which several development programs were initiated to build a proud nation. It can be said that a decisive juncture in Agriculture took place during his tenure as people from the south were resettled in the North Central province where several new villages were created centering the tanks that were renovated. In addition to this through the Gal-oya project the Udawalawa tank, Senanayaka tank and several other multipurpose projects were launched during this period. The commencement of free education and the launch of the Peradeniya university were notable milestones in the education sector during the tenure of Late D S Senanayake. The obtaining of the Commonwealth membership, launch of the Colombo plan and the commencement of diplomatic relations with several other countries took place during the tenure of Late Prime Minister D S Senanayake. The renovation of sites with historical importance in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa also took place during this time period.
Sir John KothalawalaPrime Minister - 1953 to 1956
It is significant that several development projects got off the ground during the tenure of Late Prime Minister Sir John Kothalawala. The Lakshapana hydro power project was launched during the tenure of Sir John Kothalawala thus commencing hydro power generation in the country. In addition to this, the concept of providing houses to the homeless people also came to reality during this period with the launch of the Bambalapitiya housing project. The modernizing of the Ratmalana airport, construction of the Kelaniya bridge and several more development projects got off the ground during this period. Several religious sites were also developed including the Mahiyanganaya chaithya. Membership of the United Nations was also obtained.
Mr Dudley senanayakePrime Minister - 1952 to 1953
Late Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake carried out a massive service towards the agricultural sector in the country and was termed by people as “the father who gave us rice”. This is in gratitude of the steps taken by him to provide people with a certain amount of rice free of charge. Also the Bathalegoda Paddy research centre, Thalawakele Tea research centre, Lunuwila Coconut research centre and several other centre’s were established for the upliftment of the Agricultural sector. In addition to this the Moratuwa University, Ampara Higher Technology Institution and many more Technical colleges were opened around the island during his tenure to equip the youth with the latest knowledge. It was during the Dudley era that the English language was made a compulsory subject from Grade 3 onwards. Religious tasks such as the commencement of the Bhikku University and the declaration of the Poya day as a government holiday were also done during this period.
Mr. J. R. JayawardanaPrime Minister - 1977 July to 1978 February
His tenure marked a turning point in Sri Lanka with the introduction of a new constitution and a new economic system. The Mahaweli Project which was due to be completed in 30 years was renamed as the Express Mahaweli Project and several reservoirs were built including Victoria, Randenigala, Rantambe and Kotmale. In addition to this, the Maduru-oya and Lunugamwehera reservoirs were also reconstructed contributing immensely to the Agriculture sector. The open economy introduced by him helped in spreading the development which was formerly limited to the city to the urban areas and ended the 7 year curse of the Unity Alliance. Thanks to the Free Trade Zones that were instated in Katunayaka and Biyagama several leading international companies invested in the local market resulting in a surge in employment opportunities for the youth generating positive hopes of a bright future. The awarding of land deeds (Swaranabhoomi) for people was also a significant event while several administrative centers such as Isurupaya and Sethsiripaya were also established to create the new capital in Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte where the new parliamentary complex was also established. The Sri Jayawardanapura hospital was constructed while Karapitiya and Peradeniya hospitals were converted in to teaching hospitals. Free text books were provided for school children and the Mahapola scholarship programme was launched as a support for students engaged in their higher education. Universities were commenced in Ruhuna and East and the Medical faculty of the Jaffna university was also opened. The Information Technology subject was also introduced to schools during the tenure of President J R Jayawardana. The National Youth Services Council was launched to create a younger generation that would be capable of competing with the world, while a significant milestone in sports also took place during his tenure where Sri Lanka cricket became a Test playing nation. Another unforgettable service rendered by Late President Jayawardana was the modernization of the Bandaranayake International Airport while also commencing the Air Lanka airline taking Sri Lanka’s name to the skies. President J R who planned a long lasting solution to eradicate terrorism even elevated Sri Lanka’s Military to international standards and the commencement of the Police Special Task Force was a good example for it.
Mr Ranasinghe PremadasaPrime Minister - 1978 to 1989
President Ranasinghe Premadasa came in to the leadership of the country from an ordinary family and carried out a tremendous service for the country and the innocent poor people as well. Initial steps were taken to provide houses to thousands of homeless people through the Udagam Project. The Gamudawa Project also provided houses for thousands of people and helped in creating new cities where the development carried out in the country was taken to the villages. The 200 factory programme resulted in a surge in employment opportunities for the youth, while several other community projects such as Janasaviya, Asarana Sarana Parental protection scheme were also launched during the Premadasa era. President Premadasa’s leadership to wipe out terrorism in the South was also significant.
Mr D B WijethungaPrime Minister - 1989 to 1993
President D B Wijethunga is the only leader of this country who was from the upcountry. Although his tenure lasted for a short while several steps were taken for the upliftment of the Economic and Political stability of the country out of which the complete liberation of the Eastern Province from terrorists was significant. Several other sectors were also developed by understanding the aspirations of the public.
Mr Ranil WickremesinghePresident - 1993 to 1994
The National Youth Services Council, Belwood Village, National Education Faculty and National Sports meet were initiated during the period Ranil Wickremesinghe held Ministerial portfolio’s and when he was appointed as the Prime Minister in 1993, it was a tremendous support to President D B Wijethunga as well. When he was re-elected as the Prime Minister in the year 2001 where the economy was in negative territory, the challenges he had to face can be termed as the hardest challenges a head of state in this country has had to face. However, Mr. Wickremesinghe who was an intelligent diplomat, entered in to a Ceasefire agreement in 2002 and started finding solutions to the burning issues in the country one by one. The electricity supply which had been curtailed was restored where it was provided unhindered 24 hours a day and only 6 months was required to perform this task. Also through the “Yali Pubudamu Sri Lanka” programme the construction of Expressways, International Ports and Airports commenced during this era. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe revived diplomatic ties with several countries and received a colossal amount of funds as aid to the country. The Youth Corps was established to mould great youngsters and steps were taken to uplift living conditions of the estate community. Due to timely measures taken to uplift the agricultural sector, after a long time Sri Lanka was even able to export rice. The Military was also well equipped to face any challenge and the obtaining of the “Courageous” war ship was one such example.