Page Nav


Gradient Skin



Responsive Ad

As resentment grows, Sri Lanka prevents the president's brother from departing

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - As resentment toward the wealthy family for the country's crippling economic woes increased, Sri Lank...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - As resentment toward the wealthy family for the country's crippling economic woes increased, Sri Lankan immigration officials claimed on Tuesday that they had stopped the president's brother and former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa from leaving the country by plane.

Rajapaksa, who is also a citizen of the United States, did not immediately make it apparent where he was attempting to go. As street demonstrations protesting the lack of petrol, food, and other necessities erupted in early April, he resigned as finance minister. He later left his position in parliament in June.

After tens of thousands of protestors stormed the president and prime minister's official houses on Saturday, demanding their removal, his elder brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa will step down as president on Wednesday to create room for a unity administration. Since Friday, the president has not been spotted in public, and it is unknown where he is.

According to the Sri Lanka Immigration and Emigration Officers Association, their members turned down the opportunity to serve Basil Rajapaksa at the airport's VIP departure lounge.

According to K.A.S. Kanugala, chairman of the group, "given the disturbance in Sri Lanka, immigration authorities are under immense pressure to not allow top-level people to leave the country."

"Concerned about our safety is us. The immigration officers employed at the VIP lounge have therefore chosen to discontinue their services until this matter is resolved."

Local media posted photos of Basil Rajapaksa at the lounge, and they were extensively circulated on social media. Some users expressed outrage over his attempts to flee the nation. Basil Rajapaksa could not be reached for comment right away, and a close aide declined to provide more information.

Basil Rajapaksa was still in the nation, a prominent official in the ruling party claimed under the condition of anonymity.

Most Sri Lankans hold the Rajapaksa family responsible for their current plight because they have long dominated politics in the 22 million-person nation, notably former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The COVID-19 pandemic, a decline in remittances from Sri Lankans living abroad, and a restriction on chemical fertilisers all had a negative impact on the country's tourism-based economy. Later, the ban was lifted.

The Rajapaksas implemented populist tax cuts in 2019, which had an impact on government finances and limited imports of fuel, food, and medication due to falling foreign reserves.

Long lineups have built up in front of stores selling cooking gas as a result of the harsh rationing of gasoline. The central bank has warned that headline inflation, which reached 54.6 percent last month, could reach 70 percent in the upcoming months.

Tuesday saw new record lows for Sri Lanka's sovereign dollar bonds as previous falls continued. According to Tradeweb statistics, the bonds traded between 25 and 27 cents on the dollar, with the 2025 bond suffering the largest losses, down as much as 1.125 cents.

Protesters have threatened to remain in the president's and prime minister's official residences until they leave. After taking office in May, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe did not relocate into his official mansion, Temple Trees, and was not home when demonstrators torched his own residence in Colombo on Saturday.

According to police spokesman Nalin Thalduwa, seven persons were taken to the hospital on Tuesday following a brawl between two groups of demonstrators at Temple Trees. What sparked the altercation was not immediately obvious.

On July 20, the Sri Lankan parliament will choose a new leader, clearing the path for a multiparty administration.

Reponsive Ads