Business leaders slam law and order situation
Assassination unlikely to have long term repercussions
Business leaders yesterday slammed the government for failure to adequately protect slain Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, saying the deteriorating security situation was now spilling over to Colombo.

“The IGP should be answerable. The Minister was a known target. What is the use of catching the killers if you can’t protect key people, particularly one of the most successful Foreign Ministers?” asked Nawaz Rajabdeen, Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCISL) President.

It was only on Friday that J-Biz, the umbrella organisation of national chambers, began preparing a media statement which criticised the authorities for the serious breakdown in law and order.

The draft statement said the situation was a deterrent to investment and economic growth. It urged the main political parties to formulate a common framework on law and order. Chamber officials said the draft was now being re-written to include Mr. Kadirgamar’s murder.

Some felt that the assassination would lead to more complications in the already complex peace process. “There’ll be pressures on the process,” noted Ajit Gunewardene, John Keells Holdings (JKH) Joint Managing Director.
He said however the incident was unlikely to have any long terms repercussions on investment and tourism.

Deva Rodrigo, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce president, said the assassination would send a negative signal to investors and tourists. “What kind of message do we have when foreign television stations show troops on the streets, roadblocks and speak of a state of emergency?” he asked, adding that it would have a short term impact.

Mr. Rodrigo said Lanka had lost “an able man and one of the best politicians of our times.”

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