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President says unity paves the way for rapid national development

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his address at the inaugural ceremony of the 10th National Scout Jamboree held at the Koneswara Hindu Vidyalaya Stadium in Trincomalee yesterday morning (21), underscored the potential of Sri Lankans to steer the nation towards rapid development and fortify its security for future generations through unified efforts.

Emphasizing the inclusive nature of the event, the President highlighted that participation in the National Scout Jamboree transcends divisions of caste and religion. He articulated that unity among Sri Lankans, spanning from the North to the South and from Colombo to Trincomalee, is pivotal in accomplishing shared objectives.

President Wickremesinghe pledged his support for the expansion of the Scout Association, noting its role in nurturing responsible citizens essential for the country. Furthermore, he announced the plans to facilitate collaboration between the Scout Association and the Ministry of Technology, underscoring the importance of leveraging interactions across sectors for national development.

Today marked the opening of the 10th National Scout Jamboree organized by the Sri Lanka Scout Association, graced by the presence of Sri Lanka’s Chief Scout, President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Themed “Leadership for Change,” this week-long National Jamboree, held from February 20th to 26th, has drawn a crowd of 11,500 scouts and scout leaders from both local and international arenas. Notably, this edition of the jamboree witnesses the participation of a delegation from the Girl Guide Association for the first time, alongside the inclusion of Cub Scouts, enhancing the event’s significance.

Arrival of President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the 10th National Scout Jamboree was met with a warm welcome from the Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka Scouts, Attorney-at-Law Mr. Janaprith Fernando, who also presented the President with a belt and the medal.

In commemoration of this occasion, a special stamp was issued for the National Scout Jamboree, and the souvenirs created at the district level, including the main souvenir were presented to the President.

In a symbolic gesture marking the introduction of the new uniform for the Sri Lanka Scout Association, President Ranil Wickremesinghe presented it to the Chief Scout Commissioner, Mr. Janaprith Fernando.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, serving as the Chief Scout of Sri Lanka, was also honoured with Jamboree souvenirs and commemorative gifts during the ceremony.

Subsequently, the President actively engaged in observing the camps established at the 10th National Scout Jamboree.
The jamboree boasts participation from scouts representing 28 countries, including America, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Austria, England, France, Portugal, India, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

Each day of the jamboree features a diverse array of practical activities for the scouts, including firework displays and cultural shows. Notably, the jamboree is open to the public starting today (21), from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Emphasising the significance of the 10th Scout Jamboree held in Trincomalee, President Ranil Wickremesinghe further said that this is a gathering where scouts and girl guides from all corners of Sri Lanka converge. Today, you are not representing your individual schools, religions, or nations; rather, you all are stand here united as Sri Lankan scouts. We are all Sri Lankans.

First and foremost, I extend my gratitude to each one of you present here. Your presence today signifies the weaving of a strong bond that stretches from Point Pedro to Dondra point. Moreover, it fosters a friendship bridging Colombo and Trincomalee. Your unity is paramount, as it will propel this jamboree to fulfil a unique mission.

From the Scout Movement emerges a group of exemplary citizens, a necessity for our nation. Upon assuming the role of Chief Scout, I queried the Chief Scout Commissioner about the feasibility of expanding our membership to 200,000. Receiving an affirmative response, it became evident that collective efforts are required to fortify this scout movement.

Looking ahead, our aim extends to reaching a membership of 250,000. However, the hurdle lies in resource scarcity. It’s noteworthy that upon achieving the 200,000 target, additional funding is anticipated to sustain this endeavour. However, a carefully crafted plan is essential.

Furthermore, these movements serve as conduits for spreading new knowledge and technology. By the upcoming National Scout Jamboree next year, we anticipate integrating artificial intelligence into our programs. Leveraging the scout movement as a platform for knowledge distribution, I envision collaborating with the Ministry of Technology to provide opportunities for advancement.

We extend our support to integrate fields like agricultural modernization and environmental protection into the scout movement. We urge you to fulfil your duty to the country through scouting. You have done so thus far, and we expect even greater dedication in the future.

It’s not just scouts, but everyone who must fulfil their duty to the nation. The question remains whether all of us will step up. The main concern lies in whether those in politics will fulfil their obligations. Two years ago, we endured immense hardships. There were shortages of electricity, fuel, and fertilizers for farming. Many struggled to have three meals a day. Our nation faced severe economic distress, verging on bankruptcy. However, we are slowly recovering from that crisis. While we have provided some relief to the people, challenges persist. Yet, to ensure the triumph of our nation, we must persevere on this path.

After steering the country away from bankruptcy, our next collective responsibility is to construct a nation that ensures such dire circumstances never recur. The pressing question before us is whether the politicians are prepared for this challenge at present.

Hence, I implore everyone to embark on this journey together. With united efforts, we can forge a brighter future for our country within the next 10-15 years. Let us consider it our duty to the forthcoming generations of our nation.

Once again, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the participants of the National Scout Jamboree.

Governor of the Eastern Province Senthil Thondaman, Member of Parliament Kapila Athukorala, Jamboree Leader Chief Scout Commissioner Attorney-At-Law Janaprith Fernando, Asia Pacific Vice President and World Scout Movement representative Simon Han Bok Rhee, Scout Camp Organizing Commissioner Sarath Matararachchi, National Training Commissioner Colonel Padmalal Perera, Sri Lanka Girl Guide Association Chief Commissioner Kushantha Herath, Deputy Jamboree Leader, Deputy Commissioner M.F.S. Muheed and others were also present on this occasion.

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