Colombo, March 29 – Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Tuesday drew a comparison between President Maithripala Sirisena’s modest spending on his state visit to Russia and the extravagant splurging by his predecessor.
President Sirisena travelled on a regular flight from Colombo transiting via Dubai on his visit to Moscow last week compared to Mahinda Rajapaksa chartering a Sri Lankan plane for four days at a staggering 38 million rupees.
A further 49 million rupees was spent by Rajapaksa for visiting Ukraine. Former first lady Shiranthi was accompanied by three ladies in waiting to dress her and do her make up while she also travelled with 11 body guards, the EconomyNext reported.
In contrast, incumbent first lady Jayanthi Sirisena did not have any beauty therapists or ladies in waiting accompanying her, the minister said.
“I applaud her modesty and she was able to win the admiration of our hosts,” said Samaraweera who accompanied the President on his Russia visit.
A Rajapaksa visit to St Petersburg consisted of an entourage of 69 people plus 19 airline crew, the minister said.
He also noted that the Rajapaksa were in the habit of booking two presidential suits — one for him and the other for her — when they went abroad on what was mostly “working visits.”