Money expended to erect Christmas Tree in Galle Face ... give the poor -- Archbishop requests

 Money expended to erect Christmas Tree in Galle Face ... give the poor -- Archbishop requests

11.45 am update

Archbishop's request granted -- Galle Face Christmas Tree stops

Ports Deputy Minister Mr. Nishantha Muthuhettigama has said that Minister Arjuna Ranatunga has come to a decision to stop further erection activities of the Christmas tree which was under construction at Galle Face Green and which activity came under criticism as a wastage of money. An official statement in this regard is to be released this afternoon. 
After the statement made by Right Honourable Cardinal Malcom Ranjith at a media briefing, this
reversal of decision has taken place where he mentioned that the funds spent for the Christmas Tree would be better if directed to provide some consolation to the poor and to stop proceedings even at this point and use that money for welfare.

Money expended to erect Christmas Tree in Galle Face ... give the poor -- Archbishop requests

Archbishop Malcom Ranjith yesterday made a request that the monies expended to erect the world's biggest Christmas Tree at Galle Face Green these days with Minister of Ports Arjuna Ranatunga taking the initiative be given to build houses or to grant scholarships to poor children and that it is an unnecessary expenditure.

A part of the construction of this Christmas Tree
which commenced last August 18th has already been finished and the Archbishop mentioned that it be stopped even at this point and funds to construct the rest of it be directed towards welfare. The Christmas Tree which is being constructed at Galle Face Green under the title Arjuna Ranatunga Samaja Sathkaraya is an effort to eclipse the world's tallest Christmas Tree in Mexico running into 295 feet which holds the present record  by erecting this Christmas Tree with a height of 325 feet. It is a special feature to note that the Buddhist Society and the Catholic Society of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority have got together and have contributed in this respect under instructions of Minister Arjuna. When this was initiated the Ministry had said that the Christmas Tree is being erected basing it on religious reconciliation as the motive behind it.

It was said that 70 workers of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority in the vicinity have volunteered to offer their services in this connection. There is news that about Rs. 1 crore 20 lakhs is being expended on this. The Christmas Tree is expected to be on display on Galle Face Green for 10 days from Christmas Day onwards. The Archbishop who said that the Catholic Church is working towards helping the public to strengthen the family unit of Sri Lankan society further pointed out that this form of wastage of money is not suitable for present Sri Lanka.