Rajapaksa explains why he gave up SLFP leadership
Posted on September 28th, 2016

Rajapaksa explains why he gave up SLFP leadership
අපි අඩියක් පස්සට අරන් අයින් වුණා

33 Responses to “Rajapaksa explains why he gave up SLFP leadership”

  1. Sarath W Says:

    Although I am a strong Mahinda supporter I think he made three big mistakes.
    1. Not calling for a referendum on the 13th amendment and elections soon after the war was won.
    2. Calling for the early presidential election in January 1015.
    3. Handing over the SLFP leadership to My3 when he left the party to contest against the official SLFP candidate.
    He also made the mistake of having crooks and thugs like Mervyn and Sajin Vas around him. He should admit to these mistakes and man up and take a positive approach and leadership of the JO and clearly spell his goals for the future of the country.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Sarath W,

    I agree with you on your on MR’s failure to REPEAL the 13A after the war ended, but disagree on your points 2 and 3. Even on the 13A, MR cognizant of the assurances he had to give to placate and fend off India and the Western Powers from interfering in, and preventing a decisive victory against the LTTE, he must have felt he could not afford to further provoke them at that time. So, he was relying on reconstruction of the war zone, good treatment and assistance to the war-affected, and economic growth in that area, to defuse the animosity and opposition of the Tamil population sufficiently before he addressed that.

    But, because of the Sinhala Buddhist TRAITORS who joined the declared enemies of Sri Lanka to oust him, he could not achieve either the REPEALING of the 13A, or his Vision of transforming Sri Lanka into the New Wonder of Asia.

    We Sinhala Buddhists are our own worst enemies; we take one step forward and then take two steps back. There is CURE for STUPIDITY and early onset ALZHEIMERS that prevents us from recalling even our most recent history.

    On your second point, MR called for the presidential election early because he had good information on the progress of the regime change activities of the foreign powers, and he had to act fast to cut them off at the pass, but it proved to be already too late.

    Finally, on your 3Rd point, MR handed over the Chairmanship of the SLFP only because it was required by the SLFP Constitution, that stipulates that if the President is an official SLFP member, then he MUST be given the Party Chairmanship also. MR, as a law abiding person, had no other legal choice. He could have broken away the larger part of the SLFP and formed a new party, but could not retain that position in the official part of the SLFP.

    MR did the best he could on the basis of the information he had available.

    His PRIMARY Mistake was in RELYING on his own Sinhala Buddhist people to show an IOTA of GRATITUDE and to exercise a speck of WISDOM in their own interest, and in forgetting that even his closest allies who have benefited mightily from their association with him TODAY, can BETRAY him TOTALLY TOMORROW!

    Sirisena’s TREACHERY in particular, wI’ll be written in BLACK LETTERS in Sri Lanka’s history, on par with those of the TRAITORS who delivered our Motherland bound hand and foot in March, 1815.

    It makes me CRINGE to realize that among my people thefe are individuals of such LOW CHARACTER!

  3. Sirih Says:

    @Ananda-USA,

    Your interpretation that MS is SLFP is wrong at least technically since he did not contest the presidency under SLFP or UPFP. The moment he went to contest, SLFP should have removed him from the party and these are few mistakes but later interpretation, that he is in the party is open to debate.
    On 2, any dog can bark for regime change but the govt was in strong hand but support got diluted because MR’s children’s theft and Basil taking massive kappans and of course keeping crooks like mervin and vas around him. He kept vas around him since he was the MR’s bag man and wash his dirty money.
    Very good nationalist president got carried away and country ultimately paying the price… I believe MS will not survive after next January…. More to come after January.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Sirih,

    Yes, MR as the SLFP Chairman could have gotten MS expelled from the party after Sirisena announced his candidacy for President.

    At that time, MR never dreamed he would be defeated, and did not see the need to do so. I cannot fault him for that, because I too never thought that our Sinhala Buddhist people would be so UNGRATEFUL and DOWNRIGHT IDIOTIC as to shoot themselves in the foot.

    Both MR and I misjudged the loyalty and wisdom of our own people.

    I remember how many so called patriots at LankaWeb, including that SOB Lorenzo, railing against MR. I knew that Lorenzo was an undercover Eelamist biding his time to stab the Patriots in the back, but I was apallet by how many other Sinhala blogoers joined in chorus with him at that time.

    As you say, we will live with the IRREPARABLE HARM caused to the integrity and economic security of our country by MR’s defeat on January 8, 2015 for at least another decade.

    Your other comments presume a perfect political world exists in Sri Lanka, and are making a mountain out of a molehill. Please compare the situation that existed then with the massive corruption and political and economic damage that is being done by the Yamap Alan bunglers now! The difference is ASTOUNDING!

  5. S.Gonsal Says:

    “At that time, MR never dreamed he would be defeated, and did not see the need to do so. I cannot fault him for that, because I too never thought that our Sinhala Buddhist people would be so UNGRATEFUL and DOWNRIGHT IDIOTIC as to shoot themselves in the foot.”

    What a statement !

    Should Sinhala people be grateful UNCONDITIONALLY ?

    Even if he spends 60% of Sinhala people’s money on Tamils
    Even if he allows Jihadist to destroy prime forest to create Jihad Cities
    Even if he considers 13A as justifiable and creates another Prabahakaran, namely Wignashwaran
    Even if he and his family enjoys luxury unthinkable to people who pay them
    Even if his son runs the country killing anyone oppose them
    How on this earth one could expect to win ?

    This is called IDIOTIC GREATFULNESS.

  6. Christie Says:

    Indian Empire and Indian colonial parasites are experts on divide and rule. The do it in the Indian Union. They do it in Indian colonies. What we have yo observe is how the funding of parties operate and how the Sinhala voters are divided on ppolitical and religious lines. look at what Bodu Bala Sena did .

    Indian Empire creates it and we fight among ourselves and we are doomed. Please look at Mauritius and Guyana. Look at how Indians operate in the West and other Indian colonies like Fiji, and Africa.

  7. Ananda-USA Says:

    S. Gonsal,

    MR did not spend 60%of Sinhala people money on Tamils, except perhaps on equipping the Armed forces to decisively defeat them.

    We would not have ANYTHING to hang onto today, if he and his people did not do that, and sat back and allowed Ranil to sign away 40% of our country to the LTTE.

    You seem to be uniquely blind to the critical situation that existed when MR/UPFA was waging that battle and how difficult it was to prevent foreign powers from intervening. Perhaps you are also unaware that the Western Powers did everything possible to deny loans to keep the GOSL afloat and deny funds for he war effort. You may have forgotten that it was the PERSONAL DIPLOMACY of MR that got us massive billion dollar loans from China, Libya and Iran to achieve that success.

    Everyone has forgotten what a herculean effort it was by MR/UPFA then that made Sri Lanka free of terrorism and put us on the path to astonishing economic progress.

    Every jealous naysayer has become an expert armchair critic AFTER THE BATTLE WAS WON bit no oneed had aNY norion of how to win or the will to win before that.

    No one remembers the mocking of the war effort then by those who likened Pamankada to Alimankada, Medawachchiya to Kilinochchiya, and piously intoned the LTTE can never be defeated, and that Kilinochchi would become the Stalingrad of the Sri Lanka Army. REMEMBER!

    Then they started DEMONIZATION of the victorious MR/UPFA GOSL, saying all Chinese projects were scams snd corrupt deals. Now they are in power, they have not found ANY CORRUPTION YET, but gave crawled back to the Chinese and reloaded those very same projects, under the very same economic justifications, albeit at much less favorable terms than MR/UPFA had obtained from China. That abject performance is called EATING CROW my friend!

    MR created another Prabhakaran in Wigneswaran you say? Actually, Wigneswaran would not have dared to do any of the antics he is upto now, except for the fact that a SUPINE PUPPET Yamapalanaya GOVT is running scared and is giving him every encouragement to do those things. MR spoke softly, carrying a big stick; WIGGIE would not have DARED to anger him.

    MR’s son running about killing people you say? That is also another BIG lie without proof that hidden Yamspalanaya activists are broadcasting now. All of these mud-slinging by the Yamapalanaya govt will fall flat and bounce back in their own faces. Has any case they brought succeeded yet? No! They are only angering the people of Sri Lanka and turning the people against themselves.

    You may mock that GRATEFULNESS as IDIOTIC, but the vast majority of Sri Lankan citizens who can now return home safely from work without being blown to bits don’t MOCK that GRATEFULNESS.

    Oh, BTW, are you aware that many of Lorenzo’s avatars are still infecting LankaWeb?

  8. S.Gonsal Says:

    Ananda,
    Most of what you said is correct and I too agree.
    However, I have to admit I am one of the “ungrateful” ones as defined by you, if were a voter.
    I am a practical man and I know people will kick you out anyway if you act unreasonably and it is valid in any democracy. If you want people to be as “grateful” as North Koreans, that too can be achieved but the country has to be big enough and full of resources.

  9. SA Kumar Says:

    I knew that Lorenzo was an undercover Eelamist – I have to agreed with you he want military take over that mean invite India to come in !!!

    they all achieved now .

    Our PM sorry CM Viggie is doing great job for his master India(RAW) .

  10. Lorenzo Says:

    I was never an undercover ELAMIST. POX on those who spread falsehoods!

    Just because I worked to defeat MR doesn’t make me an Elamist!! On the contrary, I worked for the security of UNITARY SL.

    I AGREE SL people are UNGRATEFUL.

    I can see it first hand here when UNCLE SAM trying to glorify USA while calling those who defended SL (in different capacities) as ELAMISTS!!

    SL people did the same to FONSEKA, ANAGARIKA DHARMAPALA, GENERAL JANAKA PERERA, SW-O-RD B., etc. You may disagree with their political views, but you CANNOT treat them the way you treated them. This is why SINGHALA people have no leader. They are scared to stand up. SINGHALA people call their OWN leaders racists if they try to defend them. What a race!

  11. Ananda-USA Says:

    SLFP condemns NP Chief Minister’s campaign, says need to rethink powers to provinces in new constitution
    Thu, Sep 29, 2016, 09:32 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Sept 29, Colombo: The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) today strongly condemning the ‘Eluga Thamil’ campaign launched by the Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran said his action warrants reconsideration of powers that should be devolved to the provinces in the new constitution.

    Addressing a media conference held at the party headquarters today, the Senior Vice President of the SLFP, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the proposed new Constitution should include the type of actions to be taken against Chief Ministers such as Wigneswaran.

    The Minister asked the Chief Minister to withdraw the statements made by him and called on the main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to take disciplinary action regarding his conduct.

    He said while the government of President Maithripala Sirisena is working tirelessly to achieve national reconciliation among the communities in the North and South, it is regrettable that the Chief Minister, a former supreme court judge, is making such statements to inflame the extremists in the North demanding a separate state and in the South who are attempting to create a fear psychosis among the people about the resurgence of LTTE separatism in the country.

    The Minister explained that the statements made by Wigneswaran in his post as the Chief Minister carry weight and therefore his statements made for cheap political publicity give fuel to the extremists in both North and South.

    “He must not make this kind of remarks for chief political gain. The government will not tolerate such extremist actions,” the Minister said.

    Minister de Silva stressed that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party will never allow to bring the extremism again or bring in a Federal Constitution and attempts to divide the country.

    Speaking to media, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that the Northern Chief Minister made such a statement to achieve petty political gains therefore such statements should be ignored.

  12. Lorenzo Says:

    Minister Siribala, do you know there is something called the 6th amendment to the constitution?

    Why can’t you IMPLEMENT it without crying?

    And look how CONTRADICTORY you 2 are.

    One says “the statements made by Wigneswaran in his post as the Chief Minister carry weight”.
    The other says “the Northern Chief Minister made such a statement to achieve petty political gains therefore such statements should be ignored”.

    Which one should we believe?

    BTW what is MR’s position on VIGGIE’s campaign. I’m yet to hear that. Or is MR silently approving Vasu’s relative’s campaign?

  13. Ananda-USA Says:

    Amazing how Lorenzo the EELAMIST, always present at LankaWeb in the guise of one of his AVATARS, pops up to defend one of his main deep cover ID’s when he is EXPOSED by name!

    Now, let EVERYONE at LankaWeb note Lorenzo’s ADMISSION:

    “Just because I worked to defeat MR doesn’t make me an Elamist!!

    This is something he has to date REFUSED to ACKNOWLEDGE, and tried hard to HIDE after the election!

    And he has the affrontery to proclaim that “JUST” because I helped to destroy everything you patriots struggled to achieve in the last 38 years, I have done nothing wrong; I am exercising my right as a FREE person to do ANYTHING I like!!

    Go be FREE somewhere else with ypur EELAMIST bretheran, but not here among us patriots who care deeply about Sri Lanka!

    There is MORE HERE than MERE OPPOSITION to MR behind his ACTIVITIES: that is his connection to his EELAMIST PAYMASTERS!

    I have confronted this EELAMIST under different DISGUISES on many FORUMS over several DECADES!
    Try as he might, he ALWAYS gets caught … because his personality signatures CANNOT BE HIDDEN for long!

    You can FOOL SOME of the people, ALL of the time. and
    You can FOOL ALL of the people, SOME of the time, but
    You CANNOT FOOL ALL of the people, ALL of the time!

    In any case, why should we Patriots listen to Lorenzo, an outed enemy agent who has helped to destroy the defensive shield of the Sinhala Buddhists, and sink Sri Lanka into the current deep hole from which it needs to be rescued again??

    Begone … VIPER! BEGONE!

  14. Sirih Says:

    As a strong nationalist Buddhist family we cannot condone crooks and rapists to govern the country. Abject poverty is high and children going to school with out slippers and politicos creaming billion dollar commission, running car racing on sacred city are few examples.
    If you cannot look after your children and encouraging them to be crooks thats not a leader in our book.
    We respect MR for countries war winning but he is not a leader that we can trust. If people knew what he did no one will respect this man and we do not want to wash dirty linen in public.
    Only faith I have is Goto and hope he takes over SLFP or the new party minus basil and his crooks.

  15. Dilrook Says:

    I’m with Sirih on this. The level of poverty among rural Sinhala villagers is shocking.

    I very strongly disagree on ungrateful Sinhalese. Gratefulness works in two ways and it works within rationality. “If you look after me, I will look after you.” And, “if you don’t look after me, I will not look after you”.

    Mahinda and Basil neglected all Sinhala majority provinces except Southern Province after 2010 in allocating development spend. Election results (the change from 2010) display this. People were grateful to give Mahinda 58% and 64% of the vote in 2010. Even thereafter his party won most PC and LG elections. That is more than sufficient in showing gratefulness for winning the war. In fact, had people defeated Mahinda’s party in a PC election, that would have woken him up to change course. It didn’t happen as hired UNPers (Hirunika and Dayasiri) won the PC election in two key provinces (Western and North Western) masking the real disgust on ground. In fact I was surprised Mahinda still managed to win 58% of Sinhala votes.

    Minorities are ungrateful to the core. Despite wasting 90% of borrowed funds on the two minority dominant provinces, Mahinda lost very badly. Muttur may be one of the most benefitted electorates in terms of peace, economic development and social services but Mahinda could get only 10% which is a historical low.

    Sri Lanka is a very poor country surviving mainly thanks to housemaids, tea pluckers and garment girls and it needs leaders who are good at managing limited finances. Except Gotabhaya (Roshini and Anoma) I see no one even remotely concerned let alone capable of that in the Rajapaksa clan. Ordinary people cannot be too ignorant not to know.

  16. S.Gonsal Says:

    Call me too elamist or whatever name you could thinks of, I too sully agree with Sirih and Dilrook.
    You can’t be GRATEFUL UNCONDITIONALLY.
    If MR had been grateful to Sinhalese he would have won landslide. No doubt. Sinhalse are not so bad, not so stupid either.

  17. Lorenzo Says:

    I have more important NATIONAL issues to discuss than the ethnicity of commentators!

    Getting back the SLFP leadership is key.

  18. Fran Diaz Says:

    As all Presidents in Lanka, Pres MR was FORCED to do a number of things after the conflict with the LTTE finished. He was not allowed to carry forward his DEVELOPMENT PLAN due to the Contain China program from the west & INDIA.

    INDIA has this year absconded two important meetings :

    * SAARC
    * NAM (Non Alinged countries)

    INDIA is now aligned with the west, after earlier affiliations with the then Sov Union during the Cold War times (1946-1991).

    INDIA has signed 10 Border Agreements with China not to use fire arms against each other.
    INDIA has border skirmishes with Pakistan.

    Whatever INDIA decides to do affects all Presidents of Lanka, past, present & future.

  19. Ananda-USA Says:

    I don’t really know Sirih’s and Gonsal’s history at LankaWeb, so I will not comment on them, but Dilrook’s stand disappoints me.

    It seems that all three of you still don’t recognize and acknowledge what MR and company did for us against all odds at great risk to themsrlves, and the significance of MR’s defeat to the patriotic cause and the future survival of as the refuge of the Sinhala Buddhist.

    Everything that Sri Lanka is suffering now, and will suffer in the days ahead, stem from that debacle, due to the fainthearted Sinhala Buddhists who abandoned MR.

    The opposition of the minorities is a GIVEN; we all know that. But it is the no votes of a segment of Sinhala Buddhists who abandoned him that swung the election towards his defeat.

    Therefore, I can only say, if you guys enjoy the national disaster that is now unrzvelling Sri Lsnka, KAALA, BEELA, JOLLI KARAPALLA until your roof caves in!

    With INGRATES like us, who would want to fight for us, and STUPIDLY commit suicide for a bunch of SERIAL INGRATES?

  20. S.Gonsal Says:

    Ananda,
    This is the last from me on this. There is not much difference of opinion between all of us, we are not as far aprt as “a” and “z”.

    LTTE were not defeated on 2009. It is MR’s KAALA, BEELA, JOLLI KARAPALLA attitude that lead to the national disaster now unravelling Sri Lanka. While no one belittled MR&Co’s work it was their duty as “Nationalist” leaders as most of us think and people etrusted them to do it. But post war behaviour is extremely un Sinhala-Buddhist but closer to Americanist. This is why they were defeated ( you can’t call SInhala people idiots for that) as no one should expect UNCONDITIONAL GRATFULNESS. There is no such thing. Mahinda has been UNGRATEFUL to those thousands gave life for them to do KAALA, BEELA, JOLLI KARAPALLA,

  21. Fran Diaz Says:

    Not a single western country was ‘allowed’ to help out MR govt after the conflict with the LTTE finished.
    In fact, some EU countries removed the fish purchases from Lanka.
    America removed the GSP.

    The disclosure of the mini-sub industry by Norwegian Peacekeepers with this probably tied up with LTTE cadre in the Vanni, after the war, would have been a ‘negative factor’ on the MR govt. as far as Norway was concerned, and probably some other countries in the west.
    There were other loyal Nationalist moves from the MR govt such as refusal to ‘give’ Lanka armed forces to fight outsider wars.
    MR was invited to speak at the Oxford Uni but was not allowed to – he came back home.
    From some sections of foreign countries, the disapproval of the MR govt for defeating the LTTE was palpable.

    MR was NOT ALLOWED to carry on !
    Almost all of Lanka’s People know this very well.

    Nearly 500 yrs of Colonisation has fixed Lanka into some kind of puppet mode.

    Suggestions for Best Things to do :

    * Sign Peace Agreements with INDIA, China & some of the neighboring countries, with the UN as witness.
    * Ecoonomy should lead in the direction of Clean Air, Water & Food for ALL in Lanka.
    * FREE birth control material for any adult in Lanka.

    Comments welcome.

  22. Dilrook Says:

    Fran, you are telling untruths.

    No country removed GSP. USA and EU maintained GSP concessions. The EU removed GSP+ additional concessions only. Throughout Mahinda’s term USA remained our largest export destination. Mahinda and his family members visited USA with no government action whatsoever to stop them. No war crimes charges were brought against US citizens and permanent residents of his family.

    Although Hillary tried to block the IMF loan, USA didn’t block it but approved it. Mahinda was also allowed to raise billions of dollars of money through bonds in Western countries.

    India also granted tens of millions of dollars for the railway and housing projects during Mahinda’s time. Needless to day China gave billions of dollars worth infrastructure during Mahinda’s time.

    He was made the Commonwealth Head (after Queen) in 2013 – a position Sri Lanka rarely held. Two of his Health Ministers were recongnized by the WHO and Harvard for their achievements.

    Many foreign participants came for Kandy and Colombo night races with their expensive cars. Indian film festival was held in Sri Lanka for the first time. The World Cup cricket was held in Sri Lanka only for the second time.

    Sri Lanka was doing so well that it even granted $1 million to Palestine – the most generous donation Sri Lanka ever made. Hopefully Sri Lanka will not be as generous in future as 140 million rupees could have done heaps good locally.

    One may argue some of these did damage to the country. If so what was the rulers doing? If the rulers were unable to reign these in, they should have handed it to someone who could and left office.

  23. Ananda-USA Says:

    I now read comments from some at LankaWeb asking Sinhala Buddhists to UNITE to defeat the Yahapalanaya govt.

    But, some of those very people crying for unity now and blaming the Yahapalanaya become a Yamapalanaya now, vociferously worked to defeat MR before the Presidential election, and supported the Yahapalanaya in the General election.

    Now, however, they are claiming they were fooled, and are against the Yamapalanaya now, and want the Sinhala people to unite to make that happen.

    Yet, when I call those turncoats UNGRATEFUL IDIOTS, they get defensive and cry out that they were not wrong, and criticize me for being “Unconditionally Grateful” to MR!

    There were many at LankaWeb, like Charles Perera, Fran Diaz and me in particular, who were NOT FOOLED … knowing well that those who mocked the war effort and tried at every turn to undermine the Sinhala Buddhist majority, cannot be TRUSTED with our survival.

    Coming to that conclusion was not ROCKET SCIENCE! What was OBVIOUS to us, was IGNORED by these people who swallowed hook, line and sinker the CRAP about massive corruption that was being dished out by the puppeteers of the West, their surrogates among our politicos, and the 5th columns within our minority communities.

    Everybody became an expert on human rights, and forgetting the undeniable human right of our Sinhala Buddhist majority to live in safely and securely in their ONLY homeland in this entire world. How we suffered for 30 years being blown to bits, and witnessing these very same Yamapalanaya politicians time and again abandoning their duty to protect us, and parleying with those terrorists and foreign puppeteers to divide our country and re-enslave us, was QUICKLY forgotten! Worse, they turned on those who rescued us from that hell.

    Politicians are NEVER PERFECT, but there are VERY CLEAR PRIORITIES on what really matters to our survival, and WHO SERVES, PROTECTS and DEFENDS those critical priorities.

    Intelligent people must learn to separate the essentail issues from the non-essentials, and vote accordingly.

    That ability to discriminate between the ESSENTIAL CORE INTERESTS and PERIPHERAL ISSUES seems to have escaped the Sinhala Buddhists who voted to defeat MR and the UPFA government.

    If we are to now believe that these commentators at LankaWeb, who previously undermined MR but are now calling for Sinhala Buddhists to UNITE, are GENUINE and have changed their views, then let them help us open the eyes of other similar Sinhala Buddhists who voted against MR, by HONESTLY acknowledging their mistake, and ACCEPTING their RESPONSIBILITY for the DISASTER that ensued.

    Let them not get DEFENSIVE when they are FAIRLY CRITICIZED for their destructive role, and join forces with the likes of that dedicated Eelamist agitator Lorenzo, and still maintain that they were NOT WRONG!

    Let them examine their own motives, and realize that these denials and defensive outcries are driven by their ego, which does not allow them to admit any mistake on their part, but that kind of unwillingness to acknowledge the truth is due to misplaced pride and is destructive to our community.

    You can help the motherland you love, by honestly admitting your mistake, and explaining who, why and how you were led on that erroneous path, and help other Sinhala Buddhists return to our patriotic fold to support the patriotic cause.

    Don’t get angry at me because I say the truth, but please acknowledge your error, and use that realization to help achieve what you and I both want now: A UNITED Sinhala Buddhist community that will elect a Patriotic Government in the near future to save our Motherland and our long suffering people!

  24. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dilrook,

    I am attaching below an article re the GSP and the Garments Industry in Lanka.

    ALL the points I have raised in my comment above are valid.

    However, I had excluded the fact that the EU had removed the GSP+ facility.

    I am giving below an article which confirms how the Garment workers of Sri Lanka were affected with loss of jobs when the USA stopped purchases due to charges on workers rights in Lanka.

    For whatever reasons, the US actions did affect the Garment workers jobs in Sri Lanka.

    The EU also did remove the GSP+ facility in Sri Lanka which again affected negatively the Garments industry as well as the workers jobs.

    All the job losses etc happened in the Garments industry AFTER the MR govt came into power.
    Till the MR govt came into power, neither the EU or USA market affected the Garments Industry.

    We wonder whether it had something to do with Ranil running around in the west BEFORE the election time in 2005, stating that Sri Lanka is a Failed State ?
    No one stopped him or even challenged him !

    Those are the points I want to emphasise here.

    Comments welcome.

    —————-

    GSP+ Concession Removed from Sri Lanka Negatively Impacts Garment Industry

    By Diana Karakos, Intern, International Labor Rights Forum Canvas

    The garment industry is a major part of Sri Lanka’s economy, taking up 46% of its total exports and 67% of its total industrial production. Sri Lanka produces apparel such as bras and women’s underwear. For Sri Lanka, the United States and Europe are its most important markets, with big name buyers such as Victoria’s Secret and Vanity Fair purchasing a total of 95% of the garment industry’s exports. The garment industry employs 350,000 workers directly and another 750,000 indirectly.

    The GSP and GSP+ (Generalized System of Preference) programs, provided to Sri Lanka by the United States and the European Union respectively, were put in place in order to give the country duty free access to these important consumer markets to aid Sri Lanka’s development process. This concession was conditional on Sri Lanka’s progress in meeting international labor, environmental, and human rights standards.

    However, on August 15, 2010 the European Union removed its GSP+ concession from Sri Lanka due to human rights violations committed during the civil war which recently ended in May 2009. These violations include torture, abduction of journalists, and unexplained disappearances.

    Additionally, Sri Lankan labor union leaders have lodged complaints that factory owners are violating internationally recognized labor rights standards. Because of this, in 2008 the AFL-CIO filed a petition with the U.S. government citing these violations as a reason to revoke Sri Lanka’s GSP concession. On December 30, 2009 an updated petition was resubmitted and on June 29, 2010 the United States accepted the petition to review workers rights in Sri Lanka. A hearing took place at the end of September 2010 to discuss the issues raised by the AFL-CIO.

    The AFL-CIO’s petition argues that Sri Lanka is not enforcing internationally recognized worker rights including freedom of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively, freedom from compulsory labor, respect concerning the minimum age for employees, and providing acceptable work conditions in regard to minimum wage, work hours, and occupational safety and health.

    For example, according to the AFL-CIO’s petition, the Factories Ordinance, which determines the “maximum hours of work and of overtime for women and children employed in all factories…provides that women and children over the age of 16 may be assigned overtime. The law used to provide that a worker could not be made to work more than 100 hours of overtime in one year. However, the ordinance was changed in 2002 to no more than 60 hours of overtime a month – an increase of 620 additional hours of overtime a year. The employer can, and often does, require factory workers to work up to 108 hours a month, and often well beyond this legal maximum – often without proper payment. Excessive overtime is having a serious impact on the health of Sri Lankan workers.”

    The Sinotex Ltd. factory highlights the management’s abuse of the workers’ right to freedom of association. Sinotex Ltd. produces items such as socks, hats, T-shirts, and cloth bags. According to the AFL-CIO’s petition, “in January 2009, the Sinotex Company, without warning, closed its doors and terminated the employment of all of its workers. Many of those workers were members of the FTZGSEU. By letter, the workers were told to come to collect checks between the 20th and 23rd.”

    “On January 19, the union and members sought a meeting with the Commissioner of Labor and a complaint was submitted challenging the termination. However, the government never scheduled an appointment with the worker representatives to consider the complaint. Given the failure of the government to respond, the workers had no choice but to collect the compensation offered by the employer. Workers were also required to sign a ‘conditions of settlement of dispute’ form under duress.”

    The union’s lawyer filed a lawsuit on behalf of the 512 Sinotex workers with the Court of Appeals in order to ensure that the union’s side was heard. On March 13, 2009, the Court of Appeals decided to allow workers to proceed with their petition. However, the hearings were delayed until June 30, 2009 per the request of the Attorney General’s lawyer in order to give him more time to develop his case. This delay reflects the government’s unwillingness to adequately provide important legal binding decisions in favor of workers. Additionally, the sudden closure of the Sinotex Ltd. factory reveals factory management’s reluctance to employ union members.

    Bratex (pvt) Ltd., an undergarment factory in Sri Lanka, also provides a good illustration of how these standards are not being met. In February 2010, Mr. Siripala Amarasingha, an advisor to the Sri Lankan President on labor matters, came to the factory several times with armed personnel, giving the workers the impression that he arrived in order to weaken the factory branch of the Free Trade Zone & General Services Employees Union (FTZGSEU). This initiated several work stoppage protests by the workers.

    To resolve the issues Mr. Amarasingha and Mr. Anton Marcus, the Secretary of the FTZGSEU, agreed to meet, along with Bratex management and the chairman. With this arrangement in place the workers resumed work.

    However, Bratex refused to meet and a series of letters was sent between Bratex Managing Director Mr. Joseph Diestel and Mr. Marcus between March 22nd 2010 and June 8th 2010. Mr. Marcus requested a discussion regarding the labor dispute. Bratex at first denied the charges brought up by FTZGSEU and then refused to respond to follow up letters sent by FTZGSEU.

    As a consequence of this, FTZGSEU has decided to take up the labor dispute with the buyers of the Bratex factory through organizations such as ILRF and Clean Clothes Campaign. The buyers in include Vanity Fair, Viania, RedcatsUSA, and Fruit of the Loom.

    In addition, the Bratex (pvt) Ltd. Factory has refused to negotiate with their factory branch of the Free Trade Zone & General Services Employees Union over days workers were not able to report to work due to a flood on May 17th 2010. Bratex (pvt) Ltd. announced on June 2nd 2010 that workers were expected to work on Sunday in lieu of the dates in which they were not able to due to the flood, otherwise these days will not be paid and workers will run the risk of losing their attendance bonus.

    This is a direct contradiction regarding the work Garments without Guilt (GWG) has initiated throughout Sri Lanka. This program advertises Sri Lanka as an ethical sourcing destination for big name buyers. However, trade union representatives and NGOs argue that the ethical initiatives touted by GWG are not accurate. They claim that Garments without Guilt does not take into account the workers’ voice, as well as restricts freedom of association and does not provide an adequate living wage to its workers. Other problems include reports of sexual harassment and union formation prevention.

    The removal of the GSP+ program is not the only economic change occurring in Sri Lanka. Its Wages Board determined that minimum wage earned by workers in the garment industry would be raised by 20% beginning September 1, 2010. The removal of the GSP+ concession has caused the garment exporters to protest the raise because they now have to pay the duty owed on their exports. They claim they do not have the resources to increase the workers’ wages. However, it has been exposed that the garment factory owners make up some of the wealthiest people in Sri Lanka, while 66% of their women workers are suffering from the effects of malnutrition, such as anemia.

    The Sri Lankan economy will improve only once the poverty level wages paid by the factories are increased to a living wage. This will lead to sustainable change and progress, something the country should be striving for. Therefore, U.S. investment through tariff preferences and development assistance should only be directed at industries with a dedicated commitment to workers aiding the country’s long-term economic progress.

    If Sri Lanka wants to regain its GSP+ concession from the European Union and ensure that the United States does not remove its GSP program as well, it is imperative that the factories provide the appropriate working and living conditions, as well as a living wage, expected from them. Until that happens, workers’ rights will continue to be violated throughout the country. In addition, in order to provide the garment industry of Sri Lanka with the necessary financial resources to implement strong labor standards and living wages, it is crucial that the buyers commit to paying the increased price of goods exported from Sri Lanka, including the cost of higher minimum wages.

    Consequently, it is the buyers’, not the local community’s, preferences regarding factory and worker conditions that are important to the factory owners. The owners consider the employees temporary and therefore do not hold their requests in high regard. This temporary situation also makes it difficult for the workers to organize against unfair treatment by the owners. Therefore it is important for buyers to put pressure on their suppliers to comply with international labor rights standards. In order for buyers, such as Vanity Fair, Viania, RedcatsUSA, and Fruit of the Loom, to understand the importance of this enforcement, it is imperative that the consumers put pressure on the buyers to ensure that workers rights are implemented on the ground in the factories and at the housing locations where their garments are made. For more information regarding ILRF’s actions against sweatshop labor such as that occurring in Sri Lanka click here.

  25. Dilrook Says:

    Fran, that clearly proves you are wrong and I was correct. Only GSP+ was removed by the EU. GSP facility was never removed by the EU and the US. Complains on labour rights is normal but in hindsight (that report you published is from 2010) today we know USA never removed GSP during Mahinda’s time or thereafter.

    The day GSP+ was removed Mahinda opened the Magampura Port. If managed well, it would have given much more than what we lost in GSP+.

  26. Fran Diaz Says:

    Hi Dilrook,

    The AFL-CIO organisation is the group which brought in the HR charges against the Garments industry in Lanka. It is due to those charges that various garment industries closed down/sold off.

    The AFL-CIO is the American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organisations. It is the National trade union centre. It is the largest federation of unions in the USA, with their headquarters in Washington DC.

    Even without removal of the GSP in USA, the objective of downing the Garments Industry in Lanka was achieved through other means.

    My query is why it was that both the EU & USA acted on the Lanka Garments Industry (the largest of export industries -46% – as well as being 67% of total industrial production), while the MR Govt was in power, thus crushing the Garments Industry Sri Lanka.
    It appears that the MR Govt was targetted due to the LTTE being removed.
    Both these giant importers of garments, EU & USA, did not act this way when the CBK/RW govt was in power.

    Also, the HR values with sweat shop type of garment industries in B’desh, Vietnam, etc. are never brought to question by these giant importers.

    That is what I was attempting to expose – not who is right or wrong.

  27. Dilrook Says:

    Fran, get the facts right. EU did not remove GSP. USA did not remove GSP. EU only removed GSP+. However, Foreign Direct Investments increased during Mahinda’s time. Most of it came from EU and USA. They did nothing to stop these. Also most borrowings (at the highest interest rates) were from EU and USA markets after 2009. Once again nothing was done by these countries to stop them. Had there been restrictions that would have saved Sri Lanka from the debt crisis. The loss of GSP+ pales into insignificance had the government done well commercially with the Magampura port and a second international airport suitably located.

    “http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=153063”

    FDIs collapsed after the government changed in 2015. It is Sirisena and Ranil that are suffering the loss of FDIs from the EU and USA mainly. They increased the bond interest rate even higher to raise funds.

  28. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dilrook,

    You are emphasizing the GSP & GSP+ factors.

    I am emphasizing how the HR FACTORS were used in a targetted and unfair manner against the Garments Industry of Sri Lanka during the time of the MR GOVT, thus crashing the Garments Industry and also throwing thousands of workers out of work during the times of the MR Govt.

    The MOTIVE here appears to weaken and discredit the MR Govt.

    Re the GSP matter, what I said was that :

    (1) In USA : The American organisation AFL-CIO charged the MR GoSL with HR violations in the Garments Industry. This achieved a result close to removal of GSP. The Garments Industry was damaged due to this move by SFL-CIO.

    (2) In EU: I said that I omitted GSP+ removed by the EU.

    None of these things were done when the CBK/RW duo were in power.
    It was done when the MR Govt came into power, AFTER the conflict with the LTTE.

    I am all for HR values, but not imposed on Sri Lanka ONLY, and also used ONLY started off on the MR Govt to weaken and crush that govt.
    I can understand if a few do-able conditions were imposed, but 58 long term conditions were imposed to regain GSP+ – an impossible task for the MR Govt.

    This is how governments are crushed and removed – a new method.

    Here is an excerpt from the Sunday Times of May 8, 2016.
    58 CONDITIONS WERE ATTACHED TO REINSTATING GSP PLUS IN THE EU !
    A near impossible task – unfair with selective, targetting of the MR Govt. making sure that the Garments Industry did NOT flourish under the MR Govt.

    EU links human rights to trade: 58 conditions for GSP Plus

    By Our Diplomatic Editor
    Human Rights Action Plan etc. called for; talks in Brussels next week
    SUNDAY TIMES, May 8, 2016

    In its haste to regain the GSP Plus facility, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has agreed with the European Union (EU) to implement a sprawling list of 58 conditions linking human rights, national security and other domestic concerns with trade, a document obtained by the Sunday Times shows.

    Among the 58 CONDITIONS imposed are to revoke the Prevention of Terrorism Act, to expedite cases of remaining detainees, to introduce a new Human Rights Action Plan, review the status of the Tamil diaspora organisations and individuals on the terrorist list, to devolve power under the new Constitution, return all private lands to owners in the North, adopt a policy of National Reconciliation and on National Resettlement, finalise the re-settlement of all displaced persons, and to ratify the Convention on Enforced Disappearances with accompanying legislation as well as issue certificates of absence.

    The EU insists that the conditions be met before Sri Lanka can even consider applying for the GSP Plus. The stringent stipulations come with short deadlines (most have now elapsed) and were accepted by the Foreign Ministry “without any form of negotiations” at the EU-Sri Lanka Working Group on Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights in January, authoritative sources said.

  29. Fran Diaz Says:

    Ananda,

    Agree with you !
    Thank you.

  30. Fran Diaz Says:

    I find the entire approach to the imported ECONOMY to be quite in contradiction to HUMAN RIGHTS values.

    The imported Economic rules and (now imported) Human Rights rules contradict each other.

    * On the one hand, the Capitalist approach to the Economy requires the PROFIT MOTIVE to be the guiding light. The purely PROFIT MOTIVE cannot afford high Human Rights values in the enterprises.
    The purely Capitalist approach with PROFIT MOTIVE as the goal, will end up as FASCISM (Hitler/P’karan type rule).

    * On the other hand, the also (now imposed) list of Human Rights values from abroad require that HUMAN NEEDS be the top priority.

    Under such circumstances, which aspect wins ?

    What are the answers to the problem, so that all can live in peace and reasonable prosperity, with a sense of Security ?

  31. Dilrook Says:

    Fran, the garment industry didn’t crash as some doomsday soothsayers predicted during Mahinda’s time. Of course, unprofitable garment companies went bankrupt as it happened since 1994 (NAFTA), which is inevitable. I want Sri Lanka to move away from these slave industries. Sri Lanka’s exports to and service income from USA and the EU increased during Mahinda’s time clearly disapproving what you try to make out. In addition, USA approved IMF loans to Sri Lanka (despite Hillary’s disruptions) and also allowed Sri Lanka to borrow limitlessly in bond markets in the EU and the US. They could have done Lanka a favour by stopping this as the debt burden would not be as bad.

    During Mahinda’s time, USA carried out many joint military drills with Sri Lanka air force and navy (highest for any Lankan government).

    I also find the idiocy of some half-baked advisors terrorising Mahinda that USA was going to impose economic sanctions unless we gave into LTTE Rump’s demands (sky is falling down, run to the fox’s den)! Obviously, they were in bed and the payroll of the LTTE Rump. USA would be foolish to impose economic sanctions on Sri Lanka, as China will have a field day. No such attempt was ever made but Sri Lanka caved in to unfounded fear and did permanent damage with the likes of PCs, Wigneswaran, not resettling Sinhalese and Muslims in the north and wasting over 90% of borrowed funds in the north and east (resulting in Mahinda’s defeat). Unfortunately, Mahinda has still not distanced himself from these Sinhala LTTE agents in disguise.

  32. Sirih Says:

    Agree with Dilrook about anti nationalist that stayed with MR and gave bogey issue with US… One minister that was married to a foreign women is number one on this list and now working with UNP and he was always traveling to Swiss cities under human rights ministry. This guy now bad mouth MR and downfall of MR started with this rabble already inside MR’s inner circle.

  33. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dilrook,

    Re trusting America unreservedly :

    We heartily wish we could do so !

    I agree that the US helped train Lanka Army as well as identify LTTE arms ships in the Indian Ocean.

    But re the Garment Indusry in Lanka :
    Why the AFL-CIO (largest American Labor group) pounced on the Sri Lanka Garments Industry AFTER the MR govt came in, is highly questionable.

    For the big powers, there are many ways to ‘skin a cat’ !

    Also, the massive problem faced by small vulnerable countries such as Sri Lanka is Global interference through TRADE from the big powers.
    Not through outright war, mind you, but through TRADE deals.

    Also, these big powers have earlier and now acted on Lanka using INDIA. How Lanka can protect herself when INDIA removes herself from safe havens such as SAARC & NAM, is the big question.
    INDIA does not/will not hesitate to throw Lanka as a ‘bone’ to the west, while protecting herself from take over.
    Let’s not forget that both countries were COLONISED earlier and suffered for that.

    In my opinion, Lanka has to move forward very cautiously when deals with the big powers are made. Best take refuge in CAUTION & STUDY OF DEALS, move forward slowly, whilst using for cover the some 50 plus international organisations Lanka is member of.

    Is present day ranil led UNP which leads the Yahap govt capable of such fine thinking … ?
    Ranil is a born Fascist/pure Capitalist. Everyone knows that.

    The TPP is waiting ! The TPP rules will override local law.

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