Government rushing into self-destruction
Posted on January 13th, 2017

BY CHARMINDA RODRIGO Courtesy Ceylon Today

UPFA MP Gamini Lokuge says that the true reason for the arrest of National Freedom Front Leader Wimal Weerawansa is to
sabotage the seminar his party has scheduled for 22 January.

Excerpts:

? You were at the scene of the clash in Hambanthota during the protest staged at the launch of the Sri Lanka – China Logistics and Industrial Zone (SLCLIZ).What actually happened there?

A: That was not pre-planned in any way. It was a spontaneous show of the people’s anger against the imprudent decisions of the government. The government had placed barricades in advance to prevent people entering the premises. Even as Parliamentarians we were not permitted to pass through. People have taken to the streets because of the pressures building up in their lives. Government was under the impression that it could chase the people away with the power and assistance of hired thugs that were intentionally transported from Colombo. The people had cornered some of the thugs and they had confirmed it. The people get deeply worried when their lands are in danger of being given away without their consent. The government has no idea about what the people feel. The people have a greater bond with their land which is an integral part of their livelihoods. The government lacks the sense to understand this. This clash is evidence of the government’s inability to carry out its functions effectively.

The original ‘port city’ project is one that was planned with good intentions. The government gave the people a pledge that it would take control of the project when they come to power, thus they stopped the project arbitrarily. Now look at the devastating later developments. Has China begged to recommence the ‘port city’ project as planned? We all know that our President and the Prime Minister had to travel all the way to China to plead with them to come back. As a result the government had to give the Chinese more land to compensate for the earlier losses. This is why I say that the government has proved its inability in every manner.

? There was a Court order restricting protest in the area. Why didnt you honor that?

A: We respect and honor the Law. We have never gone there to protest against decisions but to stage a peaceful rally to draw attention to the peoples’ distress. But a clash broke out after their thugs began attacking us.

? If that was a peaceful rally as you say, why did the people get involved in the clash?

A: Take a look at the Drone video camera to know the truth. The Prime Minister’s security guards have confiscated it off from the journalists to cover up the truth. We have seen what really transpired at the scene. It was not the protestors who had started the fight.

? Why did the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa go to Kandy at a time when the people of Hambantota are said to be facing problems ? Has he abandoned them?

A: No. He did not know that this was going to happen. Had he known he would have done something to stop it. He left to attend some functions he had planned sometime earlier. He had no reason to organize a devastating occurrence like this and inconvenience his own people.

? The 15000 acres are not going to be allocated merely from Hambantota District, but from other districts such as Monaragala, Ampara and Matara. Havent you made the public aware of these facts?

A: The government said the project is focusing on Hambantota. But now they say it includes other districts too. You may check the statements issued in this regard at the inception of the project. It was revealed by none other than the Prime Minister himself. It is their responsibility to reveal the right facts to the public. But they made it clearly known that the lands are being granted on a long-term lease. There may be a difference in technicality but no difference in the practical sense. When you give out lands on a long-term lease such as 99 years, who will live to see that day?

? There were some lands granted to investors outright during the administration of the former President. But we didnt see any protest mounted against it. What was the reason behind it?

A: Governments take strategic decisions when promoting investments. There was a time when the government spent on constructing hotels and selling off shares to potential investors. The Oberoi Hotel was constructed by the CWE when the United National Party was in power. The Intercontinental Hotel was built with tobacco company funds. Transasia Hotel was created with funds of the Insurance Corporation. Foreigners have invested in these hotels because they knew Sri Lanka has the potential to transform its tourism into a vibrant industry. Investors come in when there are opportunities. We had to build hotels with our own funds in those days. We need to have strategic plans to lure the investors and capitalize on their investments. That was our strategic policy.

?But its been so long since constructing the Mattala Airport and Hambantota Harbour and none of these projects were making any significant revenue contribution to the country? What do you have to say about that?

A: This is something hardly spoken about. There was a secondary plan. China had signed an agreement to dig a canal through Thailand. Most of the ships can take a de-tour to Hambantota rather than going all the way to Singapore once it comes on ground. This was what the previous government was interested in and focused on. Even the present Minister of Ports Arjuna Ranatunga says that Hambantota Port has a greater value. It needs some time for a harbour to take root and produce results.

Until then we have diverted some of the ships from Colombo to ease the congestion at the Colombo Port. Also there were some trans-shipments handled through Hambantota. It is a functional port, so the profits were going to be made eventually.

? The proposed agreement is said to be a conversion of debt into equity amounting to over $1 billion. What are your comments?

A: Yes. The government can get over $1 billion when they sell 80% of the shares. It was a service agreement of 35%-65%. But the present government has made it 20%-80% by enabling the Chinese to have the bigger share of the investment. Chinese were only given the rights to administer the project under the agreement with the former regime. The government is proposing to form a company holding only 20% of shares and giving out 80% to China. This agreement will go on for a period of 99 years.

Nobody can question the agreement for a period of 20 years. China Harbour Company has offered more in their proposal. But the government does not wish to let the highest bidder to have it for very suspicious reasons.

? The government says they do all these things to ease the burdens off the people caused by the massive debt it has resulted in ? Is this true?

A: Now everybody criticizes the previous government for the debt factor. I want to ask those who criticize us whether we ever defaulted repaying any installment ever? We were managing the finances in the right way to gain a significant growth in the economy. Apart from that, the funding agencies do a thorough check on the credibility of the recipient. Look at the amount of loans obtained by the current government for the past two years, what do you actually see on ground as a result of these loans? Now the government is struggling to repay the loan premium. This is due to bad management of funds.

?But investments seem to be coming in to the country?

A: Well, talking about the investments made public by the government, let me start with the famous Volkswagen factory. The government very clearly said that it was a Volkswagen factory that is going to be established in Kuliyapitiya. But what has actually come out? It’s just a car assembly line with the legal rights to bring in parts and assemble vehicles in Sri Lanka. The country is going to lose badly on costs of importing these cars in dismantled form. This is just like the vehicle assembly scam that created major issues a few years back.

Next is the MAS Holdings factory in Veyangoda. The building is still owned by Kabul Lace Company. I’m telling you this with confidence. But the government made a large public spectacle out of this.

The government claims that it will provide employment for thousands. But I would like to know the names of ten people who are recipients of the employment opportunities.

? Fellow campaigner of the former President MP Wimal Weerawansa was remanded yesterday. Any story behind this that we dont know of?

A: An inquiry should be impartial. We know how politics is played in this country. No exception when it comes to probing. Remember the true reason why the Director General of the Bribery Commission Dilrukshi Wickramasingha had to quit ? All these institutions are highly politicized. Wimal had never ordered them to release the vehicles, but the then Chairman Ashu Marasinghe. How can the Chairman go scot free when the Minister is remanded. The reason for the arrest was to sabotage the seminar his party has organized for the 22nd of this month. The FCID has presented a ‘B’ report with a list of allegations and filed the case in a manner that leaves Court with no option but to remand him. This is how the FCID plays the game. They need to prove the facts stated in the ‘B’ report submitted in Court. Then we could say that he is guilty of the offence. But what happens now is that they imposed the punishment at the time of filing the case.

?The former President had stated that he is going to topple the government in 2017. How is he going to do it?

A: We do not have to make any extra effort. The government itself is running towards self- destruction. Look at the issues within the government and the ministers. There is a greater mismatch between the two camps in the government. There is no limit to imposing burdens on the common man. I can’t recall any other government that has imposed such burdens on the people. Now the people have started rioting against it. We see this in the numerous protests that spring up in different parts of the country. Look at the public service. Look at the Doctors. Have they ever thought that they would have to protest even for a minute for a thing like getting a school for their children? look at the Customs officers, Inland Revenue officials and other officials. Now it has come to a point that they have to fight for their rights. This is not what they expected as good governance.

So we do not need an extra effort to topple this government. It’s heading towards that direction already.

?So is it going to be through street fights or the democratic way?

A: We also believe in democracy. So it will always be the democratic way.

9 Responses to “Government rushing into self-destruction”

  1. S.Gonsal Says:

    Mahinda to field Omar Kamil to Colombo – UNP likely to ask for it?

    – Jan 13, 2017

    Ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa will field former mayor and special municipal commissioner Omar Kamil as his candidate for the Colombo municipal council at the upcoming local government elections, according to reports reaching Lanka News Web.

    Discussions have taken place to field him under Mahinda’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (flower bud symbol), but president Maithripala Sirisena has agreed that he should contest as the SLFP candidate.

    The main among the LG bodies in Sri Lanka, the CMC’s dealings are second only to parliament and it has long been considered a fortress of power of the UNP. Kamil was its mayor representing the UNP. First elected its member in 1979, he counts a longstanding service and is a very popular figure in the municipality area. Mahinda appointed him as the key administrator in 2006 and 2009 as the municipal commissioner in 2010.

    At discussions among Mahinda loyalists about their candidate for the CMC, most proposed the name of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. However, Mahinda opposed, saying “We are not the majority community in the Colombo municipal area. It is the Muslims. All the Muslims are against Gota. Therefore, Gota will not do. We should field Omar Kamil.”

    Initially an UNPer, Kamil has a good understanding with Mahinda after was thrice appointed to take charge of the municipality. Mahinda well knows that he does not act beyond his bidding. This proves again that Mahinda is a very shrewd politician who well understands the ground realities, although he was defeated at the presidential election. He is a real game planner who can do any manipulation to his advantage. Without an alternative, president Sirisena will have to agree to this suggestion, thereby creating peace between the two SLFP factions. If that happens, Mahinda will be able to get two things done with one stroke.

    The UNP is reportedly going to field former Mrs. World and ex-MP Rosie Senanayake as its Colombo mayoral candidate. Political analysts say the UNP will ask for it by fielding her against a very popular Muslim figure like Kamil.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Sri Lanka offers resident visas for foreigners investing over $300K
    Thu, Jan 12, 2017, 08:24 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Jan 12, Colombo: Sri Lanka on Thursday offered temporary resident visas for foreign investors who invest a minimum of $300,000, in a move to ease pressure on the rupee.

    Sri Lanka’s Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake addressing a media briefing today invited foreigners to use Sri Lanka to bank their surplus cash. He said the funds coming through Commercial Banking license can be invested in Sri Lanka.

    The Minister said if foreigners, especially older people who like to spend time in Sri Lanka, can invest funds of at least $300,000, the government can offer temporary resident visas for 2 to 3 years. If they could increase the investments to $ 1.5 million the duration can be further expanded.

    The money can be invested in the Banking Sector, the Stock Market and in Treasury Bonds. He said that exchange controls will be totally eliminated and the investments can earn higher returns of 2-3 percent compared to rates around 0.5 percent elsewhere in the world. However, he said that cash in millions cannot be taken out of the country.

    The investments would boost the country’s foreign reserves and help cut reliance on foreign debt, Minister Karunanayake said. “What we want is investments and then there is no need of going behind loans,” he added.

    The move is in line with a 2016 Budget proposal to grant resident visas to foreigners who bring in a large amount of foreign exchange into the country.

    The Minister added that Mahinda Rajapaksa was presenting incorrect statistics on the loans obtained for the construction of the Hambantota Harbor.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    “The UNP is reportedly going to field former Mrs. World and ex-MP Rosie Senanayake as its Colombo mayoral candidate. Political analysts say the UNP will ask for it by fielding her against a very popular Muslim figure like Kamil.”

    NO!

    Muslim votes go to UNP WHOEVER contests. Tamil votes go to UNP WHOEVER contests.

    SLFP or MR CANNOT win just by fielding a MUSLIM!!

    Don’t forget there are about 25% Singhalese in CMC. They will NOT vote for SLFP IF a Muslim mayor contests. They will vote for UNP. With Singhala, Muslim and Tamil votes UNP will once again WIN CMC!!

    SLFP will LOSE even Singhala votes in CMC!

  4. Christie Says:

    How can an administration of a an Empire self destruct?.

  5. S.Gonsal Says:

    Ranil use Rosie. MR should use Geetha.

  6. aloy Says:

    I think the Megapolis man should include Kirilapone, Peliyagoda and perhaps Kelaniya also into CMC and keep it under control of a Sinhala person as the mayor. Sri lanka’s capital needs to be under a Sinhalaya. It is not yet like London.

  7. aloy Says:

    What I meant in my last sentence is that those living in all areas mentioned hasn’t got the mindset of those in London yet.

  8. Dilrook Says:

    However, if export processing zones come up in Hambantota and Monaragala, what happened to Gampaha and Galle districts after Katunayaka, Biyagama and Koggala EPZs will happen there. UNP will have an increase in its clout. Even in 1977 UNP failed to win Gampaha District as a whole. SLFP’s 8 seats came from Gampaha district. However, things changed subsequently. UNP won Gampaha district many times after EPZs. SLFP’s enormous advantage in Galle district was dented by development works. This will very well happen to the two poorest Sinhala districts too.

    If people in these districts actually get employment in large numbers, I will support these projects. Same goes for the Moragahakanda project and the aborted Nilwala project.

  9. Samanthi Says:

    ජී.එස්‌.පී දෙන්න කොන්දේසි 58ක්‌
    ==================

    පළාත් සභාවලට බලය බෙදීම
    ඉඩම් ආඥා පනත සංශෝධනය
    මැතිවරණ ප්‍රතිසංස්‌කරණ ඇතිකිරීම
    අපරාධ නීතිය සංශෝධනය කිරීම

    ශ්‍යාම් නුවන් ගනේවත්ත – දිවයින

    යුරෝපා සංගමයේ ජී. එස්‌. පී. ප්ලස්‌ (GSP+) බදු සහනය යළි ශ්‍රී ලංකාවට ලබා ගැනීම සඳහා රටට ඉතා අනතුරුදායක කොන්දේසි 58 කට රජය එකඟවී ඇතැයි රජයේ ඉහළ පෙළේ ආරංචි මාර්ගවලින් ‘දිවයින ඉරිදා සංග්‍රහය’ ට වාර්තා වේ.

    මේ කොන්දේසිවලට එකඟ වී ඒ පිළිබඳ ප්‍රගතිය යුරෝපා කොමිසමට දැක්‌වීමට ද රජය ක්‍රියාකර ඇති බවද වාර්තා වේ.

    ත්‍රස්‌තවාදය වැළැක්‌වීමේ පනත ඉවත්කර ඒ වෙනුවට ගෙනෙන නව නීතිය සමාලෝචනය කර එය ජාත්‍යන්තර ප්‍රමිතීන්ට අනුව සම්පාදනය කිරීම, අත්අඩංගුවේ සිටින රැඳවියන් සම්බන්ධ නඩු කටයුතු කඩිනමින් අවසන් කිරීම, සියලු එල්. ටී. ටී. ඊ. හිටපු සටන්කරුවන් පුනරුත්ථාපනය කිරීම අවසන් කිරීම, රැඳවියන්ගේ අයිතිවාසිකම් සම්බන්ධයෙන් ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ අපරාධ නීතියට සංශෝධන ගෙනඒම, මහජන ආරක්‌ෂණ ආඥා පනත සමාලෝචනය කිරීම, අතුරුදන් වූවන් සම්බන්ධයෙන් වෙනම කාර්යාලයක්‌ ස්‌ථාපිත කිරීම, නව මානව හිමිකම් ක්‍රියාකාරී සැලැස්‌මක්‌ (2017- 2021) හඳුන්වාදීම, ත්‍රස්‌තවාදී සංවිධාන ලෙස ලැයිස්‌තුගත කර ඇති දෙමළ සංවිධාන හා පුද්ගලයන් සම්බන්ධ තත්ත්වය සමාලෝචනයට ලක්‌ කිරීම (මින් පුද්ගලයන් 86 දෙනෙක්‌ සහ සංවිධාන 08 ක්‌ කරන ලද පරීක්‍ෂණ අනුව එම ලැයිස්‌තුවෙන් ඉවත් කිරීමට අපේක්‌ෂා කරන බව රජය දන්වා ඇත.)

    පොලිස්‌ මූල්‍ය අපරාධ කොට්‌ඨාසය, නීතිපති දෙපාර්තමේන්තුව සහ අල්ලස්‌ කොමිසම හමුවේ ඇති දූෂණ චෝදනා නඩු කටයුතු කඩිනමින් අවසන් කිරීම, දූෂණවලට එරෙහිව අල්ලස්‌ කොමිසම මගින් නව ක්‍රියාකාරී සැලැස්‌මක්‌ ඵලදායී ලෙස ක්‍රියාත්මක කිරීම. නව ආණ්‌ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්‌ථාව යටතේ පළාත්වලට බලය බෙදාහැරීම යන කරුණු සලකා බැලීම, නව ආණ්‌ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්‌ථාව යටතේ මැතිවරණ ප්‍රතිසංස්‌කරණ හඳුන්වාදීම, ඉඩම් ආඥාපනතට සංශෝධන සිදුකිරීම, දෙමළ භාෂාව කතා කරන කාන්තා පොලිස්‌ නිලධාරිනියන් ප්‍රමාණය ඉහළ නැංවීම, පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේ අවම වශයෙන් සියයට 25 කාන්තා නියෝජනයක්‌ ඇතිකිරීම සහ මුස්‌ලිම් නීතිය යටතේ විවාහ විය හැකි අවම වයස නීතියෙන් නියම කිරීම (මේ සඳහා කැබිනට්‌ අනුකාරක සභාවක්‌ පත්කිරීමට නියමිතය.) ඇතුළු ඉතා බරපතල කොන්දේසි රැසක්‌ මෙම බදු සහනය ලබා ගැනීම සඳහා රජය විසින් යුරෝපා කොමිසම වෙත එකඟවී එම කොන්දේසි ඉටු කිරීමේ ප්‍රගතියද එම කොමිසම වෙත වාර්තා කර තිබෙන බවද රජයේ ඉහළ පෙළේ ආරංචි මාර්ගවලින් තවදුරටත් ‘දිවයින ඉරිදා සංග්‍රහයට” වාර්තා වේ.

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