The World Bank Strips Sri Lanka’s Judiciary of its Powers Enshrined in the Constitution and Further Fingers the Country’s Constitution
Posted on April 16th, 2017
By Gandara John
It was in 1998 that the World Bank under the cover of digitalizing Sri Lanka’s Land records did, with the complicity of Kumaranatunge, insidiously introduce a Land Law relating to ‘Land Ownership’; this ‘Law’ was the bedrock for the Neocolonialists to re-colonize the country by encouraging the sale of our lands to foreigners. The law was passed at a time when the country’s attention was riveted to battling terrorism.
The ‘Breton-Wood’ created Bank was successful in injecting this sinister law – the Torrens law – into 51 developing countries; in Sri Lanka it was called ‘Bim Saviya’ (The Title Registration Act of 1998).
In a nutshell, ‘Bim Saviya’ overnight emasculated the Judiciary by stripping it of its powers to adjudicate on disputed land matters.
The Legislature via the Bim Saviya took away those Judicial powers and conferred them on the Executive who delegated these powers to a sole administrator ignorant in the law and responsible only to the Minister of Lands; that administrator’s future lay with the Politician and furthermore he was exposed to the temptation of ‘Big’ money.
To make matters worse Bim Saviya law gave that administrator immunity from prosecution, for his actions.
And simultaneously Bim Saviya took away the rights of the people to challenge the ownership of disputed land and the opportunity to seek judicial redress; redress for a victim, if at all, could only be financial redress, compensation from a near empty fund.
A registered owner, even if he had obtained ownership of a land by extra legal or fraudulent means,has his ownership protected by Bim Saviya; his ownership of the land could not be changed.
The World Bank induced law interfered with the country’s Constitution, with the country’s Judiciary, with the rights of the people and with the common law. It was never challenged in a Court of Law.
The World Bank, pumping millions of Dollars, percolated through the Bim Saviya an alien concept that ‘Land’ is a commodity that needs to be bought and sold.
In Sri Lanka, this concept is anathema to the majority of the people. ‘Land’ is perceived as being something sacred, as being the crucible of life of the people and as being ‘collectively’ owned by all the citizens of the country. This was the land doctrine adopted by successive Governments even the Senanayake led UNP.
It is not surprising therefore that only 20% of Sri Lanka’s land is privately owned while the rest is Government owned. In short 80% of the country’s land is collectively owned by the people.
While the selling of land to private individuals in Sri Lanka is cautiously done selling of Sri Lankan land to foreigners is considered taboo in the country.
Selling of Land to foreigners is considered by many as the most extreme form of selling ‘family silver’; buying up of family silver, especially land, is the basis of Neo-colonialism, a strategy pursued aggressively by the defeated Neoliberals in the US and Europe.
This is the underlying thread of Bim Saviya vigorously pushed by the World Bank.
It was in the backdrop of Bim Saviya that Wickramasinghe’s LTTE linked advisor Paskaralingam, dropped a bombshell; in a multi-million Dollar deal Paskaralingam reportedly attempted to give out, lock stock and barrel, for a period of 3 years, Sri Lanka’s Survey Department to a CIA partner Company – Trimble Inc – to do the aerial surveys and mapping of the island.
This Company, a close associate of ‘Raytheon’ has partnered the US spy agency, in similar projects in many other third world countries.. ‘Trimble Inc’ specialises, amongst other things, in GPS-reliant technological warfare and Drone based warfare.
Military Analysts opine that having ‘Trimble Inc’ on board in the Survey Department and in control of Sri Lanka’s electronic ‘Land Register and Almanac’ is a threat to her National Security; with ‘Trimble’ on board, manipulating and fabricating the electronic Land Register, providing GPS data to Raytheon (the ionosphere-heating monster which reportedly has the capability to initiate with near accuracy anywhere in the world droughts, floods, cyclones etc), initiating drone assassinations and initiating ‘drone’ soil contamination and even crashing the Land Ministry website as mysteriously happened recently (for a near month) are all credible options on the table.
Today Paskaralingam is floating the illegal concept of ‘Land Banks’ under the Housing Ministry.
It is ironic that Bim Saviya mandates that all lands whether on primary lease or on secondary lease (when leased or sub leased or sub-sub leased) shall be registered in the ‘Land Register’. Likewise mandated for registration are the plans of those lands, the extent of land, the parties to the Agreement and as per the ‘Compulsory Registration of Leases Act, the terms and conditions of the lease regardless of whether the lease pertains to BOI projects or Projects flowing from bi-lateral Agreements and regardless of the description of the property leased.
How is it then that this information is not available in the land register for people to see in cases such as the projects in Colombo Port, Hambantota Port, Horana (Tyre), and Kuliyapitiya (Volkswagen)?
If this information is not available in the Land Register, the relevant Ministers, their Secretaries and the relevant Heads of Departments are transgressing the law and are begging to be prosecuted by the AG.
If the AG does not do what is required of him to be done, the opposition must and if the opposition does not do what is required of them, the citizens must.