Sajith mum on MCCC
Posted on November 3rd, 2019

By Shivanthi Ranasinghe Courtesy Ceylon Today

Last week, in typical Yahapalana style, the Cabinet approved the USD 480 million Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact project (MCCC). The US Embassy did not lose any time to express their happiness.

 However, it appears that it is only the US Embassy that is happy about it. Until that moment, with the Presidential elections just round the corner, the MCCC was the furthest in people’s minds. Therefore, the approval comes as a complete shock to the nationalists. 

On the whole, though, many do not know about the MCCC or its implications. This in a nutshell sums up the West imported democracy we got since 2015 in the form of Yahapalana Government.

These five years of the Yahapalana Government are marked with the numerous controversial commitments that Sri Lanka had been roped into agreeing.

 In every one of these instances – from co-sponsoring the infamous Geneva Resolution 30/1 to the Yahapalana presidential candidate’s manifesto – the Yahapalana Government had taken great care to keep the details wrapped and away from the people.

In 2015, it may be recalled that soon after the general elections, the Yahapalana Government prioritised appointing the Foreign Minister than the cabinet.

 Appointing the Cabinet itself was unprecedentedly delayed by weeks. Thus, newly appointed Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera went to Geneva on Sri Lanka tax payers’ account and at the UNHRC co-sponsored the Resolution 30/1 that was brought against Sri Lanka.

He did so without the Cabinet approval and without the knowledge of the people.

 He did so even though the conditions stipulated in the Resolution contravened the Constitution of Sri Lanka. He did so when he did not have the authority to thus commit the Parliament.

 The reason being, he participated at the UNHRC session in the capacity of a Minister, which is essentially the executive arm. 

However, he undertook the commitments to be fulfilled by the Parliament, which is the legislator. The Executive and the legislature are two separate, exclusive bodies in Sri Lanka. Therefore, he undertook a commitment that he was not allowed by the Constitution.

The Yahapalana Government had to resort to very creative means to fulfil the conditions that came with co-sponsoring the Resolution. They provoked the then Joint Opposition into invading the well of the Parliament. 

Taking advantage of that commotion, they passed the OMP Bill. The Enforced Disappearance Act was passed during the days of the Digana riots. 

The entire country’s attention was on the riots and certain entities were insinuated that the Buddhist monks were behind the attacks on the Muslims. The Act was passed whilst the monks were busy defending themselves from the unfounded allegations.

The MCCC was first sprung on us just days after the Easter Sunday Massacres. Tourism, which was one of our most lucrative and rising industries, took a hit as never before. 

Even during the days of the LTTE, Sri Lanka was a relatively safe destination for the tourists as they were never a target. The Easter Sunday bombers on the other hand zeroed in on the tourist hotspots.

The economy was already in dire straits due to the mismanagement of the Yahapalana Government. At such a time for a rising industry to fall as it did with the Easter Sunday massacres was a matter that concerned many. 

It was at such a time where all were reeling with the shock of losing so many lives and the meaningless destruction that Mangala Samaraweera as the Finance Minister, announced with an ear-to-ear grin that something good had come out of tragedy.

He spoke of receiving USD 480 million from MCCC. However, in true Mangala fashion he omitted to mention that this would be for a project that would engulf 28% of our land for a so-called economic corridor. Considering 

the expanse of land under consideration, which is around 1.2 million acres, it is not clear if Sri Lanka is getting its lands’ value. 

There is no dispute that USD 480 million is a large sum of money. However, this money is to come on the form of mega projects to reduce traffic congestion in Colombo and improve interprovincial connectivity. This is to be a five-year project.

However, the many questions and gray areas that surround this project are yet to be answered. 

The economic corridor that the American Ambassador assured was a gift from the American people to Sri Lankan people would effectively cut right across the country. 

The plan is to construct an electric railway line connecting the Trincomalee port with the Colombo Port.

 This will cut through our historic places such as Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. It is being said that there will be an electric fence to guard the railway lines.

 That area thus protected by the electric fence would be for international conglomerates to establish their factories. It is also being said that this area would not be subjected to Sri Lankan Law.

Apart from these questions, there is also a question on the guarantee. It is not clear if there would be a binding clause to complete the project once started. 

Otherwise, we would be left with incomplete infrastructural developments that would eventually fall on the government of the day to complete.

 It is also not clear on our obligations that we must fulfil for these projects to proceed unhindered.

 We must take into account America’s history and present attitude of the American High Commissioner Alaina Teplitz, who has violated her mandate by interfering in our internal matters.

Time before also MCCC had approached Sri Lanka somewhere in 2006-7. However, just as suddenly they had appeared, they had shut the door. 

Their only explanation had been that the human rights violations in the country. 

With the war against terrorism reaching its peak during that time, it is really surprising that they expected a different scenario.

 The point of lesson for us however is not to allow a group of people who do not have a grasp of ground reality from forcing themselves as our moral compass.

 The last thing we need is this economic corridor and the USD $ 480 million to be used as a carrot stick to get us into directions we do not want to go.

We need to also understand the overall picture once the SOFA and ACSA comes, into force. This Yahapalana Government came into life by discrediting our political leaders. It started its journey by persecuting our war heroes.

 Hundreds of our military leaders and intelligent units have been questioned and even incarcerated.

 This persecution had been extended to the Buddhist monks as well and over various allegations as many as 50 monks have been incarcerated by this Yahapalana Government.

Thus if ACSA and SOFA comes, into effect, it will do so when our leadership from all three fronts have been decisively attacked and weakened.

  In such a situation, can we safeguard our natural resources, with American soldiers and contractors in and out of Sri Lanka, carrying any weapon or equipment of their choice, enjoying diplomatic immunity is a very serious question that needs to be answered with clarity.

If true democracy exists, these questions would have been discussed and clarified before the Cabinet gives its approval. When the above questions and concerns were voiced, the MCCC disappeared as quickly as it 

appeared. However, making use of the upcoming elections to which everyone’s attention is fixed, the MCCC has surfaced in the most unexpected manner. This very sequence of events questions the intention and integrity of the MCCC.

One would have expected Sajith Premadasa, a powerful member of the Cabinet, deputy leader of the ruling political party, presidential candidate of the Yahapalana Government to speak up about the MCCC. At the time of writing this, he had not articulated his opinion – for or against – the MCCC. 

The fact that his voter would need a direction from him and the floating voter would need to understand his stance is apparently lost on him.

Most unfortunately, it is not only on MCCC that Sajith Premadasa is being quiet. 

The first postal vote was held on 31 October. However, even by that time Premadasa had not presented his manifesto. He is clearly expecting people to vote for him in blind faith and the absurd promises he makes on his platforms.

 It is being said that his ridiculous statements are only absurd to the educated for he strikes a chord with the rural and the uneducated.

If that is indeed the case and if he does win the presidential election, then it would be a very sad reflection of the intellectual capacity of us as a nation. In the meantime, the seriousness that the MCCC poses must not be underestimated.

If we do not manage this “gift” America is giving us unsolicited, we might find ourselves in a situation similar to a foreign invasion without a single shot being fired in our defense.

2 Responses to “Sajith mum on MCCC”

  1. aloy Says:

    Following things can happen:
    1) Stuffing ballot boxes in the North
    2) Preventing Pohottuwa voters reaching the polling station by various means including bribery. When RP won against Mrs. B, Wijeweera’s men supposed to have cut down trees on to the roads and blocked voters reaching polling stations. And the then election commissioner was made his secy and became very rich it seems. He made sure that the results were announce immediately although many violations had taken place. Can same happen this time too?.
    3) Bumping off the main contender with someone like a monk who has easy access. (this happened to CBK’s father and we school children at that time wept)

    I know MR and them are not spring chicken; that is one reason why majority Sinhalas are with them. Nevertheless above are some points ponder, I believe.

  2. aloy Says:

    Sorry, please read the last sentence as “…MR’s men who even made use of Velu are not …..”

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