Law under Millennium “Grant”
Posted on November 10th, 2019

BY GAMINI SENEVIRATNE Courtesy The Island

The Island editorial today (7th November, 2019) points out that “there should be sufficient time for independent legal experts and other knowledgeable persons to go through such agreements with a fine tooth comb and challenge them in court if necessary.”

What is being touted here is a serial violation of that fundamental premise – violations that are to be, by the said agreement, immune to any and all forms of challenge under our laws.

 Set out below for the information of the public (including such Members of this Parliament as are, at the least, literate) are a sample of the provisions therein. Am constrained to note also that the foreign lawyers picked by the true beneficiary of this project, the Millennium Challenge Corporation headed as of now by, yes, Mike Pompeo, to secure ’good governance’ laboured for three years in the all-encompassing security of ‘Temple Trees’ to draft this document away from prying eyes. The care taken to exclude any and all Sri Lankans knowledgeable in the law was way above the Security Clearance required of Presidential Advisers in the ‘White House’.

 Land laws prepared under the instructions of the MCC ignores Article 76 (1) of our Constitution: “Parliament shall not abdicate or in any manner alienate its legislative power and shall not set up any authority with any legislative power”.  

         They say all laws are referred to AG under Article 77 and 82 —As your editorial points out (and this agreement specifies) AG would have no power to look into the legality of laws. 

 Article 78– effectively the public have no power: “Every Bill shall be published in the Gazette at least seven days before it is placed on the Order Paper of Parliament”. Yup, seven days is all the time allowed for the public and the judiciary to intervene.

      In any case, Article 80[3] ensures that the Judiciary has no power where “a Bill becomes law upon the certificate of the President or the Speaker, as the case may be being endorsed thereon, no court or tribunal shall inquire into, pronounce upon or in any manner call in question, the validity of such Act on any ground whatsoever”.    Well!

It would be necessary for the new administration to dismantle some other initiatives of USAID and related agencies.

They include “Bim Saviya” and an “Electronic Hub for a National Land Titling program” in Sri Lanka.

 As so happens, I was Commissioner of Title Settlement some 30 years ago, and can certify that this Yankee go at our country would be far worse in its operation than even the Brits’ instruments of theft – the Waste Lands Ordinance and the Crown Lands Ordinance.

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