Is Gotabaya Lending Support to the US Indo-Pacific Strategy in Sri Lanka?
Posted on January 15th, 2020

(A Paper published by the Sri Lanka Geo-Political Study Circle)

On 16th November 2019, a 6.9 Million people overwhelmingly voted Gotabaya Rajapaksa into office, sincerely believing that he would give Sri Lanka leadership to face her biggest danger in 200 years, a brazen attempt by the US to physically take over the Country.

Leaders of Gotabaya’s alliance-parties, like Vasudeva, Weerawansa and Gammanpila, vociferously supported Gotabaya, in the run-up to the Presidential Election, in a collective show of political force against the MCC and the insidious American ‘invasion’.

With Wickramasinghe hell-bent on handing over the country on a platter to the Americans, the US ‘invasion’ of Sri Lanka became one of the prime issues at the 2019 Presidential-Elections.

The MCC is the smartpower tool of the US Government. In the overall ‘Indo-Pacific Command’ Operational Plan to achieve the stated US strategic objective of establishing US hegemony over the Indian Ocean (described as Pivot-to-Asia), the MCC Plan for Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Phase of that Indo-Pacific Operation.

Gotabaya purportedly gave up his US citizenship to give his valuable leadership experience to the Sri Lankan people albeit his spouse did not give up her citizenship; she has the dubious distinction of being the first American woman to be categorised, in the words of some, as Sri Lanka’s First Lady.

The first hint that some skulduggery was afoot came when Chandrasena, in his ‘immediate-post-Ministerial-appointment-interview’ chortled witlessly, in front of the cameras, with a, ‘I-will-be-issuing-loads-of-land-deeds-come and-get-yours’ boast.

This insidious tremor was followed by a major shock. On 10 December 2019, less than a month to Gotabaya being elected into office by the people, Chandrasena presented to the Cabinet, a detailed proposal of what is described as a ‘Plan to accelerate the ‘Management of State Land’.

(http://cabinetoffice.gov.lk/cab/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16&Itemid=49&lang=en&dID=10291)

Accelerated Programme for State Land Management– The Minister of Lands & Land Development presented to the attention of the Cabinet, information in respect of 11 programmes planned to be implemented from the month of December 2019 up to the month of March 2020 by the institutions coming under the purview of the Ministry of Lands & Land Development. Accordingly, the Minister informed the Cabinet further that the programmes such as issuance of permits, Grants and Leases, in terms of the Land Development Ordinance and the State Land Ordinance after holding Land Kachcheries, conducting Mobile Days and Field Day programmes, issuance of Title Certificates under the Title Registration Act, regularizing of Land Data System, Launching of the New Edition of the Road Map and the preparation of Land Manual etc. are anticipated to be implemented. The Cabinet also decided to appoint an Officials’ Committee to make recommendations to prepare a simple and a convenient method in respect of the lands given under lease basis enabling the lessees to make their payments without causing much inconvenience to them.

It would have taken a great deal of work and time, even for professionals with greater capacity than Chandrasena, to formulate such an elaborate Plan in such a short space of time as three weeks.

The Cabinet approved the Plan and tasked Chandrasena to start on the Project immediately and have it completed by March 2020, before the anticipated General Election.

This Project, approved by the Cabinet, has 11 programmes and include, the issuance of Land Grants and Leases and the issuance of Title certificates under the Title Registration Act (Bim Saviya) of 1998.

Suspicions of what is being planned were compounded when on 29 Dec 19 Chandrasena, visiting Padaviya, declared that he would be issuing 200,000 Land deeds and that he would be establishing a land Secretariat system. (https://www.newsfirst.lk/2019/12/29/land-secretariat-system-to-resolve-land-ownership-issues/)

 It is an extraordinary coincidence that Chandrasena’s proposal, approved by the Gotabaya Cabinet, is exactly what the MCC has instructed Sri Lanka to do, and that too, as laid down by the MCC, prior to signing the MCC Agreement.

Chandrasena’s proposal is the crux of the MCC Plan for America’s takeover of Sri Lanka. The accelerated Plan for ‘Management of State Land’ is the Accelerated MCC Plan for Sri Lanka.

The Objective of the MCC plan, is indicated in the ‘Constraints Analysis’ (https://assets.mcc.gov/content/uploads/constraints-analysis-sri-lanka.pdf)

and also, in the ‘Execution Phase’ of the MCC Plan leaked out unwittingly by Steve Dobrilovic and, which mistake, was acknowledged by MCC Country Director Edelman as ‘a big blunder’.

The objective of the MCC is ‘To make all of Sri Lanka’s Land (80% Government Land and 20% Private Land) accessible to the Americans, for outright purchase or lease. Vide the URL given below

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rmhfN6_NaTnz9IriymMxQrlpy6fL7rlV/view?usp=sharing

The main obstacles, at present, to the Americans buying up the Country are: (a) SL Law does not permit foreigners to own land: (b)  Government Land (viz 80% of the Country) is under the protective care of the Executive President who is not empowered to sell this Land; he, and only he, may lease out this land or issue Land Grants of limited extent; (c) Land ownership is restricted to 50 acres: (d) The absence of a mechanism to grant Absolute Title to State Lands held by people who are holders of Land Grants: (e) Some of the State Lands are under the purview of State Organisations: (f) The Constitution which safeguards the Fundamental Rights of the unborn generations to this Land.

The MCC demands that Sri Lanka dismantle all these impediments to the US take-over of the Country, before it parts with even a dime of the 480 Million US Dollars dangled before her. 

(https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rmhfN6_NaTnz9IriymMxQrlpy6fL7rlV/view?usp=sharing)

The Sirisena-Wickramasinghe Government obliged: (a) The ‘State Land-Bank’ Bill was drafted (reportedly by the Americans) to remove the 50-Acre limitation on ownership and also, to enable State Lands, under the purview of State Departments and Corporations, to be sold to any potential buyer showing interest. This embryonic Law, waiting to be presented in Parliament, was alluded to by Sirisena in his infamous TV soap-opera performance in September 2018: (b) The Project of ‘Issuing-a- Million-Land-Grants’, was initiated, to release the protective hand of the President over State Land; by issuing a ‘Million’ Land Grants – to many who already have leasehold ownership of these Lands – over two Million Acres of Land in the Country are being initially privatised.  These numbers are calculated on the basis of 2 acres per Land Grant to each beneficiary.  (To deviate for a moment from the construct being placed before the readers,   the MCC offer of 68 M USD for ‘Land’ – the balance of the 480 M USD  being allotted to Transport – for a 200-year lease works out to Rupees 2/50 per acre per month or One and a half Cents per perch per month!): (c) ‘The Land (Special Provisions) Bill’ was drafted (reportedly once again by the Americans) to grant Absolute Title to those citizens holding State Land Grants: (d) Foreigners were permitted to lease Land for 99 years and renew a further lease for another 99 years.

The Land (Special Provisions) Bill ran into flak; concerned citizens challenged the Bill in the Supreme Court. The Court determined that the Bill was in violation of the Constitution and resolved that the Bill needed to go through the Provincial Councils which owe their existence to Amendment 13 of the Constitution; the controversial Amendment to the Constitution has given Sri Lanka a brief respite from the MCC invasion.

All obstacles to the US control of our Land have been done away with, save three; these are, the two draft Bills, adduced to earlier, which have to be passed in Parliament , the need to continue the programme of ‘Issuing  a Million Land Grants’ until the Corridor from TCO – CBO is covered completely. The MCC has laid claim to this Corridor stating that this Corridor is its special focus of interest.

The special focus of MCC interest, the TCO – CBO Corridor, is enlarged below

It is quite evident that Gotabaya and Chandrasena, have picked up from where Sirisena and Wickramasinghe stopped; they are continuing the programme of issuing a Million Land Grants.

 Gotabaya has given Chandrasena a deadline. “Complete the task before March this year”.

The last major task yet to be done, as required by the US, is putting in place a new Constitution.

The tragedy that is unfolding is criminal. Land Grants are being granted to a ‘Million’ people and, together with their families, the numbers that are being cold-bloodedly trapped into a deadly web could be conservatively estimated at 4 Million people.

The MCC anticipates these poverty-stricken people to apply for distress loans and thereafter default on these loans issued on the collateral of their newly gifted 2-Acre Land Grants.

When that happens, the Lending Agencies would seize the Land and resort to ‘distress’ sales/leases to the Americans waiting in the side lines to grab the Land as planned.  As per the MCC Agreement, the Americans would be controlling the Land Secretariat which would control the ten Land Registries in the TCO-CBO Corridor.

By duplicity, a Four-Million farmers are being made landless overnight by a mafia of traitorous politicians who are exceeding and abusing their powers, acting in contempt of the Constitution and the Supreme Court and trampling the Fundamental Rights of the unborn generations of this Land.

Sadly, all this is being done without even a proper geological survey of the Land; a detailed  survey would reveal the diversity, the extent, the quantity, the quality of wealth beneath the Land and the environmental impact that would be created in extracting  these resources and the necessary precautions that have to be followed when extracting theses resources. The Corridor which the Americans demand is rich with divergent minerals and resources.

The people in the meantime, in this initial phase of the MCC Plan, are being disingenuously lured into a debt trap and thereafter evicted from the Lands of their forefathers.

Phase 1 of the MCC Plan would be achieved.   The Americans (and their military allies from the Pacific) would pivot into the Lands made vacant by deceit and which makes up the American Corridor of Special Interest from TCO – CBO.

It appears that Gotabaya’s accelerated programme for the Management of State Land is an accelerated Plan for the division of Sri Lanka along the TCO-CBO Corridor. 

What becomes of these Four Million Farmer families? They have been dispossessed of their Land and they have lost their means to earn an income.

What employment will they engage in to keep their families from starving? Where will they sleep?  What happens to their health? Where will their children study?

Massive migration of a four Million people to cities, in this initial phase of the MCC, can be anticipated; With this massive urban migration, Sri Lanka would be reduced to a Haiti where beggary, prostitution, Narcotics, murder, robbery, ghettos, contract killings will be the order of the day.

In the meantime, Gotabaya has appointed a Committee to do a ‘Comprehensive study on the Millennium Challenge Corporation Project and submit recommendations to the Government’. 

It certainly does not reflect well on Gotabaya. His actions suggest that he went into an Election with a promise to lead the people without even studying or identifying the biggest security threat that faces our Country because of the MCC -Plan of the Indo Pacific Military Command.

What are the terms of reference of this Gunaruwan-Committee which is required to do a comprehensive study of the MCC Project?  Are the members of the Committee fiercely independent or are they a group of persons who could be influenced by the MCC?  Are the public permitted to address the Committee? Will Gunaruwan and his committee be independent enough to submit their report for Public viewing  before the General Elections?  

Sri Lanka’s experience has been that many previous Committees, Commissions etc have not acted with a sense of responsibility; they have excluded some vital evidence and included evidence bordering on the nebulous. Since the MCC is a matter of life and death for Sri Lanka, would Gunaruwan and his Committee members take responsibility to allow themselves to be held culpable and liable for prosecution for any glaring sins of omission and/or commission on their part?

Would the Committee invite members of the MCC for a live televised debate to comprehensively discuss the MCC issue; there are several members in this Study Circle who would like to exchange views with the MCC.

Will Gunaruwan and his Committee, commissioned to do a comprehensive study, examine the entire MCC Agreement which consists of the ‘Constraints Analysis’ Report, the ‘Execution Plan’ and the ‘Administrative Plan’?  The MCC disingenuously describes the Administrative plan as the ‘MCC Agreement’. The links to the three documents have already been given afore in this paper.

The view that Gotabaya is sailing with the Americans is bolstered  when, without a blush, he surrounds himself  with advisers who are known American agents, when he, without the peoples’ authority, attempts to change Sri Lanka’s Foreign Policy from Non-Alignment to Neutrality (the MCC would not be permitted under Non-Alignment while Neutrality would not pose problems for the MCC) and when, it has been reliably reported that instructions have been issued for all Madrasah Schools to be registered.

 The 6.9 Million voters are hoping that the alarm bells that are ringing and the danger-lights which are blinking are  ‘false alarms.

Gotabaya can reassure all of them and rebut his critics if he, in Parliament, decries the MCC and the Parliament takes a vote on that statement; Gotabaya is assured of a majority. Premadasa has assured Gotabaya, UNP support for such a move; the JVP too has latterly expressed its antipathy to the MCC.

Furthermore, such a move would assure Gotabaya of an overwhelming victory at the General Elections.

If Gotabaya does not take a firm stand against the MCC now, it would be a great disappointment to the people of Sri Lanka. It would signal the self-destruction of a present-day icon and would indeed be a bitter pill for the Sri Lankans to swallow.

If swallowing a bitter pill is the fate of the Sri Lankans they must then swallow that pill.   With a bitter taste in the mouth and with the sheer anguish of betrayal running through  their bodies, the minds of the Sri Lankans will not permit them, at the General Elections, to vote for any one of Gotabaya’s candidates; neither would they vote for the UNP or anyone in the recognised political parties who dance to the tune of the MCC.   

The people would vote instead for some Independent Candidates whose Election Slogan is, MCC Never! Stop USA!

One Response to “Is Gotabaya Lending Support to the US Indo-Pacific Strategy in Sri Lanka?”

  1. shenali Waduge Says:

    What the GoSLL and the general public must realise is that the US is coming with a ‘GIFT’ not in our best interest but as a part of its pivot to Asia strategy to get a foothold in Asia’s treasure (SL) the nation that provides access to the World from West to East and East to West

    The said agreement is just a piece of paper and is irrelevant whether signed or not IF the GOSL is passing legislative changes to facilitate all that the MCC demands – giving title deeds is one such key demand and giving title deeds along the said economic corridor means around 4million people likely to be left homeless, livelihood less and giving bigger issues for SL which totally dents the measures taken to develop SL

    Moreover with US on ground .. we will soon face a situation like Iraq where inspite of entire Parliament voting to ask US to leave US refuses to do so and is asking return payment for the bases it built illegally… this calls to mind the Dutch demand from King Rajasinghe II when he asked Dutch to leave.

    If we do not learn from history we are going to repeat the mistakes we made and return SL to the era of colonial rule in neocolonial format…

    If we have foreigners stationed here and running their own operations what is the sovereignty we have and what will a Govt be able to enjoy?

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