MCC Agreements
Posted on November 11th, 2019

Janaki Chandraratna

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact Program is back on the news again. This time the government is keen to sign the agreements before the Presidential elections without going through the parliamentary process. There are protests from many quarters. The President, Opposition Leader, the Maha Sangha, the Cardinal, Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) etc. had requested the government to delay the sign up, at least until the parliamentarians are made aware of the contents of the agreement. The lack of information has led to many interpretations and innuendos, highlighting the adverse impact of the agreement on the sovereignty of the country and its future generations.

Needless to say the map of Sri Lanka with a development corridor extending from Colombo to Trincomalee, quite likely to give shivers to patriotic lovers of the country. Many have asserted that the MCC projects signify a division of Sri Lanka into North and South with a buffer zone for an American military sector. The only winners are seen to be the TNA who are hell bent on securing a separate state exclusively for Tamils in the north (sans Sinhala settlements) as well as have the luxury of settling in any other part of the Island. If this is the underpinning scenario of the MCC concept then it is natural for Sri Lankans to question this arrangement, as the rest of the population (72%), may have to be settled in the South, which is more or less the same size in extent as the North. This is one of the fears currently circulating among the southern communities, in the absence of MCC program information.

In the midst of this confusion, the American Embassy has extended a so called, a hand of comfort, confirming the procedure of signing first and discussions later as compliant with MCC projects.  MCC procedure is said to be

“Consistent with the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s worldwide policy in all partner countries, once the grant assistance agreement is signed, the Government of Sri Lanka will send it to parliament for approval.  Inasmuch, Parliament will have ample opportunity to review the grant assistance agreement.  

…This grant assistance agreement will directly benefit over 11 million Sri Lankans and meaningfully stimulate economic growth. …Parliamentary review and approval are required by MCC to ensure the grant assistance agreement has the support of the government and the people.” (The Island 2 Nov. 2019). 

It is my view that the above procedure is fraught with several concerns, such as what would happen if the parliament disagrees with the proposals? In such a scenario can the agreement be cancelled and voided?

It appears the review period is limited to develop implementation plans. Here again what is the situation if there is a disagreement on the concept itself? Are we required to pay back the ‘gift’ of US$480 million in case of such a disagreement?

Also what research had been undertaken to claim that over 11 million people would directly benefit from these projects? Who would be these beneficiaries as nearly 21 million people live in this little island?

The MCC and the American Embassy need to explain the above scenarios as well as any other questions Sri Lankans may have so that the parliament and people can take informed decisions. What is in peril here is the sovereignty of our land, which, is home to 21 million people. Although the American Embassy has informed that the highlights of the MCC projects had been disseminated to interested parties, the Sri Lankan interest would be to review the full agreements, in particular the land project. The land project goal is said to be to develop a land bank to provide information on private lands and government lands, to increase land market activity. This would mean increased land sales for large-scale economic activity, possibly to multinationals.

Changes to legislation have already been undertaken to repeal Part 4-6 of the Land reform Act No 1 of 1972 to remove foreign ownership limit of 50 acres. The difficulties of managing a internationally governed contract based on international law were highlighted by Sri Lankan experts like Dr. Kohona, the former UN Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka and former Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs at a discussion at BMICH on 9 August 2019. (Pathfinder Foundation discussion, on Separating the Baby from the Bathwater: Evaluating the Millennium Challenge Corporation-Sri Lanka Compact”). 

These uncertainties have created more queries than solutions. Thus far the govt. has not taken any steps to resolve these queries, at least to the parliament let alone to the public. To say the least it is unethical to sign an agreement with so much of discordance.

It should be noted that Sri Lankans could be different to other MCC partners, who were mainly African countries. Sri Lankans are astute enough to understand that there is nothing called a free lunch’. The USD$480 million grant is not a free gift. It is a payment for MCC projects and it is important that these projects are acceptable to Sri Lankan people and not only to a Cabinet of Ministers, who is currently struggling to manage the current economy. A grant at this stage can be a windfall to patch up the economy until the next parliamentary election, which a few months away. There is also an election for the President within a few days. It is important the new President is given a chance to review the contracts in detail before a commitment is made. I am confident the Embassy would understand the current Sri Lankan situation and take appropriate action in the interest of both our countries.

Janaki Chandraratna

6 Responses to “MCC Agreements”

  1. Hiranthe Says:

    well said!!

    this rogue agreement must be ditched completely.

    $480m is nothing. with this sort of money only a multi storey tower building can be constructed. In 1994 World Trade Center was constructed for $160m approximately. In the current market, it would cost $500m.

    US must have spent over $300m already by paying to the Yahapalana team. The so called grant of $480m is paid portion by portion with the progress of the project. Yahap team are not looking for looting that money… they have already got the pay back from the MCC promotional budget.

  2. aloy Says:

    Mangala, RW and the lot are under the delusion that if they signed the thing US forces would land here and fight with the locals and keep them as rulers together with the minorities who are with them. US forces do not have an appetite to engage in a fight here, and if they did, they would have saved their pet, the Sun God in 2009. The most they would do is transport these miserable people to a ship anchored somewhere in the Indian ocean.

    But looking at the way some of our fools get on stage with Wahabi leaders who managed to bomb churches killing hundreds of Christians and Mangala who co-sponsored resolution against the very armed forces that saved the country and draw cheers anybody will get ideas and think our fellows are a set of buffaloes and anything can be done here. Perhaps this is the reason they have lumped us with some third world countries like Somalia and most likely gave the same agreement to sign.

    These people should be given the punishment that people will not forget for a long time to come. As for any agreement with GOSL let it be on equal terms without impinging on our sovereignty and dignity negotiated with the elected rulers.

  3. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    This is to get all valuable mineral deposits on the cheap. What’s more it covers most of our priceless historic assets
    like Sigiriya, Anuradhapura etc. etc. plus Trinco harbour. These traitor yama pallan obviously in a hurry to bank the
    cheque and divert most of it to thieves’ pockets in the dying days of yamapaalanaya. The traitor, murderous
    (Sinhalese Buddhists only), lying thieves know they have to find enough money to live in absolute comfort in the
    next five years. Then come back with a brand new set of lies and Sinhala modayas going to believe them without
    batting an eye lid. GooandPee (kakka and chu party) supporters have very few brain cells on top of their shoulders.
    Yesterday one young water buffalo from Kandy said this government destroyed the country during the last 5 years
    and because of that he is going to vote for Buuru puthano. No wonder the water buffalo supports these thieves.

    Agree with Aloy, GooandPee traitors won’t give up easily. Anyone noticed their slogan? Protect what we won. This is
    what these murderous (Sinhalese Buddhists only) traitors planning. When election results declared (obviously
    a landslide defeat for the buuru puthano), thieves will start rioting and seek help from the US. They will
    obviously jump in with two feet at tchance. Get a few hundred of them on our soil, that’s the end of Sri Lanka, Sinhalese race and Buddhism. Remember buuru puthano is the biggest mass murderer’s son. Only Buddhists will protest since tamils and mussies support unconditionally GooandPee. Another era for Sinhalese to die terrible terrible deaths on lamp posts, tyre pyres, headless bodies in rivers, S-lon tubes up the ….. That’s GooandPee for you Sinhala modayas. Bada is more important for these GooandPee supporting Sinhala dhrohiyas.

    Under GooandPee:
    88/89 Bheeshana samaya 60,000+ Sinhalese Buddhists
    Die hard catholic token Buddhists Batalande wa(n)dakaya’s catholic tigers of tamil drealam 100,000+, mainly
    Total = 160,000+, Sinhalese Buddhists
    But GooandPee dhrohiyas talk about human rights, thajudeen, lasantha etc. etc. When you get a free packet of
    rice a shot of arrack etc. 3 > 160,000+.
    Ashamed to be a Sinhalese when you have thesebhivallun calling them to be Sinhalese. Must be the only race on
    this planet to not give a hoot about own race, the country and Buddhism (the only true religion in the world) for
    a bit of favours, in some cases Rs 1000/a packet of rice/pint size house/a job etc. etc.

  4. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    I’ve heard it’s graphine (used in Lithium-ion batteries) deposits they are after. We have the best quality stuff and
    when all the cars go electric they going to be worth billions. Recently read an article, Sri Lanka sitting on a gold
    mine. This is what the US want to get on the cheap. Billions and billions for a few millions. I’m sure traitor chief die
    hard catholic token Buddhist mega thief mega thakkadiya bay gal karaya Batalande wa(n)dakaya Pol Pot r@ni_
    leech wickrama Sinhala killer with the traitor yama palana thieves very keen to pocket these in the last few days.
    Wa(n)dakaya keeping a low profile these days. Must be planning to get the US soldiers on the ground so traitor
    yama palana thieves can carry on forever! Remember, GooandPee slogan protect what we won! (Dinuu de raka
    ganimu). Also remember GooandPee has vast experience in killing its own, mercilessly of course! GR going to win
    with a landslide. But GooandPee never going to relinquish the reins. Bloodbath? GooandPee don’t care. No UN, no AI, no nobody going to care since it’s going to be Buddhists! Remember it’s not a war crime either. It applies
    to tamils and mussies only. After all that’s what traitor alugosuwa (to Sinhalese
    Buddhists only) thambi mudiyanselage jr@, traitor alugosuwa (to Sinhalese Buddhists only) lk porisada mass
    murderer, Traitor alugosuwa (to Sinhalese Buddhists only) Batalande wa(n)dakaya Pol Pot delivered from
    1977-2005. Still there are GooandPee water buffaloes saying MR//GR murderers. Got a free packet of rice/
    a shot of arrack water buffaloes?

  5. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Click on the following links to see how GooandPee killed 160,000+ and still got away with it. Even have the
    audacity to call MR/GR murderers. Can happen only in Sri Lanka, in the Sinhala modayas (dhrohiyas) paradise.

  6. Hiranthe Says:

    Many who took it as a joke when we talked about this rogue MCC compact have now realised that there is a real danger exists to Mother Lanka if this Yamapaluwo’s signed these secret illegal agreements.

    Thanks to Ven Kashyapa and also the Tuition Master Tissa Jananayaka who took this issue seriously and acted upon it, which opened the eyes of many sleeping local helayas.

    Now it is in the public domain which is a good defence for Mother Lanka…

    Thanks to all the patriots who kept this issue alive and brought it to the surface while the Yamapalanaya and My3 were trying to hide it from the public.

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