The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has released a statement justifying their arbitrary hiring of a US lobbying firm to white-wash the image of Sri Lanka and the Rajapaksa-regime against the backdrop of soured US- Sri Lanka relations and the ongoing UNHRC investigation on Sri Lanka.
The CBSL statement was released in response to an expose that was published on the Sunday Times political column few weeks ago, on the arbitrary course of action that had been taken by the CBSL in hiring the Liberty International Group LLC at an annual fee of Rs. 99 million, in violation of accepted protocol.
It has noted that the US firm was hired in order to implement a comprehensive overseas campaign to provide an accurate account of the Sri Lankan political and economic environment to the US and to counter the ‘extraordinary and vicious campaigns carried out by sections of the Tamil Diaspora in the US against Sri Lanka’.
Justifying their actions, the CBSL had said they have noted with ‘deep concern’ the well organized campaigns carried out by the Tamil Diaspora and the local and international media to convey inaccurate stories detrimental to Sri Lanka and have stated that if they are allowed to continue they could affect the image and economy of the country, particularly the foreign investments.
“It was in that context, that the Monetary Board decided to implement a comprehensive overseas campaign to provide an accurate account of the Sri Lankan political and economic environment to US leaders, think tanks, investors, business chambers and interested citizens to keep them abreast of the true situation in the country.”
The CBSL had also justified the cost of hiring the lobbying firms pointing out that Sri Lanka economy has grown in stature and character with exports of around 11 billion USD and imports with 18 billion USD. “In that background, investing a modest sum to create awareness in the world’s largest economy would undoubtedly benefit the Sri Lankan economy,” the CBSL has said.
Although it has acted arbitrarily without any collaboration with the MEA, it has stated it believes that their efforts have complemented and supported the activities of the MEA in countering the ‘vicious campaigns’ against Sri Lanka.