19 October, 2021

Blog

Colombo Port City Economic Commission Violates Basic Structure Of Sri Lankan Constitution: LfD

While we accept the fact that countries like ours need foreign investments and it is necessary to offer incentives to attract foreign investments the bill presented to Parliament titled “Colombo Port City Economic Commission” violates the basic structure of our constitution.

Foreign Investments has to be welcomed but not at the expense of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and the basic structure of the constitution.

The provisions of the bill if adopted will not only make the slogan “one law, one country” a farce but will create an independent entity with rule making (legislative) powers and executive powers independent of any parliamentary oversight. As specifically laid down in the bill, the Port City Economic Commission will not be subject to the supervisory power of any of the oversight committees of Parliament such as the Public Accounts Committee, Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE). It violates the most important power of parliament over finances. The commission will be independent of the scrutiny by the Auditor General. Therefore in fact when these provisions are read with section 52 and 53 if the bill which exempts all laws on taxation and financial control from its application to the Port City it will be an entity with full financial and administrative control over the Port City. Section 73 lists very important laws of the country regarding management, control and planning of our country which will have no force of law within the Port City. 

The provisions of the bill makes it clear that the powers by the commission will seep into remaining areas of our country by the provisions in the bill that when any of the business authorities recognized by the commission enters into agreements with entities outside the Port City these safe guards vested on these authorities will be applicable to these entities as well. Which in fact will mean that the commission can virtually control many areas even outside the Port City. 

It is specifically laid down that labour laws of our country will not apply to those employees within the Port City. Even the Public Service Commission will not have any hold on public servants even if they are employed within the Port City. 

It is clear that the provisions of the bill violates Articles 3 and 4 of the constitution and has to be passed by a 2/3 majority of Parliament.

We are strongly of the view that this bill cannot be passed even with a 2/3 majority as it is against the basic structure of the constitution. As it is our view that even with a 2/3 majority Parliament cannot legislate to renounce the power of Parliament over a part of the country. 

Lal Wijenayake

Convener – Lawyers for Democracy

‘Lawyers for Democracy (LfD) is a representative body of legal practitioners throughout the island.  Conveners include Lal Wijenayake, Chandrapala Kumarage, J. C. Weliamuna, K. S. Ratnavale, Sudath Netthisinghe, Sudarshana Gunawardana. It was established on 10th December 2009’.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 12
    1

    To understand learn about off shore shell company (wiki) to realize the magnitude of this issue. A company which just exist only on paper ,has no office or employees, created and registered to hide the identities of their owners, may have bank accounts or passive investments which in turn will bring hundreds of other such companies/business under its umbrella ,to avoid taxes, tax evasion or money laundering. This is used not just by businesses but by private entities to park unaccounted money away from authorities. This money can be from drug trade, mafia or can be used for illegal financing such as terrorism.

    • 0
      0

      Sovereignty is unbelievably compromised; and why would a modern nation like Sri Lanka will succumb like a third grade nation to the 21st Century colonialists and become a hot potato nation in the vicinity.
      .
      Even strong nationalists, it appears, have a price tag to compromise their nation beyond mortgaging it. The neo-colonialist must be taken to the Hague.

  • 6
    4

    I leave it to the competent court to make required legal analysis and decide on the constitutionality of the Bill. But I am amazed reading the contents of the final and penultimate paragraphs of the article and that coming from a group of attorneys. Anyone with an iota of legal knowledge knows that a normal law, or that matter a constitutional amendment in violation of articles 3 and 4 not only requires a two thirds majority in parliament but an approval of the people as well in a referendum. Hence, the statements seem to be written by an amateur on behalf of the group. Excepting the lamp-pot referendum, no political party wanted a referendum on a controversial bill for the fear of losing. In view of a large amount of controversial and questionable activities it is high time that referendum is held on some issue like this to see the pulse of the people. Therefore, it is my fervent hope that a referendum is conducted on this bill.

    • 6
      0

      Good Sense,
      You are correct.
      Lal Wijenayake
      Convener – Lawyers for Democracy,
      Please read the above comment made by Good Sense.

      He seems to have made a valid point.

      The correct constitutional position is not correctly reflected in the article.

    • 5
      0

      Dear Good Sense
      You say:
      ……….a normal law, or that matter a constitutional amendment in violation of articles 3 and 4 NOT ONLY requires a two thirds majority in parliament but an approval of the people as well in a referendum……….
      The LfD statement says finally,
      ……….We are strongly of the view that this bill CANNOT BE PASSED EVEN with a 2/3 majority as it is against the basic structure of the constitution. As it is our view that EVEN WITH a 2/3 majority Parliament CANNOT LEGISLATE to renounce the power of Parliament over a part of the country…….
      THIS implies a referendum but says EVEN parliament cannot pass this and renounce its own power.
      So the same idea in both cases.

    • 2
      1

      “Excepting the lamp-pot referendum, no political party wanted a referendum on a controversial bill for the fear of losing.”
      *
      The lamp-pot referendum was held in the wake of JRJ’s convincing presidential victory with the SLFP still handicapped by the disenfranchisement of its leader and her advisor. The main opposition party too was afraid of the polls. The reluctance of the TULF to reject the amendment was all too transparent, and they were pushed into opposing it (even half heartedy) by the courageous stand of Saturday Review and its editor Gamini Navaratne.
      *
      The parliament itself extending its life had a precedent in 1972, but by a whole term was a little over the top. So there was a referendum.

  • 9
    3

    Off shore shell company is just a simple example of a mega scheme. There is much more, China usually make use of such companies (in Panama, Virgin island, Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman) to bypass U.S sanctions. For example they can register it under a Lankan firm and continue business (import/export not just within Lanka but other countries) until exposed. Lanka cannot getaway by the excuse of not having any jurisdiction. Worse if money is used for nefarious activities such as drugs, terrorism or interference for which we will be answerable.

    • 8
      5

      I scanned Google for China/Chinese using offshore shell companies, and got results, not very different from that for corrupt capitalists and thieving officials doing such things.
      I scanned Google for China/Chinese doing it in Panama, Virgin island, Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman to bypass U.S sanctions to find that it was a unique find attributed to Colombo Telegraph alone.
      A great scoop I guess.

  • 8
    3

    Rajapaksas planned very well after 2015 defeat of election. They wanted to make use of all the opportunities as they did since 2005 to 2009. In 2010, it became clear that their interest was not the people or country or sovereignty but the goal was to create a kingdom Rajapaksa family. 18th amendment in 2010 clearly proved that intention. China understood their intention and came forward to help them with money for land and investment. They must have made secret arrangements with China However, in 2015, people realised his intention and took him out of the power in 2015. But their intention and goal remained active. Bond scam and power struggle between Ranil and Sirisena made them easy to come back again to power in 2019. They brought back a strong and violent character in their family to lead the plot and it is suspected now that Easter Bombing have a major influence in his election results. Further, as planned they got two third majority to take the full power to control everything. With this Colombo port project both China and Rajapaksa family want to achieve their goals. If they are success, no more parliament, No more Buddhism, No more Sri Lanka.

    • 0
      0

      A garland intended to Buddha, now in a monkey’s hand.

  • 8
    1

    Every one know that parts of the Port City Bill violates the constitution. Since the bill has been presented with the blessing of Gotabaya, Mahinda, Basil, Namal and the SLPP slave MPs there is nothing that can be done. Only way forwards is for the Supreme Court to give the judgement that 2/3 majority is needed in the Parliament followed by a referendum.

  • 7
    2

    Only a fool invests in SL. Just look at Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s rating, Moody’s Investors Service, etc……….Worthless. Who will invest in this hell. If that is not enough USA has imposed sanctions on the Chinese company that made the Port City! Which company will be bold enough to confront USA?

    Simply put it Port City is a failure. Rajapaksas are building a Chinese military bases, listening stations and military installations in Port City.

    Rajapaksas already sent 102 metric tons of cash (SL rupees) to Uganda in 3 charter flights. Central bank and money printing facility in Biyagama were printing these. In Uganda they plan to give it to various black markets and convert it to dollars and take to USA. Fools think it will not affect exchange rate because it is done in Uganda!!!

    • 4
      8

      GATAM idiot is your child a failure before he is born or at 1 year old.?

    • 2
      8

      GATAM,
      “Rajapaksas already sent 102 metric tons of cash (SL rupees) to Uganda in 3 charter flights.”
      —-
      Is this another one like lamborghini, golden horses and Mangala’s 18B US $ account?
      Next Presidential election will be in 2024. Too early to spread ‘Regime Change’ lies. Sinhala voters who have a short memory will not remember lies told in 2021.

      • 4
        0

        Eagle Eye
        Nope, it is not another Lamborghini.
        It is true.
        If they were not not currency notes, why did the airline keep it a secret?
        And, what else do you think could weigh over 102 metric tons? Newspapers?

    • 0
      0

      GATAM
      If what you say involving the black market is true, then it is money laundering.
      The three mysterious Sri Lankan Charter Flights which went to Uganda have transported Nile Perch Fish Maws (a very expensive seafood delicacy) to China or Hong Kong on their way back.
      One kilo of fish maw is sold for about US$ 3000. A Nile Perch can even grow upto 90 kilos!
      Why did the Rajapaksas keep this a mystery is a million dollar question.
      I am not surprised if the Rajapaksas are engaged in another shady deal.

  • 3
    2

    look at the photo of the port city , the end product, at the moment its a bare land.
    With all the controversy over sovereignty and the regulatory commission there is bad publicity already in the international arena.
    Most international financial institutions and international investors may stay away
    is it going to be another white elephant and become a fishing village?
    only employees of the port city may turn out to be sons of the elites such as Cabraal’s son doing fly fishing?

    • 2
      11

      Rajash,
      Demala fishermen in Yapanaya will be happy if it becomes a fishing village so that they can come to Colombo and do fishing. Douglas Devananda has decided to give licenses to Indian fishermen to do fishing in Sri Lankan waters in the North. So, Demala fishermen in the North have no chance because SL Navy cannot chase or arrest Indian fishermen as they do now.

      “… is it going to be another white elephant and become a fishing village?”

      • 1
        1

        Eagle Eye: Douglas Devananda has decided to give licenses to Indian fishermen to do fishing in Sri Lankan waters in the North
        =======
        Indians Fishing in the North
        Chinese Fishing in the South
        US wants to fish in Trincomalee
        there is no place for Sri Lankans to fish
        Aiyo sali

      • 1
        1

        Eagle ‘ding dong’ Eye, Demalu can fish in your head. Dimwit!!!!

    • 6
      3

      Hi there, currently there is one country one law one constipation, so sorry constitution ,one party , one government called RAJAPAKSAS. To Hitler ( I didn’t say 7 million or so asked for it ) none of the above said things mattered?? Do any believe Hitler required referendum , constitutional amendment or bar council approval to go to war or run gas chambers . Give us a break .

    • 3
      3

      R
      Based on claims here that it is entirely China’s property, it will at most be China’s fishing village.
      Is not that something for China-bashers to celebrate?
      Cheer up.

  • 5
    3

    Hi there, currently there is one country one law one constipation, so sorry constitution ,one party , one government called RAJAPAKSAS. To Hitler ( I didn’t say 7 million or so asked for it ) none of the above said things mattered?? Do any believe Hitler required referendum , constitutional amendment or bar council approval to go to war or run gas chambers . Give us a break .

  • 4
    1

    SJ, you are such genius , were you scanning and looking for a company with Chinese Name ?? Einstein, a off shore Chinese company will not have any thing to identify with China because they are registered under a local name or foreign but not China. Off shore shell companies are usually detected by high index of suspicion, year long monitoring of activities, unusual finance / business activities or by tracing leads from else where which leads to off shore location. If you are capable of sitting in Jaffna and detect such sophisticated activities by simple google search, many may consider hiring your services for just a few thousands of LKR instead of spending Billion $. Not all off shore shell companies are illegal. Some are maintained for less taxation or benefits provided by host country or to make use the loop hole in tax system which are acceptable. You the genius to have scanned google and found Chinese off shore shell companies which avoid U.S sanctions. It is like burglar, who advertise his skills (to get into google search) before he breaks into a bank.

    • 0
      0

      Have you worked out how China is operating in Panama, Virgin island, Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman to bypass U.S sanctions?
      Sleep over it.

  • 1
    0

    The current regime’s aspirations of emulating the glamour of a glitzy Dubai metropolis could be the biggest folly in the history of SL & probably the straw that broke the camel’s back. Dubai’s opulent leisure centre built on reclaimed land is not a success with many islet yet to be occupied & some even sinking back into the sea. The fact that the Port City being a territory of its own & not under SL judiciary (nor international law), is likely to attract drug barons & the Eastern Mafia, not main stream investors who would be more concerned with SL’s reputation for corruption & poor international financial ratings before even considering the feasibility.

    In the 18th century, the British govt. encouraged pirates to plunder Spanish, French, Dutch & Portuguese ships to gain superiority in the seas, & in return, were allowed a safe haven in Jamaica which became a lawless territory of debauchery & vice. The port city could end up the same with the invisible hand of China calling the shots, who, in fact, will be the ultimate beneficiary as it would be a base for its clandestine international operations.

  • 0
    4

    “The fact that the Port City being a territory of its own & not under SL judiciary (nor international law)”
    Has it become such an entity yet?
    All FTZs (or IPZs) here have been operating tax free and are not bound by the country’s labour laws. Tradfe Unions are taboo.
    Nobody objecting now had objected then.
    The China bogeyman is just a scare story, whereas the real issues are far more serious. Cannot we discuss the real issues?

  • 2
    1

    SJ, professor know it all, how much stupid a person can get to ?? You said you did google search to find the Chinese companies who are bypassing U.S sanction because Chinese will let U.S know in advance about it
    Then elsewhere you said millions of people who died of Covid are 70 or above old with underlying medical problems. I guess you got that from Google search too. You should also search Google to know the time, place and person, A simple test usually performed to know whether person is in touch with reality.

  • 2
    1

    Hello there Dr. SJ, I saw you playing doctor role and advising the naive not to worry, not to take vaccine unless a person is 70 years old and that too having severe/multiple underlying medical issues, otherwise your recommendations are vaccines are for 80 years and above. Native says most Lankans carry title of Professor/Doctor, so I guess it’s ok for you to have that title, if that is what you need to boost your sagging self esteem. I just met a 25 year old doctor wife of our colleague who is now 5 months pregnant and has Covid, who may undergo termination today after they check for viability of fetus. I wonder why people don’t dare playing such roles in other profession (pilot/lawyer/dentist) after getting trained by Dr’s google/YT/FB/twitter.Any way, as a Black and anti U.S activist, are you celebrating yesterday’s court verdict ??? which Bidden/Harris team thought was a turning point in Racial Injustice. Also DOJ has opened a extensive inquiry on Minneapolis Police Force to see their current practices in confronting minority.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.