23 June, 2017

GSP Plus Concession; Response To Mahinda Rajapaksa

By Mangala Samaraweera

Mangala Samaraweera

Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and his advisors, instead of working to take our country to the heights that our country could have achieved soon after the conclusion of the conflict in 2009, chose to run our country to the ground. He made our country heavily indebted on the one hand, having borrowed at exorbitantly high, commercial rates; while taking decisions that made Sri Lanka withdraw from the international stage, on the other, thus making our country and our people isolated and shunned by the world. He hides the fact that time after time, major donor countries voted against Sri Lanka at the time, in international financial institutions.

Having eventually lost an election which he himself called for, ahead of time, he appears to still not be able to come to terms with that loss. His hunger for power makes him and his advisors continue to indulge in the lies, tricks and games that were so much a part of his regime and so much a part of his personality. Just recently we saw how he lied to the people about his travel to Japan. He said that he was travelling to Japan at the invitation of the Emperor of Japan! The Embassy of Japan responded to a question from a journalist denying this. Why resort to this kind of lying to hoodwink the people, Mr. Rajapaksa? If you are in fact a follower of the teachings of Gautama Buddha as you try to show the people, isn’t it about time, at least at this stage of your life, to try to abide by even one of the five precepts, and refrain from indulging in lies.

Mr. Rajapaksa, in a statement titled Government should not create unrealistic expectations about GSP Plussays that obtaining the GSP Plus facility is trivial, since Sri Lanka is very close to passing the threshold of an upper middle income country. He conveniently hides a fundamental issue. A country has to be classified as “upper middle income” by the World Bank for three consecutive years in order to be no longer eligible for the GSP Plus. Even if Sri Lanka were to reach that threshold tomorrow, we would still have access to the advantages of GSP Plus for three years, and for one additional year after the decision is taken to withdraw the benefit. This shows that Mr. Rajapaksa is clearly trying to distort facts because he can’t acknowledge the fact that the National Unity Government has in fact managed to obtain a formidable boost to Sri Lanka’s economy, in application of Article 4(1) of the GSP Regulation of 2012, for at least four years.

This period of, at the very least four years, comes just when the European economy starts to show signals of growth recovery. With less unemployment and more consumer demand, this is the moment to join in enhanced partnership with the European Union!

But let me add a point. Mr. Rajapaksa’s reasoning that we shouldn’t aspire to a better deal, because some time in the future the economy will grow is callous and insensitive to the workers of our country and their families. It reflects a complete lack of concern for our workers who expect progress in the immediate present, and they deserve progress in the immediate present. So what if Sri Lanka, thanks to the ingenuity and hard work of its entrepreneurs and workers looks poised to cross a certain threshold of average income? Does it mean that we, as a government, should sit on our hands without giving them the opportunity for a better deal that they deserve now in the present? Shouldn’t we help them to reach our national goals sooner rather than later?

The idea that GSP Plus puts Sri Lanka “under the supervision” of the EU is simply absurd. By committing to a number of universal human rights principles, we do nothing that was not already recommended by Sri Lankan people who came before the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to give their input and views. Protecting every citizen from torture is not an alien imposition. It is a sovereign decision from a humanistic nation, towards its own citizens, inspired by the most sacred human values and principles. How ironic that Mr. Rajapaksa who claims to be not just a follower but a guardian of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, does not advocate granting the very basic human rights principles and rights and freedoms to the citizens of this country! Don’t our citizens deserve the highest standards of protection? Don’t our citizens deserve the highest standards of human rights and freedoms?

It was incompetence and arrogance of Mr. Rajapaksa and his advisors, and their determination to deny the people of this country their rights that resulted in Mr. Rajapaksa failing to retain the GSP Plus facility. It was ill-advised to not implement the 2011 recommendations of the LLRC, a Commission which he himself appointed, to protect citizens from torture, criminalize disappearances, and fully investigate cases of human rights violations. In fact it was an injustice caused to the law abiding soldiers of this country as well. Having failed himself, and the people of our country, now in 2017, it is simply invidious to criticize a successful measure that the Government seeks to implement for the benefit of the people of our country.

We know very well how Mr. Rajapaksa and his advisors tried until the last minute to retain the GSP Plus facility in 2010, and lost. Licking their wounds, they then sought to lie to the people by saying that he decided to not pursue the facility, to avoid damage to the country’s political, legal and institutional framework. He probably still can’t get over those lies. So he keeps repeating them in different formulations and words even seven years later in 2017.

For this government, the GSP Plus system is a partnership that helps our nation and our people regain their due place once again on the international stage as a respected nation and a respected people standing shoulder to shoulder with the international community, shedding the pariah tatters that the former government chose to put on our nation and our people. Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan people deserve the best in the world. Sri Lanka is a proud nation and the Sri Lankan people are a proud people with the self-confidence to speak and act as equals with every country or group of countries in the world. We don’t need to hide from global dialogue in order to feel better. On the contrary, we feel stronger when our laws reflect the best of global humanism, when our citizens benefit from the best law enforcement, when our workers and entrepreneurs see the ports of the world open to the fruit of their efforts.

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Latest comments

  • 3
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    I am reminded of what the former Central Bank Governor Cabral said when we lost GSP that ‘it does not matter and we can make it by improving productivity.’ Anyway we lost our market to Bangaladesh.

    • 7
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      market to bangladesh is manipulated by the world’s biggest buyers- the american jews. what is more important is Ravi K says that Lanka lost $10 billion exports last year and he is dreaming of adding $30 billion – like the bond scam i suppose so.
      these 2 buggers are not fit for purpose but pocketing the money.

    • 3
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      No country can be developed sticking to these discounts,
      We need to be able to trade without them!
      Anyway, more rights citizens get, better!
      Sad we have to lick the back of EU to get human rights in SL.

  • 9
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    Hope Mangala can find 18 B USD stolen by MR and team, this guy don’t even know how big is 18 Billion , so good luck to sri lanka, e will ruin the rest by few years under Yahapalanaya dumb team

  • 4
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    MaRa, the most notorious Tsunami Hora and known Rapist has nothing to say about GSP Plus. Look at what most disgusting leader in our history did to Sri Lanka. Here is brief snapshot of MaRa’s despicable record during his 10 year reign of terror and corruption:

    1. Soliciting sex from girls of the families that lost their loved ones due to Premadasa Terror campaign in exchange of your service as a human rights lawyer in 1980s

    2. Raping girls in villages from down south on the promise of jobs

    3. Stealing $800 million of Tsunami funds through fake NGO called Helping Hambantota set up with assistance from Willie Gamage and depriving poor families of their right to rebuild their lives devastated by Tsunami

    4. Taking 19 billion US dollars as commissions from Chinese government corporations through white elephant useless development projects such as Hambantota Harbour, Airport, and southern expressway

    5. Putting Sri Lanka economy into an endless misery by taking high interest loans from China and pocketing in 40% of that money

    6. Nurturing an unprecedented culture of corruption and political victimization with immunity

    7. Killing and attacking journalists, judges, innocent civilians for 10 years

    8. Appointing an uneducated GoTa as defence head and stealing the credit of ending the 30 year war from SF, the true hero who led the final war against LTTE

    9. Making a synthetic lawyer of an idiotic son who couldn’t even pass his GCE (OL)

    10. Killing the most famous rugby player on behalf of another moron son

    • 1
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      Pls find Thajudeen’s body and can make soup of bones drink as much you wants

    • 0
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      My sympathies to your sister. Hope the baby is doing well.

  • 8
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    “”He hides the fact that time after time, major donor countries voted against Sri Lanka at the time, in international financial institutions.”” The classic Soho Vadura with a baseball bat now Begging into the Future for the future to pay back; from all and sundry- only LGBT stoop to those levels stupid patchwork culture patchwork faith.

  • 4
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    The LLRC was used as a tool by the MR government to avoid investigation of war crimes by international bodies and the UN.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lessons_Learnt_and_Reconciliation_Commission

    The present regime is not better in this respect, after the MR regime having introduced a motion along with USA, in 2015 at the UNHRC, and now the MS regime trying to wriggle out of the requirement to implement it.

    The latest human rights violation in the north reported is the ongoing denial by the navy for citizens to return to their homes in Iranaitivu after their eviction – by the navy – in 1992.

  • 3
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    This is Sri lankan politics. Always bash the former leader. Go overseas and say, since 1948 we politicians screwed up the country. Once inside the parliament blame everything on the previous govt. No results for this govt except all screwed ups. Stupid voters never stop voting in these elections or these people.

  • 1
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    MR did claim that “……he was travelling to Japan at the invitation of the Emperor of Japan! The Embassy of Japan responded to a question from a journalist denying this”. Lankan expats in Japan are his strong supporters. The leader there (who ever it is) invited him. MR just used the word Emperor in a poetic sense. As credible as the “Best Asian FM” awarded by an obscure magazine!

  • 0
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    MR claims “…….that obtaining the GSP Plus facility is trivial, since Sri Lanka is very close to passing the threshold of an upper middle income country….”. This based on cooked up averages. The gap between the poor and the nueva filthy rich is widening. Can a typical Lankan even think of a Colombo apartment? Why do they have to slave in MidEast? By the way Mangala does not and will not challenge this “move into upper middle class” myth.

  • 3
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    Hmmmmm……Dr Ranil said we can now export 6000 items…. After his buddy Mangalan licked the back sides of the EU dudes….. And called the War winning Soldiers Meeharakas……. Our exports were down 8 % since….Dr Ranil’s other mate Singapore Mahendran robbed LKR 9 Billion from the inhabitants’ EPF……. And turned it into a LKR 11 Billion profit for his Son in Laws Family Trust , PT…..Poor Galleon got the ass for the robbery , although Mahendran openly said that it was Dr Ranil who gave him the instructions to rob the bank , not directly of course… .. And Dr Ranil’s boy Malik drank Champers after the bids were opened… Poor Galleon must be so depressed and pissed off . for making him look like Hora (rogue) and Mangalan and Dr Ranil coming out as the White Lillies………

    • 0
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      It was Ranil who conspired behind the scenes for the withdrawal of GSP. That was thhe first plug to be pulled out in the regime change agenda. He was busy running in and out of the country those days.. The leader of opposition who openly wished and prayed for the defeat of the armed forces of his own country and the only prime minister who sponsored actions against his own country by the International community –Soma

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