24 March, 2019

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Sovereignty And The Port City

By Ranil Senanayake

Ranil Senanayake

Ranil Senanayake

Throughout the world, the owning or holding of and that belongs to another sovereign nation, termed “territories held” have recently been largely returned. The Panama Canal was returned to Panama in January 2000, Hong Kong was returned to China by the United Kingdom in 1997, and Portugal returned Macau Island to China in 1999. The notable global exception has been the US base in Cuba. This history is interesting, as it will certainly have a bearing on the historical events that we are attempting to set in motion.

In 1903 after the turbulent period following the wars of independence, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an agreement with Cuba’s new government, leasing Guantanamo bay for 2,000 gold coins per year. History notes that the agreement was forced on the new Cuban government to give the U.S. navy permission to occupy the bay. As Cuba attained more independence and the Platt Amendment was annulled a new lease was negotiated between the Roosevelt administration and a Cuban government that included Fulgencio Batista as one of three signatories. When the Revolution triumphed in 1959, the new Cuban government requested that Guantánamo be returned to Cuba. Instead of returning it, the U.S. banned its soldiers stationed at the bay from entering Cuban territory. After this the Guantánamo base became a constant source of friction between the two nations. Ever since, Cuba’s call for the return of the area that the United States occupies is based on the principle of sovereignty,”

Port CitySovereignty means supreme power or authority. When used as national sovereignty the authority of a state to govern itself or another state. Normally, it is granted to foreign diplomatic missions and local laws are not implemented on these lands; as seen in the case of Julian Assange, sheltering from the British police, in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The question that should concern us is: Will giving outright ownership of our land to non-diplomatic entities, dilute our authority to enforce the laws of the land within such lands? It is in this context that the agreements entered to by our Government and foreign Companies should be looked at. A deal as important as this should not have be left to a few bureaucrats, politicians and businessmen to decide, it should have been put before the people. Who will define the limits of our sovereignty over the new landfill? Those drooling over the possibility of making a quick buck should slow down and think.

If we are being threatened with all sorts of economic repercussions at this early stage of the relationship, what sorts of pressures will the future have to deal with? If we do not see the writing on the wall, as seen from the current reactions, which do not consider the health and well being of the natives (us) as important at all and focus only the business side of the equation, is the cost to us not obvious?

Let us examine at arguments for continuing with the project. The China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) might sue us, yes they might, but the knife cuts both ways. If they have transgressed the laws of the land and/or if we can establish damage to our environment as a consequence of their actions, they could be sued back as damage wrought to Sri Lanka by a private entity.

A fear has been expressed that “There is hardly anything that powerful countries do not do to safeguard their interests, economic or otherwise”. If this fear comes true, what must be thought of the people that placed this nation in such a precarious position? They will be similar to those who facilitated the loss of our independence in 1815. Since then, it was safeguards of the economic interests of another nation that was paramount, until we achieved independence. Are we fearful that the pattern be could be repeated?

Once this nation was proudly non-aligned. We were friendly with everyone. We believed in equanimity so much that when China was unfairly excluded from the global economic order for their political beliefs, we stepped out of line and offered to barter for our mutual needs. Out of that came the famous Rice-Rubber pact. Can we not act in the defense of our resources, our health and well being, our capacity for wealth creation, independent of partiality not subject to global political groupings?

In the light of the current state of confusion it would be very good for the legal profession to test what the law says about ‘Sovereignty’. A judicial definition will facilitate the current discussion on the Port City.

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Latest comments

  • 13
    1

    Of how things will turn out specially dealing with the Chinese Govt. is visible on
    the two occasions when the Sri Lankan Flag was prohibited – the opening of the
    Katunayake Highway and recently on 4th Feby. at Port City work site?? The Regime could
    do nothing as it is obliged to obey Orders from China!

    • 2
      1

      More than half of Hokaido Island (Japan) has been bought by Chinese. Fairly big percentage of Australian mines industry is own by Chinese, most houses sold in Melbourne city are being bought by Chinese, house market is sky-rocketed. Australia cannot survive without this Chinese money, Gov is trying to put some controls but they can’t restrict it. Vancouver city in Canada is called Hongcouver because of huge Hong Kong ownerships of properties.. Even West cannot say NO to Chinese money, because they need that Chinese money earned from West to invest back in West. These are very complicated issues.. Most of examples author put here are not relevant in present time.

  • 7
    0

    The difficulty is that the contract would provide for arbitration overseas. As is well known, in such cases, Sri Lanka has generally lost. The obvious examples are the Ceylon Petroleum cases which went to arbitration. Sri Lanka lost badly. Sovereignty does not provide good arguments when the government disregards the public interest and signs contracts with foreigners. Rajapakse acted unwisely in giving away such sovereignty to the Chinese. We have to wait and watch what happens. So far, Chinese have not sued in such circumstances, Let us hope they let SL off the hook. But, they will get something else in exchange.

    • 6
      0

      Ponkoh Sivakumaran

      “Sri Lanka lost badly. Sovereignty does not provide good arguments when the government disregards the public interest and signs contracts with foreigners.”

      This is called the Agency Agreement. Former Sri Lanka State and the New Sri Lanka State are the Same. The old agent was Mahinda Rajapaksa, and the New Agent, the present regime.

      It will be subject to contract law, and what the contract stipulates for to the parties.

      • 0
        0

        The question is where would they sue. It will not be before the courts in SL. If they sue before foreign tribunals, the government will have to pay hefty damages. It is not just Rajapakse but all governments in SL have sold the farm to foreigners while bullshitting about nationalism to the people.

  • 6
    11

    I think we are fighting a lost cause. China will eventually prevail. Why not just let them get along with the project. It is good if the Chinese own a piece of Sri Lanka. This will counter India.

    • 3
      1

      malini

      “It is good if the Chinese own a piece of Sri Lanka. This will counter India.”

      What a brilliant idea.

      Why don’t you also invite, USA, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada …… give them Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, ………… Kiribati to counter China.

      You can also consider inviting Russia, Iran, Libya, …… to counter USA, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada….. .

  • 8
    10

    I do not know whether the author has heard the idiom “Beggars can’t be choosers!”. From where does he propose we find 1.5 billion dollars for a project like this when we already owe the world many times over? From the West? Hell even they get their money from China these days. From India? India rejected financing both Hambantota and Colombo South Port projects to cull future competition for its Vizhinjam and other ports being built in Kerala.

    The same author once argued on GV that southern expressway should not have been built. Instead he wanted high speed railways. If so why then all countries just develop high speed railways instead of highways? Highways are not for people to enjoy high speed drives around the country but to support development. Without highways, railways, ports, power and other infrastructure there will be no development. We will forever be a nation with a few government universities producing mostly unemployable graduates with shabby healthcare facilities struggling to manage even primary care.

    Those who are calling Hambantota port a white elephant are the same people who said we would not have enough water to fill Mahaveli reservoirs when they were first built. If people like this author had their way at the time most parts of the country would still be living under kerosene lamps.

    Rolling back development projects to placate India and the West will be the end of Ranil and Sirisena.

    Of course them being weak leaders what else can we expect from them? For instance Sirisena got most of his votes from the N & E. He got the votes in the N/E to kick out Mahinda and already he is being labeled as a war criminal by the very same people. Sirisena did not have a majority in the South. He is a president not wanted in both the North and South. Even today elsewhere in CT we see how Sirisena has to ask CBK whether or not he should prune his own powers! He is a Manchurian candidate of sorts. Mahinda had his share of faults that contributed to his defeat but he was no sissy like this. A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. — MLK.

    • 5
      2

      Navin

      Its you again

      If you bring back all the kick backs that clan received from various projects and start up businesses, we should not only be able to pay back all the loans but initiate new projects.

      You blindly supported the clan all because MR, Gota, …. killed innocent Tamils. The clan was hiding in nationalism, patriotism, etc to conceal its own crimes.

      Please revisit all your old comments.

    • 3
      1

      Navin,
      I agree with you. I just want to clarify that the $1.5 billion is just the initial investment by the chinese only to establish the landfill, water supply, electricity supply and other basic infrastructure.The total investment when all infrastructure is built on the landfill such as shopping malls,cinemas, housing, appartments,banks, leisure projects and public transportation is a whopping $ 15 billion.
      Apart from the chinese investment, the balance $ 13.5 billion will be invested by international conglomerates from U.S., European union, Netherlands, and Austria.
      What is happening right now is just absolute bowing down to Indian government’s unwarranted concerns on security. Just to put things in perspective, when Chinese President visited Sri Lanka, he came with a total investment package of $ 9 billion. Right after the Sri Lankan visit, the Chinese President visited India and he went there with a total investment package of $ 95 billion. The Indians accepted that investment with open arms. If China is such a threat to India, then why accept their money?Why is India giving them contracts to build highways, monorail transport and so on. We need to question our leaders as to why it’s fine when India does business with China and why it’s unacceptable for Sri Lanka to do the same.

  • 9
    1

    There are 900+ Guantanamos in 130 countries around the world, occupied by the US. The soldiers in these ‘bases’ are not subject to local laws whatever the crime they may commit on these lands, and what’s more the Japanese government is faced with the ignominy of paying half the costs of being occupied by this foreign power which almost never leaves once it’s arrived. The US has weasled it’s way back into the giant bases it was forced to close once by the ‘necessity’ to protect the Philippines from Chinese ‘expansionism’. In Iraq a different method was used.

  • 4
    1

    Ranil Senanayake

    Sovereignty And The Port City:

    I have stated many time that Sri Lankas Sovereignty is limited to Indias Security. Just take Trinco Harbour for example and why do you think it has idled for 67 years. It is one of the natural harbours in the World and Americans wanted to use the facility for their Naval Fleet in the Indian Ocean but India wouldnt allow it. If Sri Lanka had leased it to USA it would have earned her billions.
    But through corruption and as a Trump card against India Mahintha in a momment of madness decided to grant a Lease to China.
    Little did he realise that this would threaten India and guess what the with Tank Factory is in Avadi Tamilnadu and the Aeronautics is Bangalore India was bound to flex its muscles and she has.
    By adverse posession China would have got a foothold in Sri Lanka to threaten Indias Security and that is why MR was ousted.
    Modi met MR alone for 15 Minutes ( No Tea and No Vadai or Mothagam) to be delivered the meassage. ” Sorry mate we cant have it”. It is time for you to leave and shown the door after 15 minutes for the very last time.

  • 1
    1

    If the dragon could hoist their flag on a mere high-way donated by them, then, the ‘Port City ‘would be Chin-Lanka and not Sri Lanka’s, where the city is concerned. The state must safeguard that the City would not become like the story of the Arab and the Camel, where the camel was allowed to shelter its head in the tent, and subsequently the Arab was dislodged and the tent solely occupied by the Camel! What a life!

  • 3
    2

    I must say that it’s quite hilarious to see Eelam sympathizers and supporters commenting on ‘sovereignty’. When did they ever wish Sri Lanka well on anything?

    On the topic of sovereignty over this Port City, my understanding is that:
    1) All foreigners employed in the Port City would be required to obtain the necessary Sri Lankan visas in order to reside/ work at the Port City.
    2) The Port City in it’s entirety will be Sri Lankan territory.
    3)All foreigners visiting the Port City would be required to enter through established Sri Lankan ports of entry such as airports or shipping ports.
    4) The Sri Lankan Navy will protect the maritime waters adjoining/ surrounding the port city. Those waters will be sovereign Sri Lankan maritime waters.
    5) Any vessels entering the Port City would be required to obtain permission from Sri Lankan authorities.
    6)The Port City will operate under Sri Lankan Law.
    7) The Port City will not be a separate land entity but rather an expansion of Sri lankan territory.
    8)The Sri Lankan Police, and if required, other auxilliary authorities will be responsible for maintaining law and order within the Port City.
    9) The main currency of transaction will be the Sri Lankan Rupee. But, other currencies will also be accepeted.
    10) The supply of utilities such as water & electricity and services such as garbage disposal will be the responsibilty of relavent Sri Lankan authorities. Those authorities will also be responsible for billing the Port City consumers similar to other parts of the city.

    I must also state that considering our own strategic interests and security, it does not seem to be a bad idea to involve the chinese and make them a small stake holder. As we all know, India’s attitude towards Sri lanka in the past as well as present has been pretty pathetic. India does not seem to respect our sovereignty and permits Indian fishermen to cross our maritime boundaries at will and loot our marine resources. Thanks to our lack of strategic thinking, India has established for themselves a multi million dollar fishing industry while our own fishermen can barely make a living.At the very least, one would expect India to financially compensate Sri lanka for the fish resources. We need to have a counter balance to India and China definitely fits the bill. Sri Lanka does not want to antagonize anybody, but we need to secure our right to develop this country the way we want and at our desired pace. Sri lanka suffered from 30 years of conflict and we sacrificed many lives. We also sacrificed 30 years of development and potential prosperity for our citizens. We need to catch up and we need to do it fast. We cannot afford to have India tell us who to do business with, where to do business and when to do business.

    We need to realize that India’s policies are based solely on her self interest naturally. India tends to have certain ‘mood swings’ with regards to Sri Lanka. In the past they talked about implementing the 13A in full as the solution to the north/east issue. Now, they talk about going beyond the 13A and ‘cooperative federalism’.India can afford to prescribe solutions at no cost, but it will be Sri lanka that does all the losing.

    • 1
      2

      Jazz

      “I must also state that considering our own strategic interests and security, it does not seem to be a bad idea to involve the chinese and make them a small stake holder.”

      Your strategic interest can only be served if you keep the big powers out of this island and treat your own people well.

      I know for sure China is 4500 closer and Hindia is 20 miles away from this island.

      You haven’t learnt anything from your painful history of more than 30 years. I don’t expect you to.

      • 2
        1

        Native Vedda,
        “Your strategic interest can only be served if you keep the big powers out of this island and treat your own people well”

        Please do tell how we can keep India out of this island. To be honest, China is in the picture thanks to India’s policy of interference. Yes, you are right, we do want to keep the big powers out of this island and that starts with India. Tamil people have not got a solution and will not get a solution thanks to Tamil Nadu’s policy towards Sri Lanka.

        The world is a very different place today. India cannot try their old adventures today. Today, China is a strategic partner of Sri Lanka and India knows what that means. You can suck upto India all you want, but the fact is that after India got ‘spanked’ by China in the Indo-China war, the Indians have an inferiority complex with regards to China.It’s understandable when you compare the economic development of the two countries. China is miles ahead in every economic indicator, including providing toilets for her citizens. Every once in a while when Indians get ‘cocky’, Chinese soldiers just walk across their land border into India and slap the Indian jawans. You will be surprised to know that these jawans take it and thank the chinese for it. I have seen a video of these events.

        Native Vedda, you are stuck in the Old Cold War mentality. Today, weapons technology consists of sattelite guided ICBM’s which can be launched at the push of a button with pinpoint accuracy. China most probably knows which side of the bed Modi sleeps on. So, stop bluffing about security threats posed by China in Sri Lanka.Why should the Chinese come to Sri Lanka to launch attacks on India, when they can walk across the land border?

        • 1
          1

          Jazz

          “Please do tell how we can keep India out of this island. To be honest, China is in the picture thanks to India’s policy of interference.”

          Hindians believe Sri Lanka is the Sinhala state of greater Bharat. This island is in modern terms another state of Hindia.

          Bharat has had a history of interfering in this island. In modern times Hindia took it upon itself to put down two Sinhala rebellion and one by the Tamils. Aftermath of tsunami Hindia deployed its military and naval assets to provide disaster relieve and map the seas around this island. Remember Hindia is only 20 miles away from this island, it gave you the languages, religions, art, culture, culinary skills, .. etc. If you don’t like Hindian cultural influence please renounce all that you got now. Once striped of Indian influence you feel naked without clothes.

          If you treated your own people including Sinhalese, Tamils and other minorities well there is no excuse for others to intervene. In 1980s JR was adamant that US should given a base in this island. Hindians conveniently found Tamils to fight for them. After 2005 Hindians also conveniently found Sinhala/Buddhist state to fight for them. Now Hindian emperor has recently suggested to the rulers of this island a model for resolution of the conflict, Cooperative Federalism. Had the rulers of this island been wise enough they themselves should have come up with this idea and experimented home grown Federal model. You could have saved the country from immense destruction in terms of life and resources and loss of foregone development. Hindians would not have had an excuse to intervene.

          “Tamil people have not got a solution and will not get a solution thanks to Tamil Nadu’s policy towards Sri Lanka.”

          If the Sinhala/Buddhist racists have already made up their mind not to solve the problem then you can come up with any number of issues to postpone it.

          Tamil Nadu Tamils have no power to intervene in foreign policy formulation nor its implementation. The Central government gives orders and state government obliges. If the Tamils of Tamil Nadu were so powerful they could toppled the Congress led government from power. Central government worked closely with Tamil Nadu state to completely obliterate the LTTE. In this respect Seeman, Vaiko, Karunanithy, and many others played a crucial role in misleading LTTE, an elaborate deception very well executed by the so called supporters of the LTTE. If indeed the Tamil Nadu Tamils were so concerned about their brethren across the strait they could have sent 30 Million Tamils to cross the seas and save their brethren in this island. They didn’t.

          In fact Hindia provided funds, intelligence, helped destroy LTTE warehouse ships, cordon off arm supply reaching the shores of North, satellite intelligence, Radar, training, naval ships, helicopters, military advisers, international diplomatic and political cover, … etc from 2005 on wards.

          Remember the initiative for the division of Bangladesh from Pakistan came from central government and not from West Bangal. Had Pakistan treated their fellow Bangali speaking citizens well there would not have been an excuse for Hindians to intervene and eventual separtion.

          There are two important matters. Treat your people well and do not give Hindians the necessary excuse to intervene. Keep the USA and China at bay.

          We cannot help you with your perception and paranoia. You have to deal with them yourself.

          • 1
            1

            Native Vedda,
            “Hindians believe Sri Lanka is the Sinhala state of greater Bharat. This island is in modern terms another state of Hindia”

            Thank you for enlightening us with India’s policy towards Sri Lanka.

            “After 2005 Hindians also conveniently found Sinhala/Buddhist state to fight for them.”

            Why? What was India’s motive and how would India benefit?

            “If the Sinhala/Buddhist racists have already made up their mind not to solve the problem then you can come up with any number of issues to postpone it.”

            The sinhalese people do want to solve the problem ,but not according to Tamil Nadu’s or India’s prescription. I have clearly listed out the parameters within which the Sinhalese people would be willing to solve the national problem, in an earlier comment as per your request.

            “Now Hindian emperor has recently suggested to the rulers of this island a model for resolution of the conflict, Cooperative Federalism”

            Sri lanka is not going to be a test specimen for India or anybody else. If Modi is a believer of ‘co-operative federalism’ then he better put his money where his mouth is and try it out in Jammu & Kashmir. If it works there, then he has some legitimacy to prescribe it as a solution. If he does not have the courage to try it out in Jammu & kashmir, then he can shove his co-operative federalism where the sun doesn’t shine.

            I would also like to state that taking initiatives to divide countries is a very dangerous game in present day context. The hunter becomes the hunted.

            “Treat your people well and do not give Hindians the necessary excuse to intervene”

            My people would be those who accept Sri Lanka as their nation.Those people who want to destroy and divide Sri lanka would never be ‘my people’.

  • 1
    1

    Jazz

    “We need to realize that India’s policies are based solely on her self interest naturally.”

    So is China’s, America’s, Japan’s ……………. except Sri Lanka’s. The rulers of this island continues to service the foreigners all because they want to build an Aryan Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto in this island and has nothing to do with the people.

    • 0
      0

      Quite right Native. The Rajapakses sold your family farm ( on which we migrants from India squat) to the Chinese. They also wanted casinos built by foreigners so that the local people will commit more suicides. Chandrika sold parts of the port to foreigners. They all talk Sinhala nationalism in the same breath- a bunch of crooks.

  • 2
    0

    There is another country that needs to be returned to its original owners,Diego Garcia.
    This argument about the sea is as silly as Pa.Cha Ranawake’s argument that this deal with land will enable chinese to claim rights to the sea.No land owner who has land on the sea front has any rights to the sea. It is so for the Chinese unless the agreement says otherwise. but no one so far has claimed so.

    I find it difficult to understand Why some suffer from this Chinese phobia.
    In Bandarawel in one village alone over six hundred acres of neglected tea lands have been purchased by a few Americans. Ususally where Americans go, they make a right royal mess but here there are doing good business.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Mr Senanayake

    I am sure ,you must a decendent of from a ruling Class who had no problem,like more than 75% of us face in our struggle for feed ,clothe and Shelter and educate and get employment for our children.
    Hence, let me bring these factors to your attention ,if your have not considered them ,I do not blame you because one has to experience difficulties to understand realities.
    This small Island of us, has more than 21 million population, of which more than may be 40% are very poor .that is why large number of them go to middle is for menial jobs,very well aware they not only have to do labour work but provide additional entertainment to their masters to earn a poor salary. These are one of the main foreign exchange earners who fund to build your infrastructure so you elite can enjoy life.I do not talk about education and health because I am sure you would not have gone to public school or use govt healthcare because that is not the issue as far as elite like you are concerned.Pl do not get offended, if want you to get into our shoes and look at the problem.
    But we, down trodden have different priorities, is well aware , that this port project will have hardly any impact on sovereignty considering/comparing how indian guys now almost forcing us to give fedaralism or something more which might pave the pay without taking very long for north and east to become another country. Forget about that, How indian guys by force enter our sovereign borders and loot fishing resources while most affected are our poor brothers in the North.
    Mind you chinese might be the only guys who might come for our help for you and I to protect our sovereign boarders by giving necessary tools ,and not perhaps indians because they might have their own limitations ,you know what i mean.

    Now let us get down to real issues

    The Govt of Sri Laka has entered into Contract with a Chinese Company in respect of the above project.You, I trust will accept it is a valid Contract. It was not a contract forced on Govt of Sri Lanka by China ,and Govt of Sri Lanka whether it is by Rajapakse or any other person is a valid contract;
    these contract always have damage clause to cover events such suspension,termination etc, this is an international contract not a basic contract like selling our used mobile phone.
    As the suspension of work, which is already ordered and subsequent termination if Govt of Sri Lanka,decide to order (govt were to listen to elite like you and not poor people who are already protesting for suspension of the project since their very survival at risk) Govt of Sri Lanka will have to pay billions of rupees as damages (someting like 300 million US dollars only for damages) In addition reimbursement of cost incurred etc will run in to further huge sum.
    In addition the project which envisages creation of about 100,000 direct job will be lost for poor people like us. And the indirect benefits of having a port city like in the case of Singapore will be enormous.
    I can go on and on and have no doubt benefits of the project far outweigh the adverse impacts including the matter which is of concern to you.
    Mr Senanayake, our entire country was under British for 150 years while there are large adverse impacts ,nobody will deny that perhaps especially commoners have vastly benifited ,one simple example is how many millions just because they learn English and education system are enjoying good lives in Sri Lanka and all over the world,which otherwise might have been confined only to a few.

    With every disaster God/nature what ever word you may choose to use, create equal or perhaps more opportunities, it is for us to make the best use of it without allowing it to become a disaster.It is in our hand.

    Mr Senanayake You might not be knowing how many of our weaker sex are foreging their “pathivatha” and “Kanyabhavaya”and perhaps with the tacit or implied consent of poor husbands and parents because that is the only service they can offer to earn a living to keep the family fed,cover their body with a peice of cloth and have a roof to protect from elements.

    Hence ,pl try to understand our plight and allow us to live,by benefiting from this project; then only ,we can even think and if necessity arises fight to safeguard the unitary state of the country, if a real threat comes to our sovereignty.Sometimes Chinese might be a blessings in disguise occupying a small piece of land, because then they also might have some interest to safeguard our country from X ,you can guess who has the highest interest,because of largely our location.

  • 0
    0

    Dear down trodden son,

    As a Lankan who was forced to (and still does) travel out of the country to work in order to feed, clothe and shelter and educate and get employment for my children, I think I appreciate the plight of those of us who are forced to do the same. I have done menial work in other countries, are you one of us? I do not blame you for casting stones, as you seem to accept on faith the benefit of this project “no doubt benefits of the project far outweigh the adverse impacts”. As a Buddhist and pragmatist I prefer to examine issues first without accepting them on faith, just because someone says so. You should do the same and examine the non-addressed impacts of this project:

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/open-letter-to-the-government-of-sri-lanka-on-the-port-city-review/

    If, as you state, our commoners will benefit from being ruled by another state, by many millions learning the language of that state, to enjoy good lives in Sri Lanka and the world over, I suppose concern about national sovereignty is not of concern.

    If after examination, this project can demonstrate that it has addressed all of its impacts and have proceeded legally, so be it, but if it has not, let us stop whining about the cost and examine who has been damaged, who could be damaged and who should be held accountable for not adhering to the laws of the land.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Ranil

    Our main concern at this late stage, in my opinion, should be to minimise the damages due to this project to our country as Contract has been executed and contractor has mobiliesd on site and construction work is now in progress and as i understand about 10% work has been completed.
    Under the present circumstances,despite being a son of down trodden,as a person who has handled Construction projects all my life ,starting from kotmale Hydro power project as a young engineer, i know the implications of suspension and termination of Contracts. I know there was a project executed during that time due some defect in the contract ,contractors won damages the sum which was, in fact, very close to Contract sum,through international Arbitration.
    the present situation is that, Govt of Sri Lanka has suspended and perhaps may be forced terminate the Contract,may be due to pressures from our next door relative or pressure groups, I do not know, But my common sense judgement with more than 35 years experience in the construction industry tell me that suspension or termination at this stage is not the best solution and will have grave financial consequences .
    Govt can get experts to review contract and designs and introduce further measures to mitigate adverse environmental impacts if necessary,while project is allowed to proceed so damages due to suspension can be minimised,as i understand damages for suspension a day is also a huge sum,this is a marine project, work built will washed away.
    With regard to the issue of sovereignty,like you I am also Buddhist and while one of my primary concerns is also sovereignty as yours. However,I do not see a real threat in giving ownership of a small piece of land to chinese guys also considering that cost of project is largely borne by them;Especially when there are much real threats for sovereignty, for example, due to weak center and demands from guys like Vignesvaran(former Supreme court judge) who was born and bread and offspring married to sinhalese,which could, in fact, if not properly managed could cause a real and not immaginary threat in the present case we are having diverse views;in my judgement ownership of piece of land buy chinese guys which most perceive as a threat now, might be our only saviour .Who knows, you know sometimes friends are better than blood relatives, you know, in case of land ,who fight and kill each other.

    While I accept you concerns ,suspension and termination the project at this stage is the not the best option ,in my view ,as detailed above.

  • 0
    0

    Please see this link. It seems that no due process or evaluation was followed by those who did a ‘quick and dirty’ job. Must we all pay for their haste and greed ? Contracts are not sacrosanct.

    http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/flying-over-port-city-taboo

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