26 October, 2020

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Sri Lanka’s Impending Doom: Invasion Of The Nation-Snatchers

By Neville Fernando

Neville Fernando M.D.

While everybody is focused and preoccupied with the nuances of the presidential elections it is easy not to see the how Sri Lanka is gradually getting squeezed by foreign powers. Of course we proudly brag about the Independence granted by the British, without even clamoring for it, in 1948.

But during the last couple of decades we have seen a steady and stealthy erosion of our sovereignty. Let us look at some ‘developments’ to illustrate this:

1. Mattala Airport

2. Hambantota Port

3. Hambantota International conference hall, and Cricket Stadium

4. Southern expressway

5. Army headquarters site on prime Gale face zone in the capital city, Colombo given over to the Chinese owned Shangri-La Hotel

6. Port city reclamation. Part of the reclaimed land will be given over for outright Chinese use.

7. Chinese Management of sections of the lucrative Colombo harbor.

8. Norochcholai coal power plant .

9. Lotus performance center.

10. Lotus Tower, South Asia’s tallest.

Many of these projects were made possible by the ‘courtesy’ of high- interest un-payable, debt–trap loans from the Chinese. As much as 15,000 acres of additional land as well as 70 percent of the ownership of the port have been handed over to China as payback on such loans. No wonder there is now a proverbial saying that the Chinese own part of the Southern Sri Lanka.

In all these projects, exclusive Chinese planning and technology has been used.

At the same time, these projects have empowered the importation of Chinese workers, some of whom have settled down in Southern Sri Lanka and have established permanent mini-China towns.

The situation in Eastern Sri Lanka is nothing short of a debacle. During the last decade and a half, big money from Middle Eastern/Arab countries has been funneled into the country with the purpose of rapid Islamization. A large number of mosques, a sprawling Shariya university and madrassas have come into being. Many Islamic women have been coerced to wear the garb representing fundamental Sharia philosophy. Terrorism was imported and financed, resulting in the terrible multiple bombings on Easter Sunday 2019, which killed 250, and injured another few hundred innocent citizens. Many areas in Eastern Sri Lanka have been transformed into exclusive and impenetrable Muslim enclaves.

USA has identified and earmarked the port of Trincomalee for the use of military related projects, and Sri Lanka has already signed agreements to bring in US forces into the country as necessary. It is engaged in efforts to strengthen and expand on these agreements.

A give away of a 5,000 acre of land in Uva province to private sector Dole Company is well known. But the deforestation of that land for banana cultivation along with attendant impact on the environment and the hardships caused by forced evacuation of villagers need be highlighted.

India has emerged as a top contender to develop the port of Trincomalee. Indian influence in the North of Sri Lanka was highlighted earlier with the developing and upgrading of Kankesanturai port and the repair and reconstruction of 45,000 homes for civilians. India has recently announced the construction of 10,000 houses for estate workers of Indian origin living mostly in the Central parts of the country.

India already enjoys 70 percent of the trans-shipment business in the main port of Colombo and months ago, Sri Lanka signed a deal with India along with Japan to develop a deep-sea container terminal there. The other recent development regarding the North, the construction of an ‘International Airport’ in Palalay (as a reaction and a competitive exercise to the Chinese foot-hold in the South), looks the most ominous.

It has been revealed that the management and running the airport will probably  be done by the Northern officials, ably assisted by Indian officials. Is there a mechanism where the Central government will have strict control of the people operating, and coming in and going out of that airport? Can the Sri Lankan Government be confident that sectarian Tamil political interests will not usurp the activities at the airport. As an example can suspected LTTE operatives recently identified in Malaysia, travel freely through this new airport and be a threat to national security?

Did anybody think through these scenarios of potential danger to the country and institute strict safeguards? Can this International Airport be a portal, letting other undesirable elements infiltrate the country? Can the Government handle the potential safety related loopholes introduced by this airport?

It is interesting to note how the government ignored many security warnings regarding the Easter Sunday bombings, but in the aftermath, confidently proclaimed that strict safety measures to prevent future such incidents will be enforced.

However, given the post independence rise of tensions with the Tamils of the North, culminating in the 25-year war with the LTTE, this airport opens a new era of mistrust and suspicion.

Japanese interest in Sri Lanka has been ongoing, highlighted by a steady stream of funding for miscellaneous projects. It is important to note that high-level officials from Japan have visited Sri Lanka to underscore their keen interest in the port of Trincomalee.

Three incidents, which were reported recently (October 21) in the media, are worth mentioning: seven Chinese workers arrested working illegally at Aruwakkalu Landfill, a Syrian family arrested at BIA airport with forged passports, and the Navy arresting five individuals who reached the shores of Talaimannar illegally.

Another report that has been conveniently pushed under the rug is the settling down of many Syrian Nationals without any justification or whetting, in a massive housing scheme. These houses were constructed on illegally deforested land belonging to Wilpattu National Forest.

The list goes on and on. But mention must be made of the Uma Oya Hydropower Complex constructed in Badulla district costing more than 750 Million US Dollars mostly funded by the Government of Iran. Now abandoned, it is identified as one of the worst environmental disasters in Sri Lanka. 

Sri Lanka is still a poor country where 40 percent of the people earn less than 400 Rupees a day. It is very tempting for the leaders of such a country to succumb to the temptation of padding up their egos, and sign up for such show-off projects. It is like a hungry animal swallowing carrots thrown at it, unaware of the hooks, which may be embedded.

But often times such projects are designed to be mainly schemes to benefit the donor. The vain political leader can care less. Why? The people, not he, will pay the price. Moreover he will be rewarded ‘handsomely’. Considerations on feasibility, affordability, cost versus benefit, and national security are deemed unnecessary.

Skeptics could counter this by saying all this is paranoia. Others would argue that there is nothing wrong in receiving funding for mega-projects from foreign entities. But it is reasonable to assume that nations are not magnanimous enough to flood money into other countries without any hold and/or strategic benefit for themselves. Hence potential gains should be carefully weighed against long-term political fallouts. Can we be confident that such due diligence is applied to such projects? Potential gains should be carefully weighed against long-term, environmental, financial and political fallouts.

Also it is prudent to pay attention to the basics of national security that no nation ignores. The terror attacks of Easter 2019, and the loss of some 250 human lives that it brought about could have been averted had the security system been adequate and vigilant.

It is difficult to stay silent if you follow the precautionary edict “see something- say something”. This long-suffering small island nation has seen much ethnic tensions and violence. Even the remote possibility of loss of peace and stability in the land stemming from super power competition and clashes within its shores, and control and hegemony of the island, would be hard to bear. We should not wait until it is ‘Paradise Lost’. 

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Latest comments

  • 9
    1

    in sl,s history we were ruled on many occasions by foreign powers notably portuguese ,dutch and the british
    to be controlled by the chinese and indians now is nothing new

    • 5
      2

      You don’t have to worry about LTTE operatives but your own
      governments who are handing over the country piece by piece to India, China, USA and Pakistan. In fact, these are the countries that helped the Government to Fight the LTTE and enabled you to commit mass murder. Do you think that they came here to help Srilanka for summa? In return for their help, you are obliged to reciprocate in kind.
      Your Government and the Sinhala people are reluctant to Share Power with the Tamils in a cordial manner, but you don’t hesitate to hand over pieces of land, lock stock and barrel to foreigners not realizing the fact the sword of damocil hanging over your head.
      The need for the Tamils to get assistance from foreign powers wouldn’t arise if you extend the hands of friendship on equal terms.

  • 9
    3

    Most of what the writer has written are true and fair.

    In my mind, Communist Chinese involvement in our land is dangerous. They do not practice democracy in China and therefore that is a repressed and subjugated society. We have only to look at what is occurring in Hong Kong to realise the dangers we can expect. Chinese have made similar Investments in other less developed and developing Nations around the world (silk road initiative) to the detriment of the economies of such Nations and one needs to question their true motives. Do we want to end up as a Colony of Communist China?

    Unfortunately, the Rajapaksa clan / clowns / despots / criminals were more interested in lining their pockets than the welfare of the country (so much so they sold outright valuable land of SL to the Chinese e.g. Army Headquarters in Colombo). That is obvious to a keen and fair minded observer (but not to the ‘slaves’ and extreme (criminal and vested interest) groups that slavishly revere that name).

    Most countries give us aid and assistance expecting something in return. Quid pro quo is the name of the game. They may not have the interest of SL at heart. But dealing with a ‘Communist’ nation can be dangerous as they do not practice democracy which our nation has embraced from the time immemorial.

    It is true to say the Rajapaksa clan has pawned our Nation to the Chinese thus engulfing the country to a ‘debt trap’. The motivation to do that surely was ‘personal / family gain. They want to return to power to commence from where they left off.

    Voters, please be warned and use your franchise wisely to banish this dastardly family for good.

    • 4
      4

      It is very easy to blame the Rajapases for everything. It was Ranil who finally gave the Chinese the land in lieu of exorbitant interest payments. He didn’t present the idea to parliament and ask for alternatives. He didn’t even inform parliament so that he could share the blame. The arrogant and self-centered fool just did it on his own.

    • 0
      0

      How do you have development without foreign investment? If foreign investment is the equivalent to hijack/control of our economy, then is stagnation preferable? Stagnation will only result in another insurgency. Seems to me that we have to choose between economic and social development or the same old same old.

  • 5
    2

    Rajapaksas, told us LTTE is no more, though some of their uniforms are found randomly , at (Rajapaksas) request. Now the US says ” BIG DADDY ” is no more. The million dollar question is ” Is Easter alone enough to see Gotha cross the line or will he need a dummy ASAP, for more target practice, before elections.

  • 4
    2

    Neville, thanks to Rajapaksas, over years Lankans have now accepted the Chinese as their own. Their is no other foreigners post independence ,other than Chinese , had the freedom to freely establish businesses, running illegal prostitution, illegal money laundering, illegal sale of tobacco and other products,initiating cultural centers, buying and renting real estates, financing Gothas election campaign, influencing local elections, opening shops to sell (dump) their own products and enter and exit at will. The Chinese ambassador was present in the front row VIP seat during Gothas manifesto inauguration.The Westerners came on ships to physically take control of us, the Chinese financially has total control on us. If you add few Billions for each project in your list alone will explain our sorry state / bankruptcy.

  • 7
    0

    Muslims are Sri Lankens, Tamils are Sri Lankens,Buddhist are Sri Lankens, Christians are Sri Lankens. Chinese who are settling are investors,not Sri Lankens. We have got into bad deals with them due to there corrupt practice of bribing the leaders. In Hambantota a Sri Lanken cannot start a business in the free trade zone, without Chinese approval, and 50% Chinese equity, also the business should be one which China is doing .
    Middle East grants last 10 years 15billion, largest market for Sri Lanken professionals and basic workers.
    China is the largest importer to Sri Lanka, and creditor with high interest.
    Buddhist must have financial knowledge to assess, who are friends and fore.Monks who shout out like foxes don’t know where the funds are coming from.

  • 5
    0

    This is an excellent article. We are doomed.

  • 2
    3

    “At the same time, these projects have empowered the importation of Chinese workers, some of whom have settled down in Southern Sri Lanka and have established permanent mini-China towns.”

    Excellent, Chinese are wonderful people. They have no religion and work hard at what they do. They don’t have a caste system or a family of 10 children like our dear minorities. Chinese will never ask for a “Cheelam” or complain about Buddha statues.

  • 2
    1

    I prefer stir fried Prawns to Masala Dhosai..
    Good article .mate

    What worries me is the Hindians having an open door to our homeland through Palaly.

    Just imagine if Keselwatta Kid scores and Dr Ranil fulfills his last MOU with Sampathar before the next Parliamentary Election?…
    And the Palaly Airport is under TNA Police ..

    What really dumb founded me is your stats about our Poverty.
    40% of Inhabitants earn only LKR 400 a Day..
    And the UNP Candidate promised LKR 1500 a day for our Estate Brothers and Sisters .
    Will those 40 % be happy with just Free Manure from Keselwatta Kid’s UNP?..

  • 1
    0

    Some are inaccurate information or past details. For example Dole’s 500 acres Somawathiya National Park land was given to Dole by Old Royals on Murali and Jayawardene’s names. But Ambassador Robert Blake got into Chinese involvement in Mahinda Bachan Naked International Airport and Hangbangtota port building. He said those were commercially not viable, but Lankawe just doing it install Chinese influence there. These irritated Old King. He paid money to Lankawe Nature Preservation Coolies (they not real activist but another Biriyani Arrack group) to go and stand in the Somawathiya Jungle. Dole had to uproot back the Banana Plants and leave the yard.

    Colombo Pong Cing was not given by Old Royals. It was plugged out by China by holding the computer for the dogging game Lankawe played on Nuraicholai power factory. While the First plant was still not working, China was about to finish the third plant and take the money and go. Old King threatened China by giving the plant to India. Indian Engineers came to check it out. So China showed to Old King who it was. Latter, China blamed on CEB Engineers’ dumbness (Sabotage) for the transformers blasting off too.

    Hangbangtota Harbor was not given by Ranil. Ranil halted the Colombo Pong Cing progress saying it was environmental disaster. Ponny said if Lankawe planes fly over Pong Cing, China would shoot those down. So China got angry again and showed to Ranil who it is. But Ranil made a peace deal with China by opposing the Jerusalem embassy. So he invited PM Modi to a Buddhist Ceremony; kept him cool; Revenged America by giving Hangbangtota harbor and 5 villages land there to China.

    Oma Oya loss is very bad for Lankawe as the Industrial zone is going take water from other resources. China wants to build another coal or gas plant to give electricity for the zone (It want water and electricity which Lankawe don’t have).

  • 0
    2

    Ranil offered Hambanthota to USA. USA asked Mangala to go to china and ask China to take Hambanthota to Stock market or something. So, Ranil and Mangala could not find money. Then, they gave it back to china. In short “china coming “chicken little story delayed Hambanthota for a few years.
    Out of $ 46 billion foreign debt of Sri lanka, I heard, Only $ 10 billion is pwned by China. IT is only the american Credit rating agencies and investment companies that rip off Sri Lanka.

    • 2
      1

      Softy,
      Term debt has a different meaning from loan. China has the capability to buy the whole Lankawe with the loan $10B. But US loans are raised on private funding – sovereign bonds. Those have no hold on Appe Aanduwa. If Aanduwa says it will not honor the bonds, lenders go to hell. That’s all. But for China loans, all Lankawe computers will go to hell unless Lankawe give more lands.

      The Cabinet has approved the MCC contract at the last minute. I suspect they have invented a plan to share the whole $500M with in them and if they lose the election, they can close the shop and go home. Otherwise did they take more than one year to make this decision?

  • 3
    1

    China”s bloodless Landgrab 15,000 Acers. The LTTE failed.

    If another Rajapakse regime comes to term we could loose more?
    We would be learning Mandarin instead of Tamil?

    Food for thought.

  • 0
    1

    So you think the best thing to do would be to close down the Jaffna International Airport?

  • 2
    1

    According to a well known grease yakka it’s an invasion of the bodice-snatchers.

  • 2
    0

    Dear Neville,
    My congratulations on your bit of investigative journalism. Your article is well written, to the point, coherent and very readable. My body hair stood perpendicular to the skin on reading some of your revelations like the Syrian settlements, Arabization of the east, etc. Your fears about the Jaffna Airport are very real and all other points in your article carry a worrying degree of merit. Unfortunately one of these two big political buffoons is going to be the President on the 17th Nov followed by their own party government and the story will go on. The irony is not why the unsuspecting sparingly educated impoverished 40% will vote these donkeys to power but why the educated, patriotic right thinking people have not taken to the road to support Mahesh Senanayake.

    • 1
      0

      Dear Dr.Janapriya,

      Yes, a real flashpoint in the future is going to be the Jaffna International Airport.
      We cannot expect the government run by vote thirsty politicians to monitor the airport similar to the Colombo Airport. The responsibility for security of the country including immigration procedures, should be undertaken with utmost care by the Central Government.
      It cannot be tacitly or carelessly entrusted to regional governments with different agendas. This is a recipe for future trouble.

  • 2
    0

    15.000Acres to China is nothing in comparison to 8884 Sq Kilometers which Dr Ranil is desperate to give his TNA mates under his MOU..

    Even 15.000 could have been only 10,000 Acres if Dr didn’t insult the Chinese People after the West and the Diaspora installed him as the PM..
    =
    Chines are already helping tens of thousands of our poor Dalits in the South to put the food on the table.
    When Keselwatta Kid and Dr Ranil come next time ,we may need special permits to go to Nagdeepan let alone finding jobs..

    BTW, Wonder whether Keselwatta Kid has disclosed the contents of Mr Sampathar, Mr Abraham and Mr Sivajilingam’s new List of 13 Ds to go along with the Hindian’s 13 A?…

  • 0
    0

    Dear Neville

    Thank you for this reminder for all things ‘not within our control”.

    None of which will be a concern if we re a united Country and did not have the miserable infighting amongst ourselves.

    The fact of the matter is ‘they; the foreigners won and ‘we’ the Sri Lankans lost ‘control’ of all things that we consider as our life’s……sovereignty.

    At an expense of our Nation made to have ‘Constitutional Assembly’ to solve problems of a devolutionary nature??…, ‘them the foreign governments’ all participated ‘collectively’ in training/financing/facilitating this divisional politics that themselves would not have others do to their as solutions to their National problems.

    Now we are all Toilet Washers ‘somewhere else’ not acquiring knowledge and wealth to fund the home land projects to see the Nation full of deserving glory but to enhance the same elsewhere that is undermining our very ‘us’ status itself..the patriotic sense and sensibilities………..somehow it is always blamed on one segment or the other…..majority or the minority????but this never was the issue in reality….we were penned in by the geo political masters and being stage managed to the hilt.

    Your article just summarises the projects that would have been ‘ok’ if they were evaluated/controlled by us based on our National Master Plan but that is one thing none of the things you mentioned above is spot on………we need to stop blaming each other and start a journey under a leadership as a united Nation……before we embark on future projects/blunders not only save ourselves but to save the environment too.

  • 0
    0

    Neville,
    Neville,
    We the Sri lankans should be very grateful to you for taking the time and the effort to elucidate these controversial issues.. This article seems to be written after considerable research and fact finding. It explains in very clear and succinct terms the squandering of precious Sri lankan land..This should be an eye opener for many Sri lankans. Besides this article should be the basis for more detail and thorough discussion of how the power hungry, disdainful politicians robbed the national wealth to fatten their pockets and their bank accounts. There may be many high level government officials and true patriots who are privy to fist hand knowledge of these abuses. It will be nice to see their contribution to this subject,. because I believe in a few years , many will refer to this article as a document which we should have paid more attention.
    Claude

  • 0
    0

    Dear Neville

    The real spinners are the share holders of the small businesses from various countries (regular plan load visitors to SL) over and beyond the Sate sponsored investments and involvements. Even before the respective foreign state involvements these Sri Lankan/Indian/Chinese with new found settled status in Fareast/South East Asia and West during and after colonial periods have manipulated the Sri Lankan children on war footing whilst they were making business from both side (pich the child to cry and rock the cradle at the same time)……none of there children were ever involved in the front line battles only to reap the benefit of being in the west and east making natural progress that was denied to our children.

    Now they have connected to the divided society from their position of strength feeding poison to all those venerable our Nations current ills(mostly their making) further dividing the society.

    None of them will ever seek to do the same (killing) to solve their problems in their respective country. This is a huge basis for the respective countries economic boosts too. The point here not all ills are from China and Indian governments but from these folks who are the real foot soldiers doing all the wrong things in our broken Nation……I may put it to say ‘they help to break so can squander with immunity/cover with the local connivance. This local connivance involves Sri Lankans from carious segments of our society without language/religious barriers.

    This is the real dilemma facing any leadership who want bring our Nation back to Sovereign status so we can have our own journey of progress through hard work and sacrifice for the our own freedom/dignity.

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