16 May, 2021

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Why Oppose The Colombo Port City?

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

Why oppose the Colombo Port City or the Bill? Some may oppose because it is a Rajapaksa initiative. If it were a UNP or a SJB one, it would have been perfectly acceptable to them! Quite strangely, even the JVP leaders might be thinking in that direction. The role of the opposition in a democratic society is completely misunderstood or turned upside down.

Some others may oppose because, arguably, it is against the country’s or people’s sovereignty. This may appear a reasonable assumption at least on the surface. However, the argument mainly comes from those who neglect or go against ‘sovereignty’ usually on behalf of foreign sources or forces.

If there are inconsistencies between the bill and the constitution, that should be left to the Supreme Court to decide, while expressing one’s views is perfectly acceptable. Our constitution is 43 years old with contradictory 20 amendments back and forth. Therefore, obviously there can be inconsistencies. Or even otherwise, there can be inconsistencies based on the so far accepted notions of democracy. 

There are others who oppose the Port City or the Bill because of its China connection. They are basically, ultranationalists or Western aliened so-called liberals. This amalgamation is utterly strange. Among them are some hopeless leftists as well. Although they verbally talk about socialism (at least rarely), their primary contemporary concerns are purely constitutional law or political neoliberalism. Imbibed in Western cultural notions, they perhaps have some antipathy towards Chinese culture, language or even the people.

The Background       

On 8 April, the Bill was presented to Parliament after the approval by the Cabinet and gazetted on 24 March. Within seven days it was challenged by 19 petitioners before the Supreme Court, and the government side has also submitted 13 petitions in support of the Bill. Soon we will have the Supreme Court verdict.

This 74page gazette is prized only Rs. 112.00, less than half a dollar in the black market. The reason why I make this digression is to emphasize the need to rationalize the state sector, and in this case the Government Printers. Those who buy copies of gazettes are not the poor people, but the lawyers, members of parliament, businessmen and administrators. They can undoubtedly afford a higher price to cover the costs.

In the ongoing debates on the question of the Colombo Port City, while politics seem to dominate economics, in my opinion, it should be the other way around. This does not mean that politics always should follow economics, but it should be a major concern in particularly in a developing country like Sri Lanka. 

Sri Lanka is still a lower-middle-income country with a per capita GDP of around $ 4,000. The population is nearly 21.8 million and the size of the economy is around $ 87 billion GDP. This is before the pandemic. Sri Lankan economy has contracted by 3.6 percent in 2020. We are now smaller in size, other than facing considerable difficulties in day-to-day life. During the bad days of Covid-19 pandemic the revenue contracted, and the expenditure expanded with the fiscal deficit increasing. The public debt increased to 109.7 percent of the GDP, accumulating the delayed payments into it. There were concessions given to the businesses, like in many other countries, including tax moratoriums on debt payments. 

There were some praises from the World Bank on fiscal and other economic policies of the country. “An improved trade balance and strong remittance inflows narrowed the current account deficit. A sharp drop in imports in 2020 more than offset the decline in exports,” they said. Imports dropped with some measures to restrict some nonessentials. Some of the ‘open, open, and open policies’ were changed on a pragmatic basis. There was no much grumble from the people. Of course, the financial inflows were insufficient to meet external liabilities. The external reserves dropped. Last month, however, through a currency swap with the People’s Bank of China worth $ 1.5 billion the external reserves are again strengthened.

Sri Lanka is now again facing a third wave of the Covid pandemic and the people and the political parties should be able to cooperate in resolving the attended problems before the situation gets worse and worse.

The Concept of the Port City

A Colombo port city is not completely a new concept. Colombo Fort was in fact a port city. However, the new concept came in 2011 with the building of the Colombo South Port. The reclamation of land around 660 acres for this purpose was given to the China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) and the work was completed by early 2018 for a cost of $15 billion. This is not a small amount. Therefore, the project should be cost effective, if not immediately, in the medium term.

Both last two governments had commitments for the project with differences. The idea of the last government (2015-2020) was to consider it a part of the Megapolis and the city area as an International Financial Centre. It was considered as part of the Colombo District with all the attached legal conditions. The present project and the presented bill probably have gone back to the initial idea while expanding on it. Thus, the Port City is a special area with a special administration for broad economic purposes.

There is a new book published recently edited by Chulannee Attanayake, with 15 contributors, local and foreign, titled “Maritime Sri Lanka: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.” The book advocates the idea that Sri Lanka is not just a South Asian country but an Indian Ocean country. It goes on saying,

“The idea of being an Indian Ocean state is reflected in how Sri Lanka wants to promote itself as the centre of the Indian Ocean. Soon after the end of the conflict, the then government of Sri Lanka emphasized its interest in making Sri Lanka the naval, air and commercial hub in the Indian Ocean. The manifesto Mahinda Rajapaksa presented for the election held soon after the end of the war emphasized on using the country’s strategic geographical location in transforming Sri Lanka into a naval, aviation, commercial, energy and knowledge hub to serve as a link between the East and the West.”     

The idea of a link between the East and the West has further merit in philosophical, social, and conceptual sense as well, although that aspect is not discussed in this article. Apart from that the Editor says, “The Sirisena-Wickremesighe government that came to power in 2015 continued the same ideology,” correct or not. She also quotes the former minister of foreign affairs, Mangala Samaraweera saying “reclaiming our Indian Ocean identity helps us and others unlock the tremendous opportunities for attracting FDI, accessing markets and developing the tourism industry.”

Conclusion

The three main objectives of the proposed Bill are (1) to establish the Colombo Port City (CPC) formally, (2) to create a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) within it, and (3) to set up an Economic Commission (EC) to manage it appointed by the President. It is important that the Bill derives its authority and purpose through the ‘Directive Principles of State Policy’ enshrined in the Constitution as an obligation of the State to ensure the rapid development of the country through public and private entrepreneurial activities.

The Special Economic Zone is defined in the Bill as “an international business and services hub with specialized infrastructure and other facilities within such Zone, for the promotion and facilitation of economic activity including international trade, shipping logistic operations, offshore banking and financial services, information technology and business process outsourcing, corporate headquarters operations, regional distribution operations, tourism, and other ancillary services.”

The Economic Commission is empowered “with the administration, regulation and control of, all matters connected with businesses and other operations, in and from the Area of Authority” of the Colombo Port City which is also the Special Economic Zone.

The above may appear quite uncontroversial. But the devil must be in the details. These are the details that must be interpreted and determined by the Supreme Court.

The Colombo Port City is not going to be an isolated economic zone. It is related to the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) initiated by China. That is the strength, and in some people’s opinion the unacceptability. The people and the parliamentarians must make a choice between the declining West (particularly the US) and the rising East (particularly China) in supporting or opposing this initiative. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong in ‘The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka’ having an alliance with ‘The ‘People’s Republic of China.’ Before all that, the country may have to get the Covid pandemic decisively under control.   

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Latest comments

  • 26
    1

    Dr.Laksiri,
    I am all for Port City, if only for the reason that at least one part of the country will be under sound management.
    But I seriously doubt your commitment. If Nandasena decides tomorrow that the PC is an NGO plot, will you write an article against it?

    • 26
      2

      old codger

      Today’s Daily FT reports Nanthu and his cronies met with The Maha Sanga in order to discuss Colombo Port City project among other things.

      It appears Nanthu and his “B” carriers meet saffronistas, 3 times a day after breakfast, before lunch and for dinner.

      If that is the case why doesn’t Nanthu abolish the the office of president, prime minister, ministers, …………….. allow Maha Sanga to run the country on a hands on basis?

      Let the (Sinhala)/Buddhist Advisory Council the Sanga run the country, take direct responsibility, for ruining the island rather than driving the country from back seat or hiding behind corrupt politicians. A fully fledged Theocracy perhaps?

      If the saffronistas want to enjoy total power let them have it.
      People will know clearly whom to blame.

      • 12
        1

        Native,
        The so-called Maha Sangha won’t get much traction in Port City. I’d like to see them try their kill-joy tactics there on Poya days .
        “People will know clearly whom to blame.”
        Nope. People will say that the robe shouldn’t be blamed for what the wearer does, and vice versa.

        • 13
          2

          Laksiri, there would be no opposition to Colombo port city, if it is constructed by Chinese company on a loan from China, provided it was owned entirely by Sri Lanka, its operations transparent and is economically viable. Unfortunately all these are lacking. Sri Lanka does not own entire land as about 20 hectares have been sold freehold and another 170 hectares given leasehold for 99 years to China. Operations will not be transparent as it does not come under the purview of parliament or Auditor General, encouraging money laundering and other nefarious activities. It is most likely to be economic failure resulting in inability to repay loan taken, ending up permanently under China like Hambantota port. China constructed similar port city in Johore reclaiming land, and it was a failure with only 70% utilization that too from local investors. Fortunately Malaysia paid back the loan and stopped any further Chinese involvement. I can assure you that only dubious investors from west will put their money in Colombo. Any one with an iota of intelligence will know that bringing China in will be a geo-political disaster with India and west breathing fire.

          • 12
            6

            Laksiri, if you visit Colombo port city once it comes under Chinese control, you will be able to see Eelam in the horizon.

          • 4
            4

            Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam,
            When you tell that any one with an iota of intelligence will know that bringing in China will be a geo-political disaster with India and west breathing fire, am I to understand that the writer does not have a even an iota of intelligence.

            • 0
              5

              The ‘a’ between have and even is for nimal fernando to break his head!

            • 3
              3

              Nathan, have you heard of the term “Intellectual Idiot”. Laksiri and Sivasegaram are good examples of that. While that of Sivasegaram is congenital, Laksiri has descended to that level due to his thinking clouded by opportunism.

              • 2
                1

                Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam,
                The worst way to beat an “Intellectual Idiot”is to challenge him.
                You would have noticed that I completely ignore SJ. I pay little or no attention to the other!

                • 0
                  3

                  Thank you for that.

                  • 0
                    3

                    One little point:
                    How come that you violated your vow by referring to me personally?

              • 1
                3

                GS
                Is your resentment that you lack the ‘intellectual’ part of that term to describe yourself?
                The professional who addresses personality disorder — the one who helps you with your addiction to synonyms of ‘fool’ — should perhaps try harder.

                • 2
                  0

                  SJ, the same professional should address yours as well don’t you think so ?? Thank GS for not using re ta rd as synonym.

                  • 0
                    3

                    Is it itching badly?

                    • 0
                      0

                      Check your cr ot ch it may be contagious.

                    • 0
                      0

                      Poor you!
                      Get well soon.

        • 8
          2

          old codger

          Okay.

          Many see Saffron as symbol of purity or divinity, I now see it as symbol of rupees, dollars or power. “Powerful” commanders of armed forces, politicians, intellectuals are seen bowing to Saffronistas therefore I might consider taking up Sinhala/Buddhism as my trade or profession.

          Here is an interview with Ranil, (Port City for Beginners,- lessons to be learned)
          On Fire with Easwaran Rutnam | Ranil Wickremesinghe
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m614z7SxWDs&t=17s
          Concerns were raised Colombo Port will be monitored using Port City – Ranil Wickremesinghe
          http://www.dailymirror.lk/opinion/Concerns-were-raised-Colombo-Port-will-be-monitored-using-Port-City-Ranil-Wickremesinghe/172-210651

          • 0
            10

            Vedda,

            “Many see Saffron as symbol of purity or divinity.”

            15 years ago, many saw cyanide capsule and C4 bra bomb as symbol of purity. If they had stuck with Buddhism, they might be alive today. Congratulations on your new profession.

            • 5
              0

              Lester the Jester

              What is the point if you have one?

          • 4
            0

            Dear N V, appreciated you posting Ranil Wickremesinghe’s interview with DM here. The key points of concerns pointed out by an insider who has had firsthand dealings in the project are alarming.

            I read Laksiri Fernando’s article here only after viewing RW’s interview. Soon became apparent that LF’s content here is rather empty! Sounded very much like whining.

            It is sickening to fathom that the bill being pushed will have the Colombo Port City managed by an Economic Commission (EC) appointed by the President. Which greats have held the country’s presidency lately!?… Mahinda Rajapaksa, Maithripala Sirisena, and the latest and the worst installation, Gotabaya Rajapaksa…

            • 3
              1

              Sugandh, in the introductory para Laksiri gives away his own strategies if this was UNP/SJB proposal.

        • 1
          0

          OC
          The saffron robed brigade will oppose the Chinese presence (colony) mainly for one reason and that is the introduction of Mahayana Buddhism into the country by the Chinese.

      • 0
        0

        “I am all for Port City”

        Me too!

        Have you driven/walked around any Chinese city: Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an ……… ? If you haven’t, then you don’t know how they are run.

        More than the total population of SL – 24 million – live in Shanghai alone ……. and it’s run like clockwork. One of the cleanest cities in the world.

        Lankans are incompetent in any form ………. even in the form of dictators. Gota may be a Malay Muslim but he is Lanka-trained.

        We need the Chinese to show us how to run Colombo.

        Well, occasionally, they might put Native Wedda through some water-torture …….. but that’s a price well worth paying.

        • 0
          0

          “I am all for Port City”
          Me too, not only port city but the whole country.
          In 1948, Sri Lanka was economically only second to Japan in Asia. Such a beautiful and prosperous Sri Lanka was completely ruined or rather doomed by the Sinhala leaders within 73 years. They have brought down the country to not only a begging nation but also to the level of a pariah state. Give the whole country to China on a 99 years lease like Hong Kong was to Britain and the country will be much better off under the Chinese than it is now.

  • 10
    2

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

    For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 25
    3

    Once again Dr. Laksiri has come to defend only Rajapaksas when there is a threat to only Rajapaksas dictatorship not to the threat of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty . He always forget about October 2018 plot, Easter Bombing plot, East Colombo harbour deal, USA deal etc.
    The country is facing a dictatorship and an attempt to sell China by Rajapaksas. That is the reality.

  • 22
    0

    ……..Within seven days it was challenged by 19 petitioners before the Supreme Court…..
    Beautifully put to advocate the cause by the Author. He conveniently forgets the timing with an ulterior motive – five of those seven were holidays. This fact alone shows the mala fide in the Bill.

    • 21
      0

      Win or lose (as I have said earlier 3 out of five are known acolytes) in the SC, I salute those who forsook their New Year vacation to spend time to study this unfortunate Bill and build up their cases for the challenge.

  • 21
    1

    Dr. Laksiri Fernando “If there are inconsistencies between the bill and the constitution, that should be left to the Supreme Court to decide, “
    =========
    But Supreme court made up of also Rajapaksa arse lickers, AG is also Rajapasa arse licker Dr. Laksiri Fernando is also Rajapasa arse licker
    ========
    Dr. Laksiri Fernando – Issue is not the Port City but the Bill which is supported only by the Rajapaksa arse lickers. Obviously Rajapaksa arse lickers wont oppose the bill?

  • 15
    4

    Middle man on road show for a glorified Ponzi scheme.

  • 15
    0

    Dr Laksiri Fernando,

    On the face of it, this is a welcome initiative.

    The objective behind this proposal, if it brings in massive foreign direct investment and creates employment then it is desirable and nothing objectionable.

    Have we done all the environmental impact assessments and feasibility studies? and taken our decision based on such studies and confirmed that the risk factor is within acceptable limits.

    However let me now look at it from another angle,

    An extract from the article;

    “The reclamation of land around 660 acres for this purpose was given to the China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) and the work was completed by early 2018 for a cost of $15 billion”.

    Will this $15 billion” add to the debt burden?

    The worsening death trap in the course of time will force our country to swap debt for military bases and end up as a vassal state of China ?

    Is it a desirable outcome?

  • 32
    0

    This fellow used to write good articles with fairly sound economic concepts. Living in Australia he seems to have been netted in by the regime’s promoters and apologists and now mouths verses in praise of it. He should be ashamed to stoop so low as to forego his convictions as an independent academic.

    • 2
      7

      Dr.Lasantha Pethiyagoda,
      .
      He is pro for what you are anti.
      I don’t see any difference between the two in respect of “convictions as an independent academic”

      Soma

    • 1
      1

      Dear Lasantha,
      .
      Your comment has got more “Likes” (29 at present) than any of the 52 that are currently on display (22.30 hours, Wednesday, 28th); this is unusual for something said in the middle of the list.
      .
      Now I’m going to say something that may not please you. I feel that we are both fools. I feel that Laksiri has got to the stage when he likes to boast that he retains relevance in Sri Lanka because this current article of his got many likes. Soma is happy to add to the tally.
      .
      However, please note that Laksiri received 169 comments for this article:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/i-propose-to-revoke-doctorates-from-gr-mr/comment-page-1/#comments
      .
      I have commented there, but “soma” hasn’t. Did he approve of the article? Perhaps he didn’t see it. Read it, dear Mr Gamini Somaratne. Lasantha, I was going to see if everybody ignoring Laksiri’s articles would persuade him to concentrate on painting water-colour pictures instead of writing articles which nobody wants to read.
      .
      Can soma indicate whether he was “pro” or “anti” Laksiri’s ideas there?

      • 2
        1

        Dear Sinhala_man
        .
        Thanks for your invitation.
        I am not worthy of admittance to the exalted company of these great academics.

        Soma

  • 13
    1

    If so many are opposing because it is Rajapakshe bill, how did they come into power. It is those who brought them into power are now opposing.

  • 6
    1

    “The reclamation of land around 660 acres for this purpose was given to the China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) and the work was completed by early 2018 for a cost of $15 billion”.
    ===============================
    660 acres is 105,600 perch
    reclamation cost per perch is $142,000
    to keep Cabraal happy lets use a conversion rate of Rs 192 to a dollar conversion rate
    reclamation cost perch in rupees is Rupees 27 million per perch
    what is the land price per perch in Galle face? and at what land price the port city is being released to potential investors?

    is Port city already an economic disaster?

    • 5
      14

      Rajash,
      “is Port city already an economic disaster?”
      —-
      Port City is not an economic disaster but an asset to Sinhale/Sri Lanka, .
      The economic disaster to Sinhale was brought by Tamil and Muslim terrorists who ruined the economy with their terrorist activities.

      • 9
        2

        Eagle Eye
        Rajash,
        “is Port city already an economic disaster?”
        ========
        see below my subsequent post
        =====
        Dr. Laksiri Fernando is a disaster.!!!
        In his obligation to lick Rajapaksa’s by rushing pen to paper writing an article promoting Port City he makes a colossal mistake and fails to check his facts.
        =====
        what a disaster he is and he made Port City a disaster ion paper by stating that it t 15billion USD to reclaim land at a cost of rupees 27 million per perch and selling it at rupees 13 million per perch
        =====
        please speak to your mate Dr. Laksiri Fernando he is making himself a fool….and losing his credibility no one will take him seriously with such silly mistkaes.

      • 0
        0

        Why only Port City? Why not give the whole country to China on a 99 years lease like Hong Kong was to Britain and the country will be much better off than it is now.

    • 6
      1

      the figures above looks so ridiculously wrong
      either my calculation is wrong or something else is wrong
      ======
      so I googled
      https://www.portcitycolombo.lk/press/2020/02/24/port-city-land-likely-to-be-priced-above-rs-13mn-per-perch-pwc-report.html
      ======
      CCCC has invested US$1.4 billion for reclamation of land and infrastructure development of CPC and in return, it has received 62 hectares of marketable land on 99-year lease from the government.
      ========
      Dr. Laksiri Fernando has got his facts completely wrong.
      He lost his marbles in a hurry to defend the port city.
      =============
      it’s US$1.4 billion and not US$15 billion

  • 13
    0

    Dr. Laksiri Fernando
    Another lame article.
    Interestingly, this article actually proves why we should be against the Port City Bill.
    I have made so many points against the Port City Bill. My last comment was to Ameer Ali’s article. But, I can still give NEW POINTS.
    .
    Re: your last para.
    How dare you suggest Sri Lanka should sacrifice her sovereignty to support China’s Belt & Road Initiative?
    Port City does not warrant us to choose between “declining West & rising China”.
    In fact, this notion WILL NO LONGER VALID with the post-pandemic era.
    Laksiri needs to develop critical thinking skills.
    The pandemic has changed everything.
    Even to my surprise, the West is now actively considering taking drastic measures to combat climate change. They can easily change their previous course of action and reverse your notion, “declining West to rising West”. Just two of their new products can rock the world that will also change Asia’s future.
    That doesn’t mean Sri Lanka should take the side of the West. For centuries, they have been our foe rather than friends.
    FOR OUR OWN BENEFIT, we should NOT be aligned to China or the West.
    Post-pandemic era will make the world super-busy.
    In order to reap post-pandemic marvels and GET OUT OF OUR MOUNTAIN OF DEBT, Sri Lanka should STAY NEUTRAL, and not get caught between the rivalry of superpowers.

  • 8
    1

    Dr. Laksiri Fernando: You ask: “Why Oppose The Colombo Port City”. The reasons are many and too lengthy to explain. To make it brief, I would ask you to take a “Deep” study of the subject “BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE” (BRI) – in Chinese, it is called “YI DAI YI LU” -the “DREAM” of Chinese President Xi Jinping. This “BRI” initiative stretches from China covering the South Asian region to Africa (Sea Route); from overland via Tibet, Bangaladesh, Pakistan; another covering Russia to Europe. The “Initiative” encompasses the construction of “Rail”, “Roads”, and “Shipping” routes. The most “Strategic” feature of this “BRI” is, it “Runs” through, the “Under-Developed” and “Developing” countries that cannot “Afford” such massive projects. That is how the “Injection” of “Massive” loan schemes at low-interest rates are placed at the disposal of these countries and at the same time “Entice” the “DEAL MAKERS” to make a “Fortune”. If you look at the “Net Return” in monetary terms to China on these “Projects” is “Minimal” (about 0.03%), but the “FORTUNE” comes in “FULFILLING” the “Dream” – “The World Domination”. Already this “LOAN SCHEME” granted on these “DRI” projects has surpassed “TRILLIONS” of “US DOLLARS”. Continued……….

  • 5
    2

    continued…. I referred to the “Loan Scheme”. This is where the “TRAP” is. The Chinese Government is well aware that the countries that have “Signed” into “Contracts” for the construction of these “BRI” projects are “Ill-Afford” or would not be “Able” to repay the “Massive” (most often Over-Estimated to cover the “Deals”) loans, within a specified period of time. They wait like “Hawkes” till the “Default” arises to pounce on the “Prey”. When the “Default” arises, the “Trap” is tightened by asking for the “OWNERSHIP” (sometimes in the long-term lease) of the completed project. A good example of this is Sri Lanka – Hambantota Harbour (99-year lease-running to three “Generations”) in the South. Next are the Colombo Port City and the Colombo Harbour Jetty in the West and the Two Islands (Electricity Project) in the North of the country. Haven’t the Chinese “Fulfilled” the “Domination” of this country that is most “Strategically” placed in the Indian Ocean on their way to that “Dream” of “World Domination”?. This “FATE” has already fallen on the other countries that come within these “BRI” projects. Haven’t we,(S/L) SUCCUMED to our own “Ill-Conceived”, “Under_Estimated”, “Ill-Affordable” “LUXURIES”, and “Fantasies” but most “LUCRATIVE” to those “CROOKS” in power whose prime motive is to make a “FORTUNE”. So, please “STUDY” this “BRI” of China, before “Signing” into any of their projects.

  • 2
    3

    We call it Colombo port City, but it is really a special economic zone.

    Many countries around the world including India and China have many Special Economic Zones within their territory and those zones were run very successfully bringing in Foreign Direct Investment, creating employment, increased revenue and many other benefits.

    Almost all of them had made strategic compromises on sovereignty, but not on national security.

    We need not look at it not only from the sovereignty angle. Whether it is constitutional or not need not be the main criteria. Even if the bill is amended in line with the forthcoming Supreme Court, decision and make it constitutional.

    Well, our present Constitution is the discredited 1978 constitution and almost all political parties had made solemn promises to bring in new constitution.

    The matters do not end there,

    We could learn valuable lessons from the experience of so many countries and could design a suitable bill so that maximum benefits could accrue.

  • 2
    16

    Port City is an outcome of the blunders made by our ‘Big Brother’. If the ‘Big Brother’ did not promote LTTE Tamil terrorists and allowed Sri Lanka Armed Forces to capture LTTE leader at Vadamarachchi, probably there was no Port City. China helped to eliminate Tamil terrorists that massacred Sinhalayo for three decades and in return Sri Lanka had to allow Chinese to build ‘Port City’. Dumbos who criticize Rajapakshes for allowing Chinese to have a foothold in Sri Lanka should learn to face the truth.

    • 14
      3

      ” China helped to eliminate Tamil terrorists that massacred Sinhalayo for three decades and in return Sri Lanka had to allow Chinese to build ‘Port City’. “
      *
      I doubt if the Chinese will accept your compliment.
      The main helpers were to the north and the west.
      Port City was not on China’s request, like all major developmement projects.
      China volunteered to gift a few things like the BMICH and Nelum Pokuna, as did the Japanese the Colombo Court Complex and the Teaching Hospital, Peradeniya.

      • 7
        1

        SJ

        “I doubt if the Chinese will accept your compliment.
        The main helpers were to the north and the west.”

        How Beijing won Sri Lanka’s civil war
        A year after the 27-year Tamil insurgency was brought to a decisive end, Peter Popham looks at how China triumphed where the West failed
        Sunday 23 October 2011 00:25
        https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/how-beijing-won-sri-lanka-s-civil-war-1980492.html

      • 1
        1

        SJ, well said and good.
        Hope and pray that the bill does not make SL nominated as a place for international money laundering. If that happens all Sri Lankans would have to suffer, for the benefit of a few to enrich themselves.
        Perhaps you have inadvertently left out
        (A) the 1001 bed SJ Teaching Hospital,
        (B)the SJ New Parliament complex at Kotte (symbolic repository of SL Democracy) and
        (C)the Jaya Container terminal in the 1990’s.
        The thanks SL gave for this favour by Japan (which were mostly grants or at least very low interest loans with 5 to 10years grace period before commencing repayments unlike Chinese commercial loans with high interest) was to Kick them out of the
        (1) Eastern Container Terminal agreement, because that agreement included Indian participation and anti-India sentiment and
        (2)the Colombo Metro Light rail project. Well done indeed Sri Lanka. the SLTB claims SL has a warm welcoming attitude towards tourists, because they bring dollars

        • 0
          4

          M
          Thank you.
          Mine was not intended to be a comprehensive list for either country.
          I am not holding a brief for anyone.
          But I will not oversimplify issues either.

      • 4
        1

        “Port City was not on China’s request, like all major developmement projects.”

        So, It is Rajapaksa family request?

        • 0
          5

          I did not say so.
          You have freedom of faith. Please yourself.

          • 0
            4

            Otherwise displease yourself.

      • 2
        0

        SJ
        “The main helpers were to the north and the west.”
        .
        Reasons?

        Soma

        • 2
          0

          S
          Both liked to be rid of the LTTE, which had outlived its usefulness.
          One wanted to merely cripple the LTTE and save it for a rainy day. The other wanted LTTE to be wiped off the face of the earth for it had plans for its proxies in this island.
          They expected loyalty from the GoSL, which was not forthcoming in the way they desired.
          They reacted differently based on their respective motives.

  • 3
    2

    Thanks Simon, Well said. You have virtually prised out of me and saving me the effort.
    Surprised that nobody seem to remember these simple events of the past decade at the least and understand the outcomes. Least by Laksiri querying “what is the haste?” We seem to be progressing into the cavernous grounds, where the imminent fight of the Elephants are going to take place. That is of great concern. I hope Laksiri, you have got the answer your question was seeking?

    • 1
      0

      Mahila: Thanks. Pl. watch youtube.com/watch?v=Rjxliuy9D2s Hope Dr. Laksiri too could see this, before “Marketing” the “Colombo City”.

      • 0
        0

        Thanks, Simon.
        .
        However, I must tell you that this Youtube link doesn’t work.
        .
        I’m sure that for you to have given it to us – and to Laksiri, (How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!) – who must be getting no gifts from Sri Lankans now it must be worthwhile.
        .
        I’ve tried every way that I can think of, but it won’t work. I usually put links on a separate line – just use some full-stops, Simon.

  • 8
    6

    The Port City project was a bad idea even in the primitive form mooted by the UNP.
    It was launched by the MR government, and the UNP made an election issue of it, only to beat a hasty retreat.
    Serious environmental concerns and worries about long term implications with grave socio-economic implications were expressed regardless of who undertook construction. These were soon forgotten.
    Too many have no qualms about transforming the country into a casino, brothel and a den of corruption as long as dollars roll in. But there is still a minority seeking to undo, even partly, the damage following the economic policies put in place in 1978.
    The Port City is there and cannot be bombed out of existence, so our interest is mainly to ensure that it has clean administration and minimum negative impact on the affairs of the country.
    That is where the proposed bill poses a threat. Money laundering can happen in any context with tax holidays and incentives for investors. The bigger danger is its abuse for personal profit by a criminal
    China conspiracy theorists do not comment on the real dangers. I doubt if any of them know what the bill is about.

    • 7
      5

      The bigger danger is its abuse for personal profit by a criminal gang.

      • 6
        1

        “The bigger danger is its abuse for personal profit by a criminal gang.”

        Triad

    • 6
      1

      SJ types:

      “That is where the proposed bill poses a threat. Money laundering can happen in any context with tax holidays and incentives for investors.”

      The Financial Action Task Force on Money
      Laundering (FATF), defines the term “Money
      Laundering” briefly as
      “the processing of criminal proceeds to disguise their illegal origin in order to legitimize the ill-gotten gains of crime”.
      PAMPHLET SERIES
      NO. 6
      PREVENTING MONEY LAUNDERING AND COMBATING THE
      FINANCING OF TERRORISM
      Central Bank of Sri Lanka
      July 2006

      Now please tell us how do legally allowed tax holidays and incentives for investors become money laundering?

      • 5
        0

        Native thanks a lot. No one can blame for not trying.

  • 2
    3

    Last comment should be amended “You have virtually prised ‘THE WORDS’ out of me and saving me the effort.”. Accept apologies for the error.

  • 1
    0

    Dear Laksiri, reading your article once again, very interestingly, you have referred to “the numerous cases filed soon after the bill was published in the gazette.”
    May be you have overlooked the fact that there is a timeline to plead to the supreme court in this case as per the constitution, which every commoner has to follow, otherwise it will go out of the window, without being even read. At least we read your piece for the second time too.
    That was the reason for the haste in filing cases by different interested parties.
    In this respect the reasonable question is why, the initiators did not
    (A) Refer to the Supreme Court the bill as an urgent Bill prior to publication (HE is empowered by the constitution enabling him in respect urgent bills)
    (B) Why did the proposers not submit it as a white paper in parliament, if it was not an urgent bill for detailed discussion by the Peoples representatives and finalise.

  • 4
    9

    “The people and the parliamentarians must make a choice between the declining West (particularly the US) and the rising East (particularly China) in supporting or opposing this initiative.”

    The West will not fund development projects in SL, unless SL foreign policy is explicitly anti-Chinese. Look at India. India is anti-Chinese, a good friend of the West, but they cannot even control Covid-19. Indian economic development is also relatively useless compared to China. Other than using India as a call centre, global corporations see little value. Clearly, to maximize economic development, Sri Lanka should align with China.

    • 5
      3

      L
      Sri Lanka should not align with any to keep out of trouble.
      It is not a simple East-West scenario.
      It is a matter of forging healthy relations on an equal footing with any country.
      *
      Things could change.
      India brought upon itself the current crisis.
      Intimidating the population and imposing senseless restrictions on the one hand and relaxing all control to allow a massive carnival in the name of religion. Both the central and UP state governments are to blame.
      Leave blame aside, who were the first to offer unlimited support? What has the US offered? After much reluctance it has ‘generously’ agreed to release its stock of AstraZeneca vaccine (whose use it forbids in India).
      Things could change before long for India to locate itself firmly in Asia.

      • 1
        2

        Correction
        Leave blame aside, who were the first to offer unlimited support? What has the US offered? After much reluctance it has ‘generously’ agreed to release its stock of AstraZeneca vaccine (whose use it forbids in the US).
        Things could change before long for India to locate itself firmly in Asia.

      • 1
        2

        SJ,

        “Things could change.”

        India will never change. The level of systemic corruption and endemic poverty is unprecedented. In the ideal scenario, China is able to take over India and finally put available resources to good use. Unfortunately, Xi Jinping has clearly stated that China has no hegemonic ambitions. Despite all attempts by the West to provoke China, China so far has shown great restraint. China is starting to show the better characteristics of a superpower which the USA only pays lip service to. USA is crumbling and deteriorating from within. Like the Roman Empire, it is desperate to retain control of its foreign colonies while ignoring the rot at home.

        • 0
          3

          L
          I assume that you are a Buddhist.
          Among the words of wisdom of the Buddha that I cherish most is his teaching on the permanency of change. Everything changes.
          *
          India is not an entity in isolation.
          Like the European public they too will learn what a reliable friend the US is.
          That does not mean it will be “Indi Chini bhai bhai” once again. But things will get better.

          • 2
            3

            SJ,

            India’s real problem is unhindered population growth. Malthus – population growing geometrically, food and other resources growing arithmetically. Leading to some kind of outbreak (war, famine, etc.) among the poor. India has the 2nd highest number of fatalities from COVID-19. Natural selection also works by thinning the herd. War is not as frequent as used to be, so disease is at play.

            • 3
              0

              Lester,
              You talk about India’s population, but then you say:
              “India has the 2nd highest number of fatalities from COVID-19.”
              Deaths per million are only 147 in India, compared to around 1800 in UK/USA.
              When you pontificate, at least get your facts right, as I have told you before.
              BTW, I am quite sure you will start splitting hairs as usual.

  • 5
    2

    Most comments if not all except Evil seems to be in agreement (informed consensus). Simon, thanks for making it simple and thorough. I just have an observation in relation to our Evil. 1) Here is a guy who’s understanding is such he is capable of blaming previous governments for current pandemic crisis. Also I do have real concerns for this guy who seems to severely lack short term memory / recall / registration capabilities but tends to have intact long term memory. In short he does not remember any of the events which took place in past few days or months but tends to confabulate by recalling events occurred years ago. This is a hall mark sign of moderate to severe dementia / memory impairment. These patients do also exhibit paranoid delusions, irrational beliefs, PERSEVERATION, personality changes among others. If so I would prefer him getting help than we having a meaningful discussion with him.

    • 3
      1

      Chiv,
      The Evil Vulture can remember things which happened 2500 years ago, but not what happened 5 years ago.

  • 4
    3

    Oh Dear where do I begin. Of coarse the port City is a good concept for a middle income country like Sri Lanka. Do you know who came up with the idea? Do you know that this was actually a piece of an even more grander plan?? So the article nicely skirts around the important problems that a good project in the hands of a conniving murderer can create. Stating the obvious that it is a good project is besides the point you shameless moron. It is exempt from all our laws. It is to be treated as an overseas territory of China. Mr brain waves forgot to mention these itsy bitsy facts. This is NOT WHAT WAS PLANNED!!. This is a capitulation to Chinese demands our grovelling maniac had to give into, in order to get yet another 500 million dollar loan. The commission appointed to run the place is oh so benign nothing to see here eh! I have never seen such deviousness coming from a so called Dr.

    • 1
      5

      T
      “Do you know who came up with the idea?”
      Please enlighten us.

      • 6
        1

        S.J,
        “Oh Dear where do I begin?”
        Go watch “Love Story”.

        • 1
          0

          OC
          Thanks.
          But I have outgrown sentimental stuff.
          Thiha is interesting, but he is not entertaining my plea.

  • 4
    0

    A developing country like Sri Lanka needs to link up with regional develoopment initiatives in order to develop its own capacities and capitalise from the markets. I cant see how the Port City does either? I understand that Sri Lanka gets about 1% from the earnings in the city/(Correct me if wrong). I also read that SL Tax law does not apply to PC. So, what is the net benefit for Sri Lanka from the Chinese and other investments in the PC? It looks to me that the overwhelming benefit goes to China. If this is the case, why bother? Moreover, it can become a Chinese City at the doorstep of Sri Lanka.

  • 2
    2

    Siri, if IPKF can fight our war why not China. Just recollecting loans will not get China into confrontation , but say if it’s their own assets,investments or property???? You must be aware of the South China sea issues including artificial islands, runways, massive resource / rare minerals / storage sites — and constant tussle with neighbors and the West , to the extent both sides conducting military exercises, flying war planes and display of war ships.

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