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Origins and growth of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna

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THE APRIL 1971 REVOLT – I

By Jayantha Somasundaram

The 50th anniversary of the first JVP insurrection falls today. The 1971 rebellion was the first armed uprising against the state in modern times.

The JVP was the brainchild of Rohana Wijeweera. Born in 1943, at Hunandeniya, in the Matara District, his father was a supporter of the Communist Party of Ceylon (CPC). However, while studying medicine in Moscow, Wijeweera became critical of the Soviet Union, and, on his return, he joined the Communist Party (CP), which was Maoist. Not long after, in 1966, Wijeweera, along with his supporters, broke ranks with the CP to form their own movement, which would later become the JVP. Wijeweera had concluded that the agricultural labourer -̶ the rural proletariat -̶ was the largest and most important component of Sri Lanka’s working class, not the urban or plantation worker.

The JVP was able to attract university students to its cause. It gained recruits at Vidyalankara (Kelaniya) University by winning over students who were members of the PC-supporting Lanka Jatika Sishya Sangamaya (Lanka National Students Society) led by G. I. D. ‘Castro’ Dharmasekera. In 1970, the JVP wrested control of the Samajawadi Sishiya Sangamaya (the Socialist Students Society) at the Peradeniya University; while on behalf of the JVP, Mahinda Wijesekera led the Sangamaya at Vidyodaya (Sri Jayewardenepura) University.

In 1969, Wijeweera organised two Congresses, bringing together all his supporters. At the two-day conference in Madampella, Negombo, the leadership, which consisted of Wijeweera, Sanath, Karunaratne and Loku Athula, along with the District Secretaries, constituted the JVP Central Committee. Later that year, at Urubokka, in the Matara District, the movement took on its final configuration. Five-member cells formed the core structure, overseeing them would be area leaders who were in turn responsible to District Secretaries.

At the Urubokka Conference, the prospect of manufacturing weapons was taken up and the suggestion made that projectiles such as rockets would be effective against the Army’s Panagoda Cantonment, at Homagama. In early 1970, at the Dondra Conference, in addition to collecting and manufacturing weapons, the details of recruitment, training, uniforms, and collecting information on the Armed Forces, were discussed.

 

The JVP’s Ideology

The JVP was critical of the mainstream left parties, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and the Communist Party as they had entered into an alliance with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and would be constituents of the United Front (UF) government, which came to power in May 1970. However, it was in those very areas, that had been worked on by the older left parties for three decades, that the JVP took root.

The JVP leaders, however, were from backgrounds and experiences quite different from that of the old left parties. They did not come from Colombo’s public schools, few of them had been to the British-styled residential university at Peradeniya, and none to Western universities. Many were teachers and students of small-town Central Schools and the Pirivena (Buddhist monastic) Universities. “Unlike the traditional left, the activists of the JVP were the children of the 1956 Sinhala-only struggle, with its attendant limitations and advantages,” writes Michael Cooke in Rebellion, Repression and the Struggle for Justice in Sri Lanka: The Lionel Bopage Story.

The rank and file of the JVP consisted of militant Sinhala-educated young men and women. They were underprivileged rural youth, with meagre job opportunities, constituting a potential army of frustrated school and university leavers. Overwhelmingly Buddhist Sinhalese, they were drawn from marginalised castes. Wahumpura villages in Elpitiya gave the JVP strong support, while, in Kegalle, the Batgam were won over by the JVP. In Sri Lanka: Third World Democracy, James Jupp explains: “The JVP appealed to the Buddhist Karawe, Durawe, Batgam, Wahumpura … both from the Southern Province and the Kegalle District, anti-Govigama feeling was a motive behind the mass recruitment to the JVP in certain villages.”

The JVP endeavoured to recruit sympathisers in the armed forces, with Wijeweera establishing contact, as early as 1965, with Tilekaratne, a rating in the Royal Ceylon Navy. Later Uyangoda held classes for Naval personnel, made contact with Air Force personnel in Wanathamulla and Katunayake, and delivered lectures to them. They also provided classes for soldiers stationed at Diyatalawa.

The Party evolved its own Marxist ideology which was a hybrid. It drew on Trotsky’s criticism of Stalinism and the ‘popular front.’ From Mao it asserted the primacy of the peasantry as the backbone of the revolution. And from Castro it learnt armed insurrection. The JVP training for its cadres emphasised neo-colonialism, attacked parliamentarianism and rejected the mainstream left parties.

In its economic teaching, the JVP differed little from the LSSP or CP. However, they did not only point out the neo-colonial dependence of Sri Lanka’s economy, but identified the UF as part of this neo-colonial system. They called for a halt to the expansion of the tea plantations while advocating the intense cultivation of food crops and the collectivisation of land to overcome landlessness. The JVP in its propaganda organ Vimukthi claimed that “the socialist revolution would succeed in Ceylon only when the oppressed peasantry became politicised … hey are the moving force of the Ceylonese revolution.”

 

Political Growth

The JVP recruited cadres who would attend political training, delivered through five lectures. These covered the economic crisis, neo-colonialism, Indian expansionism, the left movement and the Sri Lanka revolution. Those who completed all five lectures and volunteered for combat, around 9,000, had military training.

It was in tactics, however, that the JVP differed radically from the rest of the left, which had been concerned with trade unions, strikes, rallies and elections. With the passage of time, the JVP evolved a tactic, where they functioned openly as an agitational group, whilst, at the same time recruiting combatants into a clandestine military organisation. They held that the socialist revolution in Sri Lanka would have to be a sudden armed insurrection, launched simultaneously across the country. This is the most advanced and complex form of revolutionary combat.

Their ‘24-Hour Revolution’ was premised on the assumption that the police and the armed forces had insufficient ammunition to survive a simultaneous uprising throughout the country. However they also wrestled with a critical tactical dilemma: “How to attack the government, moving carefully enough not to outpace the disillusion of the masses, yet fast enough to hit before the government struck at it.” (Fred Halliday The Ceylonese Insurrection in Explosion in a Sub Continent edited by Robin Blackburn)

The JVP came into the open, in 1969, through public meetings, the first of which was held at Vidyodaya University. This public profile brought a large number of new recruits whom the leadership claim reached about 23,000 committed members. But it also resulted in the police responding with widespread arrests amounting to about a thousand JVP activists. Fearing all out repression, they established protected villages in remote rural areas, as logistical bases. “The movement took no root in the towns, nor in the industrial coastal areas around Colombo, nor in the Tamil areas,” wrote the Belgian Catholic priest and sociologist Francois Houtart in Religion and Ideology in Sri Lanka.

Shortly before the May 1970 general election, Dharmasekera allegedly informed the Minister of State J. R. Jayewardene, through an intermediaries, of the JVP threat. This triggered heightened interest in the media which gave them the appellation ‘Che Guevarists,’ and the establishment of a special CID Unit, which began arresting JVP members. Wijeweera himself was arrested at Hambantota on 12th May. When he was released in July, Wijeweera launched a series of public meetings across the country, going as far north as Anuradhapura. There was a pause after October and then came a massive meeting in Colombo at Hyde Park on 27 February 1971.

 

The Prelude to the Uprising

The JVP’s highest decision-making body was its 12-person Political Bureau (PB) which, at its Ambalangoda meeting, in September 1970 decided to begin collecting arms, with Loku Athula placed in charge of the armed section and directed to collect 100,000 bombs. At the next PB meeting, held at year-end, Loku Athula reported that 3,000 bombs were ready.

The hand bomb was the JVPs main weapon. But guns and ammunition were also being purchased and stolen and stored by the JVP, in one instance at the Talagalle Temple at Homagama, which was raided by the Police. Uniforms for JVP combatants were being produced secretly, mainly at Vidyodaya Campus; a blue shirt and trouser with pockets, a cartridge belt, boots and helmet. In addition, Viraj Fernando, an engineer who was sympathetic to the JVP, had at Wijeweera’s request went overseas in November 1970 to make contact with foreign rebel groups to procure weapons.

Wijeweera also gave instructions to Piyasiri to build under-ground storage facilities to hide their stock of weapons and explosives, but on 9 March an explosion at one of these hideouts, in Nelundeniya, killed five. This drew attention, nationally to the fact that the JVP was arming itself.

 

Then on the 16 came an explosion at Marrs Hall at the Peradeniya Campus, in a room occupied by Hewavitharne. When the Police arrived and searched the halls of residence, they also found a stock of detonators at Hilda Obeysekera Hall.

A faction, within the JVP, led by Castro Dharmasekera, wanted the movement to remain secret and prepare for guerrilla warfare. But the majority disagreed and Dharmasekera and his supporters were expelled. In response, on 6th March, calling themselves the Maoist Youth Front, they held a demonstration outside the US Embassy in Colombo during which a police officer was killed. Although the JVP denounced Dharmasekera, Wijeweera and hundreds of his supporters were arrested during March, the JVP claimed that 4,000 cadre were now behind bars.

Dharmasekera’s provocation and the bomb explosions led on March 16th to the government declaring a State of Emergency, dusk to dawn curfew and their warning of a JVP plot to take state power. In response, the Army deployed two platoons of the 1st Battalion, Ceylon Light Infantry (1CLI) to the Kegalle District, which would soon become the centre of fierce fighting. This was followed by a further two platoons being sent to Kandy.

(To be continued tomorrow)



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Twenty-five years of private sector-led renewable energy development

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by Dr Tilak Siyambalapitiya

A policy change in 1995 to allow private investments in electricity generation into the grid, a standard agreement and a standard price for electricity produced, enabled such investments to pick-up faster than in other countries. The first mini-hydro power project with entirely private sector funding and private ownership commenced operations in May 1996.

 

The agreement and the price

Dubbed the “most investor friendly agreement in the world”, Sri Lanka’s renewable energy developers were offered, since 1996, a non-negotiable 15-year agreement (20-years for projects signed after 2008). The agreement says, literally, “I will buy all your electricity produced for the next 15 years, any day any time; I will not penalize you for delays in your project or for not producing electricity at all or producing less electricity than you promised; I will not ask you to start or stop your power plant”. There is no other agreement in the business world 25 years ago or now, where such agreements are offered to a seller.

Then the price. The agreement carries a price, which too is not negotiable. It says: “I will pay you a price that reflects the fuel saved in major power plants; in case fuel prices go down, I will not drop the price below 90% of the price when you signed; if the fuel prices go up, I will keep on increasing the prices without any limit”.

I shall buy all your all your product at the following price for 20 years. If you do not produce too, even when I need it badly, I will only greet you with a smile !

Government procurements have to be on competitive basis. This policy of competition was further reinforced by the Electricity Act 2009, required to be implemented by the Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL). The legal validity of such renewable energy agreements and price offers, that make a mockery of rules of “competition”, has been debated in many quarters over the past 25 years.

 

Has it been good ?

Well, yes and no, depending on whom you speak to and your convictions. To the credit of the program, Sri Lanka’s renewable energy development accelerated after 1996. These are smaller power plants using hydropower, wind, wood and more recently, waste. If the government attempted to develop them through a state entity, excessive overheads and inefficiency would most likely creep-in. There would have been a politically appointed Chairman and a fleet of vehicles going up and down, to run a tiny minihydro.

On the other hand, had the state rigidly controlled what is developed and where, renewable energy projects developed would have been more efficient, well-engineered and certainly more environment friendly. Stories are many, where a private mini-hydro project agreed with the Central Environmental Authority to release water for downstream users, but later blocked it 100%. As the saying goes, “Sri Lanka’s streams and rivers are now flowing in tubes”, but we are proud about a vibrant renewable energy industry !

Renewable energy from such smaller private investments reached 1% of total in year 2000 and 4% by 2006. Buoyed by another policy change in 2007 that offered a contract for 20 years and an even more attractive prices, renewable energy from small power plants raced toward a 10% policy target for 2015. It reached the target indeed, with 11% of electricity produced in 2015 from the combined production in 147 minihydros, 15 wind and 3 each of grown biomass, wood waste and solar parks. Unlike many countries who make headlines by stating their renewable energy contribution in megawatt, Sri Lanka’s targets and achievement are stated in kilowatthour, honestly reflecting the true benefits to save fuel and to reduce emissions.

Continuing its race for development, by 2020 (provisional figures) electricity produced from smaller private renewable energy power plants reached 12%. Adding major hydros, the energy share from all renewable energy was 37% by 2020, a share unmatched by all countries and expatriate Sri Lankans that preach Sri Lanka on how to develop renewable energy.

 

Has the price been good to the investor?

The policy of paying renewable energy projects signed over 1996-2016 was to pay the value of fuel saved in the grid, calculated and published in advance every year. Agreements signed after 2007 enjoy an even more attractive pricing formula: a technology-specific, cost-reflective price. That means minihydros are paid a price to make that a profitable investment; wind power is paid to make that technology, a profitable investment.

Once signed, price paid does not change. If costs go up or down after signing, or bank interest rates go up or down, the price remains the same. Fortunately for all who signed in 2008-2009 or later, equipment costs and bank interest rates both have been on a downward trend. Projects that borrowed at 18% in 2018 possibly borrowed at 8% this year, but still enjoy the price paid calculated at 18% interest. By way of equipment costs, solar power has seen the deepest reduction in costs. More on that later.

 

What was the benefit to the public?

Why did the government offer such attractive rates and terms to private investors? Sri Lanka did not throw Rs 10 at renewable energy investors and say “do it if you can”. The key principle in the pricing policy was: price paid makes investments profitable (not just profitable but excessively profitable). The agreement still remains the “most investor friendly agreement” in the world.

In other words, the public of this country, through their electricity bills and through taxes, have paid for the investments, bank interest, and profits (above market rates), to make privately-owned renewable energy an excessively profitable venture. Other benefits of renewable energy need not be repeated here; they are all well known. So what is the benefit to the public who fully paid (and continue to pay) for these investments, of which the ownership is private?

It should be the longer-term benefit of cheaper renewable energy. That’s why the 2008 announcement on the revised policy said as follows: “Renewable energy, which is a natural resource, belongs to the State. Developers are provided with a high tariff to cover their expenses and to earn reasonable profits for an adequately long period (in this case the first fifteen years). Thereafter, the benefit of the resource should flow to the electricity customers, while continuing to provide an operating fee to the small power producers and full recovery of maintenance costs”.

The closest example is the CEB-owned fleet of hydropower plants, which are bigger. The familiar ones are Laxapana, Kotmale and Victoria, among a total of 15 power plants. The public of the country paid for those too, starting from 1950. How? Through electricity bills (because loans and government investments were apportioned between CEB and Mahaweli Authority), taxes and benefits foregone. The major hydros today produce at a cost of Rs 3.35 per unit of electricity. True, that except for Upper Kotmale, all are 20 years or more of age. The fleet of minihydros, too, as they mature into their contracts, after 15 years of good profits to investors, should deliver benefits to electricity customers. That’s why the 2008 announcement said: Therefore, once the developers’ costs and profits are paid, it is inevitable that in the long-term, renewable energy should flow into the national grid at prices significantly lower than the cost of thermal energy.

However, information published indicates that the principles on which small power producers were enabled in 1996 and then enhanced in 2008, are indeed being followed. CEB produces electricity from mature hydros at Rs 3.35 per unit (PUCSL assessment 2019). The price for mature hydropower in the private sector was Rs 5.38 per unit (CEB publication 2019), precisely following the principle of fairness: good profits to investor for 15 years, benefits to electricity customer in the longer term.

As more and more minihydros mature, later wind, biomass and solar projects mature, we should be seeing finally, that ALL renewables produce electricity at prices very significantly lower than all the alternatives. Renewables replace thermal power and we should be paid the same price, will not be an argument, now or then, or in the future. “My power plant is not so good, it does not have water, is not an argument”, because no one defined where to build the minihydro; the investor selected it.

The argument that private renewables can produce below the price of oil, gas or coal does not hold, then, now or in the future. Renewables were allowed because fossil fuels were expensive and bad. The price of fossil fuels comprise royalties, production and delivery costs. If one needs a comparison, royalties for renewables have to be paid to the “republic” (the treasury) and production costs paid by electricity customers. Since royalties are not charged for renewables, both CEB and private, then renewable energy prices should be compared only with production costs. The investment has already been fully paid by the republic.

I conclude with a quotation from the 2008 announcement: “Small power producers opting not to migrate to the new agreement by 30th April 2008, will be offered the tier 3 tariff announced for the relevant technology in the year in which the existing agreement expires, after its full tenure of 15 years is completed”. That means, retiring minihydros should be offered prices in the range of Rs 6 per unit.

It is yet to be seen whether the PUCSL and consumer rights groups are willing to fully and comprehensively understand the issue, step-in, and ensure that “renewable energy belongs to the republic”, as stated in the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority Act 2007.

The country’s streams are now flowing in tubes, but do benefits flow to the public who have fully paid the investors with profits?

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Danger of disregarding Geopolitical Realities

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Negotiating Agreements for Foreign Investments:

By Dr. S.W. Premaratne
Attorney-at-Law

Foreign Policy decision-maker, of a state, have to take into consideration the prevailing geopolitical environment of the international system, and of the region concerned, at a given time, when there is a foreign policy aspect involved in the decision that has to be taken regarding any issue Omission, or failure to give consideration to this aspect of the issue, can lead to disastrous consequences. Several examples from the recent political history of Sri Lanka can be given to illustrate this point.

Sri Lanka’s conduct of foreign policy, in the 1980s, is a clear example of the serious consequences of ignoring India’s concerns regarding Sri Lanka’s pro-West tilt in its foreign policy. Sri Lanka’s declared policy was non-alignment in maintaining relations with other states, specially the Big Powers in the West and the East. However, the J.R. Jayewardene government, that came to power, in 1977, sought to develop a closer relationship with the Western countries, led by the USA. The nature of the interactions between the diplomats of the USA and Sri Lanka, at the time, had given the impression to India that Sri Lanka was seeking the assistance of the USA for suppressing the Tamil militant movement in Sri Lank, fighting for the rights of the Tamil community. There were also reasons for India to suspect that there was an understanding between the Sri Lankan Government and the USA to allow the Trincomalee harbour to be used by the USA. It was this perception of India that Sri Lanka was following an anti-India foreign policy, endangering the security of India that motivated India to intervene militarily in the year 1987 to thwart the progress of the Vadamarachchi operation, aimed at militarily defeating the Tamil militant movement.

After aborting the progress of the Vadamarachchi operatio, the Indian government proceeded to compel the Sri Lankan Government to sign an Agreement – the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of July 1987 – to ensure that Sri Lanka respected India’s security concerns and other interests when seeking assistance from outside Powers for Sri Lanka’s economic development or national security.

 

India’s concerns regarding China’s excessive involvement in Sri Lanka’s development projects

Sri Lanka’s political leaders and diplomats, whenever they get an opportunity, express their affection for their Big Brother, India, and express the need for further strengthening the friendship for the mutual benefit of both countries. India’s perception, however, is that, especially after the change of government in 2005, there is an evolving special relationship between Sri Lanka and China posing a serious threat to the national security of India.

Sri Lanka felt intensely isolated from the international community after adopting the Resolution A/HRC/46/L. Rev. 1 against Sri Lanka, at the UNHRC, in Geneva, in March, 2021, especially because India also decided to support the core-group indirectly by abstaining from voting.

The only consolation for Sri Lanka now is China’s expression of willingness to further strengthen its strategic relationship with Sri Lanka by extending further development assistance to Sri Lanka, within the framework of the Belt end Road Initiative. Subsequent to a telephone conversation between the two leaders, the President of China and the President of Sri Lanka, in a statement issued by the Chinese Embassy in Colombo, on March 30, 2021, it was stated that “China attaches great importance to the development of bilateral ties and stands ready to work with Sri Lanka to determine the strategic direction and achieve steady growth of the relationship. China stands ready to steadily push forward major projects, like the Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port, and promote high quality Belt and Road Co-operation, providing robust impetus for Sri Lanka’s post pandemic economic recovery and sustainable development”. China projecting Sri Lanka as an intimate partner of the Belt and Road strategy indicates that Sri Lanka is distancing itself from the path of non-alignment and adopting an anti-Western and anti-India approach.

In the matter of obtaining foreign investments for development projects, Sri Lanka has failed to foresee the foreign policy implications of overreliance on China. The two massive development projects, initiated during the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration, which came to power in 2005, were the Hambantota sea port and the Port City Project in Colombo. The amount of money invested for these two projects, by China, was so massive that Sri Lanka happened to sign an agreement for permitting the management and control of the Hambantota Port by the state-controlled company of China, under a 99-year lease agreement. The Management and control of the Colombo Port City area also has been granted to the Chinese construction company, under a 99-year lease agreement. Not only India, but also the USA and other Western countries have expressed serious concern regarding the involvement of China in strategically significant massive development projects in Sri Lanka. India’s perception now is that Sri Lanka is an aircraft carrier of China, stationed in the Indian Ocean, close to India. Hambantota Port is viewed as another pearl in the string of pearls maintained for containing India by China.

India is also concerned over the lack of interest on the part of the Sri Lankan Government to go ahead with the development projects regarding which agreement had been reached with India, during the Sirisena-Wickremasinghe coalition government. In May, 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), Japan and India proposing the development of the East Container Terminal jointly, Sri Lanka and Ports Authority retaining 51 percent shares. However, the present Government deviated from that understanding and decided to nominate one Indian investor, Adani Group, disregarding Japan. But, the attempt of the Sri Lankan Government to involve the Indian Company in this project by offering 49 percent of the shares of the ECT was thwarted by the trade union action of the port workers, supported by an influential section of the Buddhist priests and also a section of the ruling alliance. The Sri Lankan government had no alternative but to respond to the demand of the trade unions by getting the Cabinet approval for developing the ECT only by the Colombo Port Authority, without involving India or Japan.

India has also expressed concern over the attitude of the Sri Lankan Government concerning the development and management of the Trincomalee oil tank farm. The lower farm has been managed jointly by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) via Lanka IOC Private Limited. The 2003 tripartite agreement signed by the Sri Lankan Government, LIOC and the CPC covers the entire tank farm. India is now concerned about the excessive delay in granting the Sri Lankan Government’s approval for commencing the development of the Upper Tank Farm, comprising 84 tanks.

Another joint venture, regarding which Sri Lanka sought the involvement of India’s Petronet LNG Ltd. Company, and also a Japanese investor, was the proposed liquefied natural gas LNG terminal that was to be set up near Colombo. Although Indian and Japanese Investors had indicated their willingness to join this project, as partners, the Sri Lankan Government has not yet given its final approval for commencing the construction work.

India is also very much concerned over the lack of progress in the reconciliation process initiated after the end of the war. India’s concern in this regard was expressed very effectively and in very clear language in a statement made by the Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar in the course of a media conference during his two-day visit to Sri Lanka in January, this year. In his statement the Indian Foreign Minister said: “As we promote peace and wellbeing in the region, India has been strongly committed to the unity stability and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. Our support for the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka is long standing as indeed for an inclusive political outlook that encourages ethnic harmony. It is in Sri Lanka’s own interest that the expectations of the Tamil people for equality, justice, peace and dignity, within a united Sri Lanka, are fulfilled. That applies equally to the commitments made by the Sri Lankan Government on meaningful devolution, including the 13th Amendment to the Constitution”.

Sri Lanka should not consider that India’s interest and involvement in the post-war reconciliation process as a case of a foreign country intervening in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka illegally. India is guided by a mindset that there is a moral responsibility on her part to intervene and bring about a final settlement to the conflict in Sri Lanka.

 

Colombo Port City Economic Commission

Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill which was challenged in the Supreme Court, purported to establish an Economic Commission for the administration of the Port City, built by a construction company of the Chinese Government, adjacent to the Colombo Port. This Bill seeks to grant extensive powers to an institution called the Colombo Port Economic Commission, whose members will be appointed by the President of Sri Lanka. According to the provisions in the Bill, the supervisory power of the Parliament of Sri Lanka has been excluded, both regarding the manner of exercising the powers granted by the proposed legislation to the Commission, and also regarding the selection of persons to be appointed as members of the Commission.

Moreover, regarding the activities that take place within the Colombo Port City area, some institutions of the Government of Sri Lanka are excluded from exercising their authority. Dr. Wijedasa Rajapaksa, in his written submissions submitted to the Supreme Court, in connection with the petition filed challenging the Bill, makes specific reference to the Customs Ordinance. He gives the warning that there may be importation of prohibited substances such as drugs, weapons, etc. He points out that in the event of any violation of International Treaties and Conventions, within the Port City area, it is not the Commission but the Sri Lankan Government that is responsible.

 

Conclusion

In view of the intense power struggle between China on the one hand and India and other partners of the Quad, led by the USA on the other hand, for dominance in the Indian Ocean area, the Parliament of Sri Lanka passing legislation for permitting such a high degree of autonomy to an administrative authority that can be controlled by the Chinese government will be considered by India as a serious threat to its security. This pro-China foreign policy orientation will also be an obstacle for Sri Lanka to promote friendly relations with democratic countries in the West determined to thwart Chinese domination in the Indian Ocean region.

 

 

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The Philippines and SL combine

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Singer Suzi Croner (Fluckiger), who was a big hit in this part of the world, singing with the group Friends, continues to make her presence felt on TNGlive – the platform, on social media, that promotes talent from all corners of the globe.

She made her third appearance, last Saturday, May 1st, but this time she had for company Sean, from the Philippines, who, incidentally, was in the finals of The Voice of Switzerland 2020.

Their repertoire, for TNGlive, on the evening of May 1st, including hit songs, like ‘Something Stupid,’ ‘Let Your Love Flow,’ (Sean), ‘If You Can’t Give Me Love,’ ‘Your Man,’ (Sean), ‘Crazy,’ ‘Great Pretender,’ (Sean), ‘Amazing,’ and ‘Stand By Me.’

It was a very entertaining programme, and Sean certainly did prove why he needed to be a finalist at the prestigious The Voice of Switzerland 2020.

You can take in the TNGlive scene, on a regular basis, by joining the Public Group TNGlive, on social media (Facebook).

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