The government was stripped of its clothes after feasting with borrowed money says the Information Secretary of the JVP Vijitha Herath.
Speaking at a special media conference held at the JVP head office at Pelawatta today (20th) Mr. Herath said, “The CHOGM pageant held with pomp and ceremony has been concluded. What was left behind was Mahinda Rajapaksa becoming the Chairperson-in-Office for two years, British Prime Minister David Cameron making a special statement, James packer making a special statement to the business community and signing of several agreements with Chinese businessmen who have nothing to do with the commonwealth.
Despite Mahinda Rajapaksa becoming the Chairperson-in-Office, Queen is the head of the commonwealth. The summit only consolidated colonialism. Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, treated Sri Lanka as one of his colonies. We saw many pageants and mimes. None of the state leaders stated that Britain is wrong to continue with colonialism. No one said Britain should withdraw from the leadership of the commonwealth. The patriots of Uva – Wellassa who were annihilated by the British colonialists were betrayed. Mahinda Rajapaksa who was appointed Chairperson-in-Office should have told that having queen as the head was wrong. He could have made it an opportunity to say to Britain to return all treasures stolen by the British colonialists from our country. He could have asked Britain to return treasures plundered from countries that were subjugated by Britain. There are many treasures stolen from Sri Lanka in British museums. It is very deplorable that none of the state leaders made any statement referring to plundered treasures from countries that were made British colonies. Sri Lanka fulfilled the goal of providing a catering service.
All countries that participated in CHOGM had their own goals. The goal Australia had was to bring down James Packer’s casino business to Sri Lanka and stop unemployed Sri Lankans from going to Australia illegally. Discussions were held and two used boats were presented. The goal Britain had was to get the human rights issue discussed in CHOGM. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s goal was to get the chairmanship of the commonwealth.
Even the government is unable to say how much money was spent for the summit. Various ministries spent billions. No money was allocated for CHOGM from last year’s budget. The normal financial process is to allocate money from the previous year’s budget for a summit of this magnitude. However, the government did not have any estimate regarding the costs. Billions were spent for cars, fireworks and the web site. People are burdened with this colossal expenditure. During the CHOGM the price of big onions increased to Rs.260. The government doesn’t have a methodology to recover the money spent for CHOGM. The only way is to burden the people with more taxes.
The government said various things before the CHOGM. Keheliya Rambukwell said 37 Heads of state will attend. However, there were only 25 state leaders including Mahinda Rajapaksa. All the others were prime ministers, foreign ministers and high commissioners. G.L. Peiris said government’s international popularity could be seen from the attendance of state leaders. The least number of state leaders participated in the CHOGM held in Colombo.
What would happen to the vehicles brought down for CHOGM? Minister Keheliya Rambukwella had said they would be given to ministries. President’s Secretary and Basil Rajapaksa say they were imported by private institutions and were rented out to the government. The vehicles would be handed back to the private institutions. This is a blatant lie. The 54 Benz cars were imported by the Ministry of Finance. There is a letter sent by the Department of National Budget to Customs requesting tax relief. Customs documents indicate the Ministry of Finance is responsible for all transactions including payments. It is evident that the vehicles were imported by the government. Giving these vehicles is another issue. How could these private institutions given unlimited tax concessions? It is a big loss for the government. Are those private institutions owned by government henchmen? The tax relief for Benz cars is Rs.750 million. A Benz car is worth Rs.35 million. If these private institutions sell these cars they do it with tax added to the cost. It is a wrong process. What government should do is to auction the vehicles according to an accepted process. Or will these vehicles get divided among family members? There is a talk going round that when the cars are divided among family members, ministers would not be left with anything.
The special item in the CHOGM account is the statement by David Cameron. No country has the right to interfere in internal affairs of another country. We are an independent, sovereign state. The standpoint of the JVP is that. If Cameron is making such statements thinking that Sri Lanka is still a colony of the British empire, we say he has no right to do so. However, the government is responsible for getting Cameron to make such statements. He talks of international probes. If the government, accepted the programme presented by the JVP immediately after the war and had appointed a ‘truth commission’ to find solutions of masses who were distressed due to the war, Cameron would not have got the opportunity to make such a statement. Cameron arbitrarily made statements. Making such statements and the government paving way for such statements are both wrong. Political parties affiliated to the government are now making a big noise. They were silent and not at the scene when the government rolled out red carpet to welcome Prince Charles. Now they are making a big din. However, they have agreed for international probes in writing.
After the war, when Ban Ki-moon was here the government signed a joint statement. It stated the government would act according to international law. Also, promises have been made to act according to the 13th amendment. Darusman report is prepared according to this agreement. Navaneedham Pillay quotes this agreement at the Human Rights Commission in Geneva. After the CHOGM all heads of state have agreed to a document with 98 clauses. The 39th clause of this document clearly states Heads of commonwealth countries are committed to work with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and implement the accepted recommendations. This is a reference to the human rights report presented by Human Rights Commission against Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has confirmed its agreement to this. Making statements to the media would not change anything now. At the Human Rights Commission Navaneedham Pillay would definitely quote this document.
Clause 35 of the document states ‘Heads of Government reaffirmed their belief in the rule of law as an essential element for the protection of the people of the Commonwealth and as an
assurance of accountable government. They also reaffirmed their support for an independent, impartial, honest and competent judiciary, recognizing that an independent, effective and competent legal system, prioritizing timely administration of justice, is integral to upholding the rule of law, engendering
public confidence and dispensing justice.’ They also agreed to uphold Commonwealth Latimer House Principles.
As such, commonwealth countries are able to question interference on the judiciary. Also, according to
clause 36 the government of Sri Lanka agrees to enact laws related to human rights agreements. The government agrees but later violates them.
The government to get the chairmanship gave visa to Callum Macrae. He was told “come and see’. He was invited to Sri Lanka to see what he wants. However, government goons blocked him going to the North at Anuradhapura. This exposed the country to the whole world. The real state of the country was displayed to the whole world. The government created valuableness to Channel 4 that did not have much recognition. The government created more issues by allowing Callum Macrae into the country. The documentary presented by Channel 4 recently included scenes of sex abuse during the war. The government failed to counter it diplomatically. In clause 66 of the CHOGM 2013 communiqué the government agrees to investigate ‘sexual violence in armed conflict and as a weapon of war’. The government signs agreements secretly but violates them in the open.
The President of Mauritius did not attend CHOGM held in Sri Lanka. He said protecting human rights is more valuable than having CHOGM in his country. As a result, Mauritius will lose the opportunity to hold CHOGM in 2015. However, he stood for his country’s human rights.
James Packer’s entrance is another ‘gain’ Sri Lanka is left with after CHOGM. He said Sri Lanka is a ‘leading tourist Mecca.’ He said Sri Lanka would become another Macao. Macao is an island full of casinos and prostitution. Is Sri Lanka becoming a country like that a thing to be proud of? We should be very unhappy. James packer who made the key note address at the business forum of the CHOGM said Sri Lanka is an excellent place for investing in casinos. G.L. Peiris and Nimal Siripala de Silva listened attentively to James packet making such statements at the business forum.
In the end the government stated that several Chinese businessmen signed several agreements. The government tries to show this as a gain from CHOGM. China is not a country in the commonwealth. Many agreements have been signed with China. The government could have convened a separate business forum to sign agreements with China. That would have attracted more investors.
What did we gain by holding the CHOGM? It was reconfirmed that Sri Lanka is still a colony. The country would be a nursery for casinos. Billions have been wasted. The country was slandered internationally as a country without human rights. The government feasted with borrowed money. Those who were invited for the feast stripped the government naked. In the end the government feasted with borrowed money and got its clothes removed.
The Member of the Central Committee Ramalingam Chanderasekar also addressed the media.