Written by Staff Writer
30 Apr, 2014 | 9:49 pm
Minister of Investment Promotion Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane says that there has been no official announcement that prominent Australian investor James Packer has suspended the Crown project he was to establish in Sri Lanka.
The Minister made this statement following inquiries made by News1st, regarding media reports that the project had been abandoned.
Major protests were held in the recent past against the granting of tax holidays for the Crown Sri Lanka Hotel Complex proposed to be constructed on D.R. Wijeywardena Mawatha in Colombo, under the Strategic Development Projects Act.
The protests were prompted by allegations that the project would establish casinos in the country.
However, the government reiterated that authorisation for the establishing of casinos would be not be given, and tabled the relevant orders under the Strategic Development Projects Act in Parliament on Friday, with amendments.
However, Australian media reported on Wednesday, that uncertainty has arisen around the project. Minister of Investment Promotion Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena expressed these views on the matter, on the Press Release programme, telecast on Sirasa TV on Wednesday morning.
Minister of Investment Promotion, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena expressed following views:
“ We did not facilitate James Packer to establish casinos in Crown in any way. It is possible that the investor could abandon this project owing to the influence in the country and the wrongful opinions. There are plenty of other countries where he can invest without any problem. “
He added: “ They could take these investments to those countries. If the Crown Corporation takes such a decision, those who create such unnecessary opinions in the country based on lies must take responsibility for it. The Finance Director of the Crown Corporation will have to inform us that they will not be investing in Sri Lanka.”
Meanwhile UNP Parliamentarian Dr. Harsha de Silva expressed his views on this issue.
He said:“Be it James Packer, casinos, or anything else – gazette announcements are released in accordance with agreements struck between the investor and the government and they are thus provided the promised tax holidays.”
He noted: ” They are trying to say now that the agreements struck with James Packer on the 27th of June 2013 to establish casinos, is now invalid. So, James Packer says that it cannot be invalidated in this way. What has happened here is that there has been a breakdown in trust between the investor and the government.”
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