Written by Staff Writer
13 Aug, 2018 | 9:02 pm
Colombo (News1st) – In a backdrop where clinical waste from India is washing up on the shores of Puttalam, concerns have been raised that radioactive waste may be dumped in the country through legitimate channels.
These concerns have arisen due to certain provisions in the Singapore-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement. These provisions are contained in pages 70 and 71 of the agreement.
According to Nalaka Jayaweera an activist on international trade agreements, the FTA includes provisions for the disposal of pharmaceutical waste, medical waste, sewage, municipality waste as well as radioactive waste. He noted that the subject minister argues that the same provisions are present in the Indian and Pakistani FTA. Responding to this argument, Jayaweera stated that the Singapore FTA liberalizes both goods and services, unlike the previous FTAs. These services include garbage management.
Convener of the Voice Against Corruption, Wasantha Samarasinghe states that very soon Sri Lanka will be identified as a suitable dumping ground for nuclear waste. He noted that the Sir Lanka Singapore FTA grants tax exemptions at Ports and Airports for nuclear waste to be brought into the country. He noted that this is an irresponsible act on the part of the government and it will lead to a very serious situation in the country in the future.
While several parties have made submissions with evidence, speaking in Parliament recently, Minister Malik Samarawickrema, the most prominent backer of the Singapore-Sri Lanka FTA stated that false allegations have been made that the Singapore FTA would pave the way for waste to be dumped in the country.
In light of the mounting evidence against the Minister’s assurances, can the people continue to place their faith in him?
Will the public believe the statements made by Minister Malik Samarawickrema, given the fact that a draft of the hastily signed agreement should have first been presented to the Cabinet of Ministers including the recommendations of the Attorney General?
Their loyalist Arjuna Mahendran, was touted as a clean professional and was appointed as Governor of the Central Bank, following which he proceeded to rob the people of their money – Isn’t he now in hiding with the blessings of such Ministers? Are they not the same individuals who testified to the purity of Mahendran in Parliament not once or twice but on multiple occasions and sought to protect him?
These are the same individuals who arrogantly disregarded the exposé of fraud surrounding the Central Expressway project and sought to provide the contract to companies of their choosing. The Minister speaking in this manner of Free Trade Agreements is the same Minister who allowed a local assembler to establish an investment project in Kuliyapitiya, using the name of a globally renown car manufacturer.
It is not a secret to the people of this country that these are the Ministers who are now carrying out deals with individuals who maintained accounts in Dubai during the Rajapaksa regime. Whilst such exposés have been repeatedly brought to light and the public’s opposition has been disregarded with arrogance, isn’t it time now for the public to make a decision regarding such individuals?
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