Written by Staff Writer
08 Jul, 2019 | 9:15 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The Prime Minister’s Office has responded to a letter sent by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce regarding the proposed SOFA Agreement and Millenium Challenge Corporation proposals.
The Chamber’s communication requested an explanation of the Government’s stance on the matters.
Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Dr Hans Wjesuriya, in a letter, addressed to the Prime Minister, stated that agreements relating to SOFA and the Millennium Challenge Corporation compact should be made more transparent.
A response to Dr Wijesuriya was sent by Secretary to the Prime Minister E.M.S.B. Ekanayake, on the Prime Minister’s behalf.
It states that no cabinet proposal pertaining to the SOFA Agreement has been presented to the cabinet by the Defence Ministry.
However, the Secretary to the Prime Minister stated that a sum of US$ 490mn was provided by the US government as a grant.
The prime minister’s secretary stated via his letter that Dr Wijesuriya is posing these questions with the motive of aiding personal political agendas.
Along with the letter, Dr Wijesuriya has also attached documents that show the discussions surrounding Millennium Challenge Corporation compact, and the institutions and people who took part in the discussions.
Professor Tissa Vitharana, Leader of Lanka Sama Samaja Party and the Leader of Democratic Left Front Vasudeva Nanayakkara shared their thoughts on Dr Hans Wijesuriya’s request for transparency and response to it from the prime minister’s office.
Professor Tissa Vitharana noted that he knew Dr Hans Wijesuriya from his time at the Ministry of Science and Technology and he trusted Dr Hans Wijesuriya to be a responsible person. He added that the response from the prime minister’s office was humorous and evasive. He noted that the response clearly stated that the Defence Ministry and the cabinet is unaware of the agreements which State Secretary of the US Mike Pompeo is to visit Sri Lanka and sign.
Leader of the Democratic Left Front, Vasudeva Nanayakkara noted that their denial of SOFA is a parody as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already presented an overview of the SOFA and acquired approval from the cabinet. He added that the people of the country had a right to know the contents of the SOFA.
Dr Hans Wijesuriya is a leading Business personality who has served in some of the largest business organizations in the country. He has been widely acclaimed for his work not only at home but also in the region and internationally.
His questioning of the Prime Minister with regard to these two agreements is for the benefit of the country, and not for his own benefit.
Instead of providing a direct answer to the questions that were raised by Dr Hans Wijesuriya, it is unfortunate to see one stooping down to such low levels, where they throw allegations that are political in nature, at a leading businessman and an institution such as the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
One fact is clear. The Prime Minister is coordinating the Millennium Challenge Corporation compact within Sri Lanka.
Is it acceptable to sacrifice the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, merely for the purpose of political mileage?
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