Written by Staff Writer
05 Nov, 2019 | 10:46 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st):- The BASL, issuing a press release said, it had been reliably informed that the Finance Ministry was in the process of making arrangements to sign the MCC today (November 5). However, the government rejected such claims and said the MCC was not signed today. The press release issued by the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, PC Kalinga Indatissa, urged the President and the government to refrain from signing the MCC.
It further urged the President to immediately inform the MCC and the US Government that even if the agreement is signed it would be rescinded with immediate effect if the signing is done without presenting the agreement before Parliament.
Convening a media briefing today, MP Bandula Gunewardena made the following request from the President:
“This is an agreement that should not be signed, and should be subjected to a debate in parliament. The President says as this draft should be first presented in parliament and subsequently be approved after the including amendments, he does not agree with the inclusion of the MCC as a prior condition to the draft act. See how critical is this matter? The President says, he is against such matters that take place without proper transparency.”
Meanwhile, Venerable Ududumbara Kashyapa Thera launched a fast-unto-death protest against the proposed Millenium Challenge Corporation agreement at the Independence Square in Colombo.
Further in response to media inquiries if the government has any plans on signing the MCC agreement today, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development, Patali Champika Ranawaka said that they did not have any plans to do so since this is a democratic country and that the document has to be first be made open to the public since they have nothing to hide.
“In 2007, the ACSA agreement was signed by two US citizens, without informing the parliament or cabinet. Gotabaya Rajapaksa then served as the US Ambassador. But our government will not do anything like that. The MCC agreement is now open to the public. We will then present it in parliament. Anyone can file a case against it” – he added.
However a question prevails, if Gotabaya Rajapaksa is elected as President, will he abolish the proposed MCC agreement? This matter was discussed at several places today.
Venerable Bengamuwe Nalaka Thero said that Gotabaya has clearly stated that he will not proceed with any foreign agreements that were signed in the past or due to be signed, which will have detrimental effects to the country while only resorting to sign agreements that are beneficial to our nation.
Responding to media queries, the Thero said that they should be very careful and not get fooled by such agreements and only use it for the benefit of the nation and if not simply abolish them. Venerable Bengamuwe Nalaka Thero further said that if and when they decide to go ahead with a detrimental agreement that they will always intervene in the matter.
Meanwhile JVP Parliamentarian, Bimal Rathnayake speaking about the matter said;
“This is the SOFA agreement. The first agreement that betrayed the sovereignty of our nation, when it was signed by Chandrika Bandaranaike in 1995. At that point, Mahinda Rajapaksa served as a cabinet minister. Even after Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected as the president, this agreement was not abolished. This agreement signed in 1995, gives powers to the US military to enter Sri Lanka without any passport or visa, and bring any equipment or vehicle into the country. This agreement is still in effect. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the defence secretary for ten years, why did he fail to abolish this agreement? This is ACSA, the other agreement that was signed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Sri Lanka was the first in south asia, to sign such an agreement. This agreement was signed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, while Mahinda Rajapaksa served as the president of this country. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was a US Citizen then. This agreement was signed without informing the cabinet. So where exactly has the Rajapaksa’s spoken against this agreement?”
Venerable Seelarathana Thero speaking on the agreement says that the present government led by the prime minister, is prepared to sign the MCC and that the reasons for them to rush into signing are because once they do so all information regarding Gotabaya Rajapaksa can be obtained. Meanwhile, UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra publicly invited Gotabaya Rajapaksa to make a public pledge to say that he will not sign the MCC agreement when he comes into power.
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