Written by Staff Writer
17 Feb, 2020 | 9:20 pm
Colombo (News 1st): Several factions today (Feb 17) protested against the imposition of travel restrictions on Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva and his family, and demanded that the restrictions be lifted.
Venerable Elle Gunewansa Thero noted that even if this government has plans to sign the MCC, SOFA or ACSA agreements, they cannot do so, because of them. He added that this matter was discussed in the political arena and the US government is aware that achieving their target is a difficult task. He noted that this is an attempt to enter the country through different means. He urged the present government to refrain from signing such agreements and to reject them completely.
The Thero noted that they are prepared to protect the country together with everyone who rejects such agreements. He said currently all politicians are only worried about winning their seats in the election. He said they are not concerned with national issues. Therefore he once again urged them to intervene and look into the problems of this country, if not, he said the public will reject such politicians in the upcoming general election.
Defence Secretary Kamal Gunaratne also spoke regarding the issue.
” His family members have been banned too. I don’t understand where justice can be found in that decision. Shavendra Silva is a person who served this country. During the end of the war, his elder daughter was in Grade 5. His younger daughter was in Grade 3. It has to be viewed with utmost condemnation if those innocent children to have been banned from entering the United States. When I called him, he said that he has done his duty to his country. Therefore these things are not problematic to him. he said that if the people of this country can travel safely today, that alone is enough for him.”
Commenting on the issue Dr Nalaka Godahewa noted that the United Nations Human Rights Council received proposals based on a fraudulent document. He said this document was compiled by the former High Commissioner of the UNHRC. He stressed that the document says that Sri Lankan soldiers have committed war crimes during the latter part of the war, that is, torture, abduction, enforced disappearances.
Godahewa went onto note;
” A document filled with such false claims was handed over to the UNHRC. But that report was appreciated and accepted by the then Government instead of rejecting it. Then Minister of Foreign Affairs was Mangala Samaraweera. Based on that document, a proposal against our country was put forward to the UNHRC. It was that proposal which was implemented during the Good Governance Government for 5 years. It was only because our then Government accepted the fact that our soldiers committed war crimes, that such allegations are now being leveled against Shavendra Silva.”
Speaking in Colombo today UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila questioned as to what court gave the verdict of Shavendra Silva being a war criminal and as to what are the war crimes that were committed by Shavendra Silva alone that bans him only from entering the United States? He stated that the U.S. should provide answers to these questions. He stressed that when taken into consideration the bloodshed that the U.S. has committed, the U.S. is the number one war criminal in this world.
Speaking about the matter UNP MP Ajith P. Perera said this is not an issue that cropped up now. He said, on one hand, he can see this as a conspiracy to strengthen the political activities of Gotabaya Rajapaksa who has close ties with America because there is no reason whatsoever for such an issue to crop up now. He added that this is what they meant when they spoke about the risk associated with America. He stated that this is the interference of America in the internal politics of Sri Lanka when a former citizen of America becomes the president of the country.
Convener of the Voice Against Corruption Wasantha Samarasinghe also spoke regarding the issue;
“Now we must see if this is a trick played before elections. We remember how 5 days after the April 21st attacks happened, Robert O. Blake arrived in the country and asked that Gotabaya Rajapaksa should be elevated to the Presidency. Now this same Robert O. Blake, when the MCC agreement is due to be signed, bans Lt Gen Shavendra Silva from entering the United States. But neither the President nor the Prime Minister utter a word. Now our problem is whether even this is being used in the name of patriotism. It is very simple. In the Philippines, the former Police chief that led the operations against the drug menace, what did the Philippines do when he was banned from entering the United States? They asked the US to keep their visa and refused the agreements. Sri Lanka is kneeling before America. Why are they appointing Commissions about MCC that they said they will throw it in the trash? They have to state in public that they will abolish the ACSA and SOFA agreements. They won’t say that either. It is clear that a Government that will not state they will remove themselves from these political deals, will not be able to fulfill the aspirations of the people.”
The preliminary report of the four-member committee appointed to review the proposed Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact (MCC) was handed over to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat today.
The four-member committee was commissioned as of the 1st of January 2020, based on a Cabinet decision made on the 18th of December 2019.
Prof. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan of the University of Colombo was made the Chairman of the Committee while former Secretary to the Ministry of Transport Dr D. S. Jayaweera, President’s Counsel Justice Nihal Jayawardena and Architect Nalaka Jayaweera are its other members.
The complete report is due to be handed over to the President within 4 months.
The Leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Anura Kumara Dissanayake expressed these views at a meeting in Anuradhapura last afternoon.
, They said they will establish patriotic governance. They built this as an American/Indian Government. This Government was brought in by America and India. Why? Is it because Ranil Wickramasinghe is upset with America? No. Ranil is an American agent. If America asks him to jump once, he asks why not three or four times. He asks whether he should hold his ears too. Under Ranil Wickramasinghe’s tenure, they carried out an American, Indian Economic, Political and War strategy. But they couldn’t fulfill that objective. Whether it is because Ranil disliked it or whether it was because Ranil was too weak, I do not know. 4 years have passed since 2016. Ranil could not sign the MCC agreement. The SOFA agreement was brought forth in 2017. But up until 2020, it could not be signed. Ranil agreed to give the Mattala airport to India. But for three years he was unable to give it in. Why? Was it because he was unwilling, or too weak? He allowed the Indian NTC group to build a power plant in Sampur without calling for tenders. The ACSA agreement is the only one that Ranil was able to sign with the Americans. It was signed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa in 2007. 10 years later it was extended in 2018. So then India and America thought that if they want to take forward their military and economic agenda with no challenge, that they must bring forward the Rajapaksa’s. One individual states that the MCC agreement is 30% bad and 70% good. I saw one Mr. Semasinghe convene a press briefing and state that the President and the Prime Minister were never opposed to the MCC agreement. One Professor says that the President must not work according to us, but that he must work as the President. One Priest states that there is a need for Dollars as there is a shortage. He is speaking of the $480 million that is due to be received. The committee report will only be received after April. When is the election? April 25th. Remember, they will sign the MCC agreement after the general election. Their patriotic skin is shedding.”
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