Mar 23, 2017

Cabinet decision disregards president’s observations in H’tota port matter! Featured

In total disregard of an observation note made by president Maithripala Sirisena on March 20 following lengthy discussions with regard to the handover of Hambantota port to a Chinese company, a cabinet paper submitted by minister Malik Samarawickrema has been declared as a cabinet decision, say sources at the Presidential Secretariat.

The media has reported the ministers have approved Samarawickrama’s cabinet paper and also that the president has appointed a ministerial committee comprising Sarath Amunugama, Arjuna Ranatunga, Champika Ranawaka, Susil Premajayantha, Faizer Mustafa, Ravi Karunanayake, Malik Samarawickrema, Sagala Ratnayake and Mahinda Amaraweera to take action and do evaluations with regard to the agreement.

However, a serious question remains as to whether that cabinet paper has actually been passed.

In his observation note, president Sirisena has instructed that due attention be paid to a cabinet paper submitted on behalf of the port minister by acting minister Nishantha Muthuhettigama and observations made by minister Ranawaka, and also that no hasty decision be taken, but should make a positive and lengthy consideration of the agreement and the matters contained in it that relate to defence, finance, foreign affairs and other ministries.

According to Muthuhettigama’s cabinet paper, the ports minister and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority have raised deep regret over the content of Samarawickrema’s cabinet paper.

Ranawaka has observed that the port cannot be leased out to a Chinese company without first adopting the Port Authority Act.

Noting that only the jetties could be leased out, he has warned this agreement would endanger national security, law and order.

The Chinese company in question has assured the president, prime minister and other government authorities that it would agree to any condition that would be laid down by Sri Lanka, but it is highly questionable as to why such an agreement disadvantageous to the country is going to be signed, a senior minister told Sri Lanka Mirror.

Given below are some observation notes made with regard to the cabinet paper in question.

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