JVP lobbies MPs to oppose Port City Bill
By Treshan Fernando
The JVP urged all MPs to vote against the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill on 20 May. Addressing a press conference yesterday (16), JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva alleged the Government is trying to pass the Colombo Port City Bill in Parliament, in the midst of the chaos of the COVID-19 third wave. He further said a request made by JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake to the Government to postpone the vote on the Bill had been denied.
Due to travel restrictions, Silva argued, it is not possible to even inform the public through discussions or any other channels and the public cannot express their opposition to the Bill by protesting either. This Bill has many drastic implications on the Sri Lanka’s political and economic state as well its sovereignty, Silva noted. He added that as a result, such a Bill should be given ample time to be discussed and analysed by the public.
However, the Government has decided to debate the Bill on 19 and 20 May and is hoping to pass it through a vote on 20 May, Silva said. This comes at a time when the public is in fear of COVID-19 and is unable to focus their attention on the Bill, claimed Silva. On 18 May, the Speaker of Parliament is to reveal the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the Bill, Silva added. However, this decision only relates to whether the Bill is in violation of the constitution and not it’s other ill effects, he further noted. As a party, the JVP opposes this Bill for several reasons, Silva explained.
The Colombo Port City (CPC) being governed under a different set of laws, the likelihood of money laundering, the inability to collect taxes from this zone and the fact that a special commission is to being appointed by the President are some reasons, he stated. He stressed that once this Bill is passed, it is impossible to reverse the decision. He urged MPs to vote against the Bill, saying that those who claim to be patriotic should prove it by voting against a Bill that may cause dire consequences for the country. Silva argued the Government should be happy to postpone and have an open discussion instead of rushing if there is nothing wrong with said Bill.