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Detrimental Acts & Agreements turning Sri Lanka into a US colony & Western base in Asia

Sri Lanka is not just a country. It has a very long history & heritage that majority of citizens wish to preserve. The constitution clearly enshrines the Land & Resources as belonging to the People and for future progeny. A government is only custodian of the land & resources. Essentially this denies any Government arbitrarily taking decisions that would affect the clearly stated premise that the land & resources belong to not only the living citizens but to future citizens too. 83% of land is vested in the State for the people means that no law can be changed to deceitfully enable foreigners to buy State land being privatized via hurriedly rushed Bills prepared by foreigners. When laws that prevented foreigners from owning/buying land are being relaxed to enable foreigners and foreign companies to buy land while simultaneously 83% of state owned land is being privatized – it clearly showcases the hidden intent. Why are lawyers not taking these fundamental facts to legally address the illegalities taking place?

Let us connect the dots and understand the dangers we are today faced with following the Land Special Provisions Act being tabled in Parliament formulated by foreigners and question why they should be so interested to take so much trouble to formulate land laws for our people’s benefit unless there’s a catch – which is what we need to find out by connecting the dots to all the new changes being made to our statutes by arm twisting our corrupt politicians to sign the seal of approval.

Land Special Provisions Act

Includes virtually all elements that is differently worded in past Acts related to land. The only new element in this Act is the PROVISION TO SELL LAND which did not exist in earlier Acts.

Moreover, the new Act carries various strings & regulations that would adversely affect poor farmers leaving them in worse situation than they are in now and with no one to turn to for relief – as the Act removes land powers from the Centre and the President.

This is the most dangerous aspect of the new Land Act.

Why is this Land Special Provisions Act only valid for 7 years – is the plan to acquire all land within this stipulated period?

The present land Act is going to throw to the dustbin the following existing laws/Acts

  • Land Acquisition Act 1950
  • Prescription Ordinance 1871 – already repealed
  • Land Reform Law 1972
  • Land Grants Act 1979
  • State Lands Act 1979
  • State Lands Ordinance 1947
  • Land Development Ordinance 1935
  • Partition Law 1977 – already repealed

Already co-ownership has been nullified by 1998 Land Act.

State Land Privatized means, Personal Laws apply – ETHNIC LAWS are a violation of the Constitution

When 83% of state land becomes privatized it means ‘personal laws’ apply – in other words Thesavalamai and Muslim Laws enables or restricts sale to others which means non-Tamil/non-Muslim owned lands will be up for sale – this is a fundamental right violation of Sinhalese and a discrimination to them and violation of the Constitution giving equal rights to all citizens. Why are politicians silent on this key aspect?

Who are the people deciding – a whole list of Secretaries are named – is this an opportunity for more people like the Speakers international advisor to betray the nation for foreign interests?

Is the new Act a Trojan horse? The Land Bank Act claims to consolidate all state land given to corporates and sub-leased by them … but then why is Millennium Challenge Corporation (a US state dept entity) seeking 10 land registries. A country must have only 1 land registry! Isnt this a violation of Act 21 / Land Registry?

Moreover why does the new Land Act claim that after 10 years the registry will be destroyed – removing all evidence of land records? What kind of guinea pig is the US taking Sri Lanka for?

When reading the Act, it is clear that even the Judicial powers have been usurped. How can an Act take away the powers of one of the 3 main pillars of a democracy?

BIM SAVIYA

World Bank used the argument of helping digitalized Sri Lanka’s land records to bring a new land law that would in future benefit US. In 1998 US was able to get Sri Lanka to pass The Registration of Title Act 21 of 1998 known as ‘Bim Saviya’ & initially financed by World Bank under Chandrika Kumaratunga presidency. Bim Saviya mandates all lands (primary lease/secondary lease – sub leased or sub-sub-leased) to be registered in ‘Land Registry’ with plan of land, parties to the Agreement. How is it that such details are not available already for people to question transactions!

Similar Land Acts have been set up with US assistance in 51 sovereign nations

The land ownership certificate issued by Bim Saviya would enable land owner to transfer or sell land to anyone within 1 day!

By 2017 – 27 of the 43 land registries have been converted to ‘Bim Saviya’.

Judiciary removed of powers to adjudicate land disputes

The Act removed Judicial powers to decide on ownership of land and passed powers to the Minister of Lands who cannot be held accountable for granting ownership of land to anyone.

Bim Saviya law facilitated land sale. US surveyed Sri Lanka’s land computerized means, any foreigner can access land and purchase it influencing the Minister!

Bim Saviya makes Minister of Lands immune from prosecution for land transactions

People no longer could challenge ownership of disputed land by seeking judicial intervention.

It is no coincidence that the State Printing Dept has been brought under Ministry of Lands by special gazette notification in April 2019.

World Bank & US pumping money

World Bank view was that ‘Land’ was a commodity to be bought & sold! However, in Sri Lanka & countries with historical heritage ‘land’ is considered sacred and selling of land to foreigners is ‘unthinkable’.

Role of Trimble / Land Surveying by US

Is it a surprise that Wickremasinghe’s LTTE-linked financial advisor proposed to give Sri Lanka’s Survey Department to CIA Partner company Trimble Inc to do aerial survey & mapping of Sri Lanka? Trimble is a close associate of ‘Raytheon’ US spy agency. Trimble specialized in GPS & drone technology. Isn’t Trimble a threat to Sri Lanka’s National Security when Trimble surveys Sri Lanka’s land, uses GPS & Raytheon that can not only create catastrophic weather conditions but carry out drone assassinations too!

Note Land Ministry website mysteriously crashed for nearly a month!

The Ranil Wickremasinghe Govt has outsourced land surveying to US company Trimble. Over 80% of Sri Lanka’s land belongs to the State (the citizens of Sri Lanka)

Foreigners can own land

In 2015 the Ranil-Sirisena govt permitted foreigners and foreign-owned companies to buy & own land overruling Act 38 of 2014 (Restrictions on the Alienation of Lands in Sri Lanka to Foreigners)

Foreigners given up to 5000 acres of land to carry out projects… how can foreigners enjoy such land ownership only if it is privatized and out of State control.

Foreigners can do business without paying 100% tax on leasing of land (public-private partnership agreement)

What is the solution?

Amend Bim Saviya and restore authority on land to Judiciary and revoke powers given to Minister of Lands. File FR in courts enabling judiciary to refer to Case Law.

Sri Lanka’s Constitution / ‘Colombo International Financial City’ Bill.

Drafted by Baker Mackenzie (US law firm with US State Dept) at a cost of $1.2m

Sri Lanka’s constitution states all land belongs to the people & land is held in custody by the Government for the People.

However, Baker Mackenzie proposal grants 269hectares which can be sub-leased to any person, company or country for 200 years with provision to annex territory within Sri Lanka.

The new constitution drafted by the threesome who drafted the 19a (Jayampathy-Sumanthiran-Pakiasothy as claimed by President Sirisena) proposed to devolve land powers to provinces. Had this new constitution gone through the annexing of land would have become a piece of cake.

This Bill repealed provisions in the ‘Crown Land Ordinance No 12 of 1840, Land Settlement Ordinance No 20 of 1931 and Act No 8 of 1947 which gave the President powers over land.

Amending – Paddy Lands Act, No. 1 of 1958 and the Agricultural Lands Act, No. 42 of 1973 to allow the farming of alternate crops. Encouraging cash crops and GMO crops is to export food and eventually ruin our fertile soil.

Release of state lands for foreign ownership – 2017 budget announced removal of restrictions limiting land ownership rights of listed companies with foreign owners / yahapalana also removed restrictions on foreigners purchasing condominiums below 4th floor.

Removing taxes on lease of land to foreigners & removed restrictions on ownership of investments enabling foreign companies to set up shop & reside in Sri Lanka which will impact small & medium local industries. Offering 5 year multiple visas to foreign investors & their labor confounds matters further. Tax concessions & visa extensions were given to those who invested over $1.5m

Special Deposit Account Act in 2017 that allows foreigners with a deposit of $500,000 to obtain resident visa to a period of 10 years. Spouse & minors also eligible to stay. These foreigners can also invest in Sri Lanka. No State monitoring authority is mentioned in act.

Millennium Challenge Corporation & Economic Corridor where American law will apply for 200 years – transnational companies will all gobble up the land!

MCC is a US state dept entity, US Secretary of State is the Chair of the Board of Directors. It is proposing a 200miles long stretch of land from Colombo to Trincomalee via Dambulla comprising 1.2m acres of mineral-rich & ancient heritage lands. Japan is chipping in with an electric fence along the railway track which virtually means anyone attempting to cross it will be electrocuted. State Land Bank Bill (will register all State lands & powers to a Land Reform Commission and enable public institutions to lease lands by repealing Part 4 – 6 of the Land Reform Act No 1 of 1972 (removes foreign ownership limit of 50acres), Land (Special Provisions) Bill are statutes being changed to facilitate this project.

ACSA & SOFA (Visiting Forces Agreement)

Why promote in secrecy if harmless.

ACSA apparently has already been signed in August 2017. SOFA will enable US boots on Sri Lankan soil and be given full immunity for any crime. ACSA will enable any military equipment to be flown into Sri Lanka without Sri Lankan permission or check. All these have direct impact on Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and are a national security concern given America’s bad record of illegal interventions and also America’s role in protecting US transnational corporations.

A closer look at how US operates globally, it is not difficult to realize that US government operates globally via US companies, NGOs and faith-based organizations all of which are given US government troop protection – with MCC land privatization project and ACSA and SOFA what it means is that not only does US plan to take over strategic land areas across Sri Lanka but it will ensure its investments are protected by its own troop presence who will have immunity for whatever crime it commits.

Is it now too difficult to connect the dots & understand the underlying dangers for Sri Lanka & its citizens?

 

Shenali D Waduge

 

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