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Confrontationism

Ministers Prof. G.L. Peiris and Rohitha Bogollagama (and lately Mahinda  Samarasinghe) have taken umbrage over the European Commission’s (E.C.’s) decision to temporarily suspend the G.S.P. + facility to Sri Lanka, with the former even threatening to go to courts over this issue.

On Thursday, it was reported that Bogollagama had summoned the European Union (E.U.) Ambassador in Colombo to announce the Government’s displeasure over remarks he had made of the right of retired men in uniform to contest elections.

This muscle flexing posturing, especially by Peiris, appears to be more of a rabble rousing political gimmick, with the Presidential elections due next month in mind, and not for any other reason, and thus cannot be taken seriously.

It’s a well known fact that the G.S.P. + duty free concession has benefited at least three sectors in the economy; garments, ceramic and fish exports to the E.U.
Garments are also Sri Lanka’s biggest source of foreign exchange, with this sector providing employment to 300,000.

These recent developments have taken place in the context of these pages, i.e. in The Sunday Leader issue of December 13, 2009; quoting a recently released labour report, which has said that the most number of job losses in the island were reported from the garment sector in the first half of this year.

What is alarming is that those job losses have taken place while Sri Lanka was still enjoying the G.S.P. + duty free facility in its exports to the E.U., the island’s single biggest export destination.
In the backdrop of the recession, while Sri Lanka’s garment exports to the E.U. has grown thanks to G.S.P. + this year, exports to the U.S.A.,  Sri Lanka’s second biggest export destination, has however suffered reversals.

It’s therefore a pity that Peiris, being Sri Lanka’s Export Development Minister, should shout his mouth off, by threatening to take the E.U. to court, like pouring oil on troubled waters, by only make matters worse for Sri Lanka and for its people.

It appears that the only persons who may have to take the possible cancellation of G.S.P. + seriously are the affected employees and their families who would be hit if this suspension does really take place, and there are hundreds and thousands of them, literally speaking.

The politicians and the Government, which the masses elected to power, to ensure their wellbeing and growth, both economically and socially, have, sadly seemingly forgotten this part of their stewardship, for which purpose alone they were elected to power by those very people, whose future now appears to be bleak.

As such what has to be taken seriously is the possibility of the E.C.’s recommendation to the European Council of the temporary suspension becoming permanent in nature.
But if the elected representatives of this island who have been entrusted with Government, are not serious about those frightening developments, to whom then can the masses of this country turn to for succour?
The European Council, which comprises the member states of the E.U., is expected to act on the E.C.’s recommendations by a simple vote, and according to E.U.’s Ambassador in Colombo Bernard Savage, the Council generally goes along with the recommendations made by the E.C.
This process takes two months, and in the event the Council decides to suspend the G.S.P.+ concession, that would be effective six months from the time the Council takes such a decision, i.e. eight months time from now onwards.

A ceramic exporter told this newspaper that even in the interim eight month period before the suspension becomes final, Sri Lanka still has a chance of mending fences with the E.U., by engaging in a dialogue, rather than by being confrontationist, thus paving the way for the possibility of the G.S.P.+  suspension becoming  permanent, null and void.

But this is precisely what the Government is not doing. Instead it’s adopting a confrontationist posture with the E.U.
Is the reason for adopting such a defensive attitude because it has already given up hope of salvaging G.S.P. +, even at the eleventh hour?

Is it that it has run out of ideas in dealing with the E.U. in this tight situation, the salvaging of which is vital for the country and for hundreds of thousands of its citizens, whose very survival rests on its continuation?

Or, is it that the Government has become anaesthetised, that it does not feel for the sufferings of the masses, so as to be insensitive in regard to the importance of the G.S.P. + facility to the common man?

If that then is the attitude of the Government, which appears to fight shy of putting its best food forward on this issue, i.e. if it has such a one, for the good of its people, then is it fit to govern is the question?

2 Comments for “Confrontationism”

  1. PROFESSOR PEIRIS IS INCREASINGLY BECOMING PROFESSOR OF LIES AND SHOWING HIS LACK OF KNOWLADGE ABOUT THE SUBJECTS HE IS SPEAKING ABOUT.IS HE SHOWING HIS OLD AGE OR JUST INGORENT?.HE IS A WELL KNOWN POLITICAL JUMPER FOR PERSONEL BENEFITS AS SO FAR TWO TIMES MADE JUMPINGS TO GET MINITERIAL POSTS.DON’T SURPRISE AFTER ELECTION,IF HE JUMP TO UNP AGAIN FOR TO BECOME MINISTER.

  2. justitia

    Laws should be enacted to implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which sri lanka is a signatory. The PTA and emergency should be repealed and Rule of Law under the normal laws of the land enforced. Those in custody against whom no indictments have been filed for an year or more, should be released with a condition for them to report at any police station once a month. This will almost halve the prison population, saving much resources and releiving unnecessary human misery.Laws’ delays should be addressed vigorously, by appointing more judges and building more courthouses. Once this is done, sri lanka will take its place in the honoured fraternity of nations which practise justice and fairplay for the betterment of their citizens.
    GSP plus and all other economic priviledges will be enabled.

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