03 January 2020
HAMBANTOTA PORT AND TNA LEADER’S HOME FACILITY
Once I said to a relative by marriage that I preferred to be with friends than with relatives. My relative in law said that she preferred the other way around. Now years later, I have more relatives and the lady has more friends in our respective current environments. Relatives are part of our family structure and their positions carry strong Energy from the past. A structure helps us minimise waste of Thoughts and therefore Energies.
The allocation of home in Colombo, to TNA leader Mr Sampanthan has been raised by some Sri Lankans including Tamils living overseas. https://www.tamilwin.com/politics/01/235151?ref=home-top-trending
Was it a bribe or shared leadership that Ranil-Sampanthan depicted since 2015. The following by Sunday Observer of 30 December 2018 captured the essence of this:
[Sri Lanka is a land like no other, says the slogan promoting tourism. That must indeed be so. A few weeks ago, the country had two Prime Ministers. Now, we have two Leaders of Opposition!]
Given the National Political Leadership available to Sri Lankan citizens, the example that we could relate to this would be the Hambantota Port Deal with China – whether it was Debt or Equity Sharing?
In his article ‘The Hambantota Port Deal: Myths and Realities’ published by The Diplomat - Umesh Moramudali’ states:
[In that sense, the port lease cannot be interpreted as a debt-equity swap, which refers to a cancellation of debt in exchange for the equity of an asset. In this case there was no cancellation of the debt.]
Equity is permanent relationship whereas debt is limited to the term only. An owner has shares in everything. Not so a creditor. Umesh Moramudali states further:
[Instead, a 70 percent stake of the port was leased to China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited (CM Port) for 99 years for $1.12 billion. This $1.12 billion, however, was not used to pay off the debt obtained to construct the port. This significant dollar inflow was used to strengthen the country’s foreign reserves and make some short-term foreign debt repayments. To be precise, it is fair to say that the money earned from the Hambantota port deal was largely used to cover balance of payment (BOP) issues resulting largely from the soaring debt servicing cost while Sri Lanka’s export and FDI inflow growth remain sluggish.]
To the ordinary Sri Lankan mind, heavy expenditure in war would have contributed to the above need for money.
One driven by strong policy and therefore would not go up and down with outcomes and v.v. The Jaffna Tamil parallel of Equity v Debt is Dowry v Donation.
Did Mr Sampanthan therefore get to enjoy the status of Opposition through that home facilitated by UNP led Government or was it a bribe? As per surface reading -those to whom China money was just a debt without any hidden agenda – it would seem like a bribe due to Mr Sampanthan being in Tamil Opposition. But those who read deeper and fear that the 70% leased to China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited (CM Port) for 99 years for $1.12 billion is very close to shareholding, the above ‘home’ would confirm common share in Tamil Sri Lankans represented by TNA. This recognizes TNA to be Sri Lankan and has the natural power to prevent Separation.
It suits the separatist agenda to classify it as bribe. The money offered to Opposition MPs to switch parties – during the 2018 Constitutional Crisis – was Bribery which confirmed the governance structure of the Rajapaksa side. The 2005 Presidential elections were won through similar trade-off with LTTE leadership. Tamils & Sinhalese who suppressed that have no right to publicise their conclusions beyond their friendship circles.
When Mr Sampanthan retires, he shares with us as well as the UNP the rich heritage he has developed in Common Sri Lankan Politics. This means the minds of all Sri Lankan Politicians who contributed to a healthy debate as Equals – through a democratic structure. Like the spouse who sees our other side, Tamil Opposition is the bridge between us and how we are seen by wider world. That home confirms the nuclear value of Sinhala-Tamil politics presented by UNP.