Is this the start of the SJB’s crack?
Will yellow journalism triumph over SL media?
Speaker’s biasness exposed?
Last week, when the Election Commission informed the Supreme Court that there was difficulty in holding the local government elections which is scheduled to be held on March 09, all parties accused that the actions of Finance Ministry Secretary Mr. Mahinda Siriwardena and Mrs. Ganga Kalpani Liyanage had caused the postponement of the elections.
But the country and the world saw several events happening last week that showed that none other than the president is behind the postponement of the election. The first incident reported was that the president made a statement that the election would have to be held next year due to the current economic situation. In addition to this, the President’s statement in Parliament last week that a vote has not been postponed or announced was also the cause.
Protest by opposition
However, when the President announced that the election would have to be postponed until next year, the opposition decided to protest against it across the country. The opposition, which decided to do it inside and outside the parliament, also decided that the entire opposition should work together against the government’s operation to postpone the elections. Accordingly, on Monday, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya took steps to start a massive protest in Colombo under the leadership of the opposition leader, Mr. Sajith Premadasa, and to organize a meeting of all the representatives of the opposition at the opposition leader’s office at 07:00 pm on the same day. The chief organizer of the opposition, Mr. Lakshman Kiriella, was entrusted with the responsibility of organizing this party leader meeting.
Unity of opposition
Accordingly, Kiriella took steps to inform the leaders of all parties representing the opposition about the current situation and invite them to come to discuss the matter. At that moment, he took steps to confirm that many of those who spoke would participate. However, a problem arose when Kiriella called to invite JVP leader Mr. Anura Kumara Dissanayake. On the advice of Mr. Sajith Premadasa, the leader of the opposition, Kiriella called Anura and invited him to come for the discussion. Anura put on his usual smile and said, ‘How can we come, Minister, there is a big war of words between two of us these days…’ But, Kiriella gave a serious answer to this.
JVP dodge the meeting
That’s in the political arena. While doing politics, we all criticize and accuse each other. But this is a question about the country’s democracy. That is why everyone should work together to protect the rights of the people. If you can’t come, at least send a representative to represent your party…’ When Kiriella said this, Anura said, ‘No, I don’t know if any one of us will come there again. So that’s it this time. We will try to send our representative next time.’ According to the answer given by Anura, Mr.Kiriella took steps to inform Sajith that JVP will not participate in this discussion.
Others in opposition agree
However, apart from Sajith, Lakshman Kiriella, Ranjith Maddumabandara, Prof. G.L. Peirce, M.A. Mr. Sumanthiran, Rishad Badiuddin, Palani Digambaram, Rauf Hakeem, Nalaka Godaheva and Chandima Weerakkodi were present. Several other party leaders were unable to participate as they were out of Colombo, but they had taken steps to make telephone calls to Kiriella expressing their agreement with the decisions taken in the discussion.
Accordingly, in this meeting, the party leaders discussed at length the measures taken by the government to postpone the election and the court measures currently being implemented in this regard. In some cases, even extremely sensitive matters were seen being discussed among this group. Everyone emphasized that if this anti-democratic course of the government is not stopped, it is likely to develop into a serious situation, and that all measures that can be taken to stop the course of the government should be taken immediately.
Decided on three Main actions
Accordingly, at the end of the discussion, the party leaders took three main actions. The first decision was to file a case before the Supreme Court against any official or institution of the government that is working to postpone the election. They decided that the same action should be taken regardless of the amount whether it is 25, 50 or more. It was decided that all parties should work together for that, and that this case should be done in such a way that the future governments will not be able to use the money factor as a precedent for postponing the elections.
Inform international community
The second decision was to inform foreign countries against the anti-democratic actions of the government. Proposal from, Sajith said that no matter how hard he tried to solve this locally, the government is not ready for such a thing, so Samagi Jana Balawegaya has to cross that limit. Accordingly, it was decided to inform the international community about this matter separately from Samagi Jana Balawega and all other parties separately.
Harshana to foreign missions
The result was that Harshana Rajakaruna went to all the embassies in the country to inform about the anti-democratic actions of the government. In addition to this, measures were also taken to prepare and send a special letter to all the foreign embassies in Sri Lanka. Although JVP did not participate in the discussion, it had taken steps to complain about this to foreign embassies last week. In addition, steps were also taken to forward a special letter from 85 civil activists to foreign embassies.
The third decision was to unite all the opposition forces together and set up a massive mechanism to defeat the government’s attempt to postpone the elections based on the Samagi Jana Balawegaya. Some party leaders also asked Sajith about the role of JVP there.
Continue urging for election
I have no objection to that. No matter what we talk about on political platforms, there is no way that there will be any problem between us from the point of view of democracy. If the government is trying to destroy democracy, we should all come together and stand against it as one. That’s why I told Mr. Kiriella to invite the JVP to this discussion too…’ Sajith informed the gathering that he will transform the movement around the country, which he started targeting local government elections, into a fight to demand elections.
We will never stop this fight. As a joint opposition, we must fight this battle inside and outside the parliament. Anyway, I have dedicated the next few weeks targeting the vote and using the meetings. Because of that I have no way to stop them. Therefore, I will transform all those meetings into battles to lead the people by asking for votes…’ said Sajith to the gathering.
Severe security checks
However, with the commencement of the parliamentary session on Tuesday, many members of the ruling party had heard that the opposition was ready to protest strongly against the government. Accordingly, what the ruling party did was to apply tighter security inside and outside the parliament than usual. The opposition members were subjected to strict scrutiny and measures were taken to prohibit anyone from carrying any material that is not suitable for the assembly. But Marikkar, Nalin Bandara and Harshana Rajakaruna were able to smuggle in some of them into the assembly area. They managed to take the protest placards prepared against the government’s efforts to postpone the elections, into the assembly without anyone noticing.
Accordingly, with the commencement of the Parliament, the opposition started its protest against the postponement of the elections. Although the three JVP MPs Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Vijitha Herath and Harini Amasuriya were not present in the parliament, all the other opposition MPs stood up from their seats and protested against the government. A large number of MPs were seen holding protest placards.
Session amidst protest
However, despite the opposition’s resistance, the Speaker tried to lead the House with the ruling party, but the opposition MPs came in front of the Speaker’s seat and raised placards to protest to the government. Accordingly, as it was difficult to resolve the situation, the Speaker immediately suspended the proceedings of the House for the day and adjourned the House to the next day. Accordingly, the assembly was limited only for few minutes on Tuesday. Also, the speaker called a special meeting of party leaders at 2 pm to discuss the current situation.
Government Party leaders meeting
Meanwhile, a meeting of government party leaders was also planned to be held at the Parliament complex that day. Accordingly, the President came to the Parliament complex after a few minutes of adjournment due to the opposition’s opposition to attend the group meeting. Already at that time, Mr. Sagara Kariyawasam, the general secretary of Pohottu, called a press conference and issued a statement to the media saying strongly that Pohottu is also against the postponement of the vote, and if such a thing happens, Pohottu will be the first to come out against it.
Mahinda and Sagara in line with government
Apart from Sagara, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa also told the media that the election was not postponed, that the election will be held at the right time, and that Pohottuwa is not afraid of the elections. Accordingly, many people thought that the former president and the general secretary of Pohottuwa would lead a big fight against the government’s program of postponing the elections. But there was something that no one expected. In other words, Mahinda and Sagara were seen consenting to what Ranil said and nodding their heads and laughing without uttering a word about the vote.
Discussion on Port city
As the draft on the port city was scheduled to be debated in the parliament on Wednesday, the president had taken steps to call a special person who is not a member of parliament to the meeting that day. It is none other than Mr. Priyat Bandu Wickrama, who was the subject of many serious allegations during the Rajapaksa government. Priyat Bandu is considered to be a very close member of the Rajapaksa family. During Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government, Priyat Bandu served as the chairman of the Port Authority and as the chairman of the Water Supply Board, and is known to have served in many other institutions.
In addition to this, Priyat, who returned to the scene as soon as Gota came to power, also served as the chairman of the Urban Development Authority? So-called Priyat Bandu Wikram took the initiative to make an entire state to fall out with Sri Lanka by cancelling the famous mono rail project started by Japan and handing it over to China? Currently, Priyat Bandu is working on the Board of Directors of the Port City Project, so that day he came to the Parliament and made a special presentation about the Port City to the government’s group of MPs.
A member of parliament asked what kind of currency is transacted in the port city. Priyat replied that transactions are done here only in dollars and cannot be done in rupees. Laughing at that, Ranil said, ‘If we can move the Parliament inside the Port City, you all also can get salaries in dollars…’.
Will the election be held SB?
After that, SB asked the question everyone was waiting for. It is regarding the holding of local government elections. S.B. Dissanayake asked, ‘Mr. President, will there be an election now?’ He replied smilingly, ‘No, no, I have not said anywhere that the election will not be held. We can’t say that. The Supreme Court should take care of that…’ said the President, and informed Ashu Marasinghe who was there to bring a copy of the constitution. Accordingly Ashu quickly went and brought a copy of the constitution. S.B. said that due to the inability to hold the election, the opposition have planned to file a lawsuit against the Treasury Secretary Mr. Mahinda Siriwardena and Mrs. Gangani Liyanage, the head of the printing press. Ranil said that they are not responsible in this regard.
Article 140 of the constitution
Read Article 140 of the Constitution carefully. In that section, it says who are the authorities’ empowered to conduct an election. It has already been mentioned that the election commission should conduct the election. But the Parliament has full responsibility regarding money. Therefore, if the commission or its chairman, Panchihewa, cannot hold the election due to money problems, they should first inform the parliament. Telling that to Sajith Premadasa cannot solve this problem.
Also, nowhere in the constitution does it say that neither the Treasury Secretary nor the Chief Press Officer should be responsible for conducting the election. That is why you should question in the parliament why the election commission do not tell the parliament that they cannot hold the election. Because they are the ones who have to be responsible for this…’ when Ranil said this, Mahinda and Sagara, who shouted calling for an election for the onlookers to see, could be seen listening to it silently.
Party leaders meeting
After this meeting another special discussion started at 2 pm on the same day. That is the meeting of party leaders. Although the party leaders who represented the opposition continued to point out that there is a need for a debate in the Parliament regarding the postponement of the election, it was clearly visible that the ruling party did not agree to the request at all. They continued to point out that the government is unable to give a debate on postponing the elections. Accordingly, the opposition also held another special meeting that afternoon and decided to comment against the government’s efforts to postpone the elections without talking about it in the debate about the port city, even though the government did not give the opportunity to hold debate regarding the postponement of the elections.
Chairman state finance committee
Last week, a serious conflict arose between the government and the opposition over the chairmanship of the State Finance Committee. Previously, Dr. Harsha de Silva, representing the opposition, served as its chairman. But when the President decided to end the parliamentary session, all committees were abolished, but according to the standing orders, the government had to give the chairmanship of the finance committee to the opposition. Accordingly, the opposition once again proposed the name of Dr. Harsha de Silva for the position of its chairman.
Unlike the COPE and COPA committees of the Parliament, the chairmanship of the Finance Committee is chosen by the Parliamentary Select Committee. If more than one name is referred, a poll will not be held, and this appointment will be made with majority agreement. This appointment will be informed by the Speaker to the Parliament.
Champika to chair the Finance committee?
However, although Harsha’s name was proposed by the opposition for the chairmanship of the finance committee, the problem arose when the opposition received information on last Wednesday that the ruling party was also ready to propose the name of an opposition member. In this regard, during the discussions held among the opposition members of the Parliament, one of the members said that the government is preparing to propose the name of Mr. Champika Ranawaka.
But since it was only a rant, it was seen that the opposition did not take it seriously. However, during the first discussion to select the chairman, the chief organizer of the government, Mr. Prasanna Ranatunga, suddenly proposed the name of Mr. Champika Ranawaka for the position of chairman, and everyone was surprised. When Harsha immediately asked Kiriella about this, he also said that he also did not know whether the story was true or not, and that the government had suggested Champika’s name. Accordingly, Harsha immediately called Champika and inquired whether the matter was true or not.
My name has been proposed by the opposition for the post of Chairman of the Finance Committee. But now your name has been proposed by the government. When Harsha inquired, Champika replied that he is not ready to accept the position, and that he would not mind if Harsha de Silva held the position of chairman of the finance committee. Accordingly, Harsha immediately inform Kiriella about this.
Not in the minutes
However, this became another serious crisis when Harsha’s name was proposed and confirmed for the position of Chairman of the Finance Committee, but it was not announced by the Communication Unit of the Parliament. Accordingly, Harsh and Kiriella, who were alarmed, immediately called the communication unit of the Parliament and asked why the name was not published. Their reply was it was not in the meeting minutes therefor not published. But Kiriella, who objected to it, said that there should be written notes that Harsha was appointed to that position, and if it is not there, there will be a serious problem with the parliamentary notes.
Serious Issue with parliament notes
Previously, 03 weeks ago, we revealed through this column that a serious situation arose due to the lack of proper recording of matters in the parliamentary notes. What happened there was that a group of people took steps to prevent some of the matters mentioned by the opposition leader from being recorded in the parliamentary notes in protest against the government’s decision to appoint new members for the Election Commission. Accordingly, on that instant too, we revealed how the opposition leader expressed his strong objection to the Speaker and to the Parliamentary Secretary General Dhammika Dasanayake in this regard. We also reported how the Secretary General of the Parliament expressed his regret about the mistake that happened there.
However, when Kiriella asked the Secretary General of the Parliament again about these minutes, he also said that the information regarding the appointment of Harsha de Silva should be contained in the minutes. If so, when Kiriella questioned why it was not there, the Secretary General again said that he would discuss this matter with the speaker and give an answer.
Prasanna- Champika- Wimal – Harsha!
Accordingly, when the opposition once again questioned this matter in the parliamentary meeting held on Wednesday, Prasanna said without mentioning Champika’s name that the government is working to nominate a representative of the opposition. There, not only Harsha but Wimal also got up and questioned Prasanna asking him to mention the name of the opposition member. But Prasanna did not disclose the name of the opposition member to be nominated by the government. And Champika had never mentioned that he would or would not accept that position.
An invisible hand
However, later the minutes of the selection committee were brought and the opposition took steps to investigate whether everything that was said on that day was recorded in it. There they also saw that the minutes clearly stated that Harsha’s name had been nominated for the post of Chairman of the Finance Committee. If so, the opposition had confirmed that Harsha’s name was not announced by the Parliament’s communication unit and that some invisible force was haunting it.
Once again Govt. oppose Harsha
The second committee meeting held on Thursday. Although the opposition once again proposed Harsha’s name for the post of chairman, the ruling party strongly protested against it and said that Harsha cannot be given that position at all. It was also mentioned that the government is ready to propose the name of another member of the opposition instead. To everyone’s surprise, the government once again moved to propose the name of an opposition member for the chairmanship of the finance committee instead of Harsha’s name.
Government nominee !
He is none other than Mr. Mayantha Dissanayake, who was elected to Parliament from the national list of Samagi Jana Balavega. At the same time, the MPs who represented the opposition looked at each other’s faces because Mayantha Dissanayake had never informed the party in this regard. Accordingly, when Kiriella and other opposition members protested, the speaker said that since Mayantha had also given his consent, it was decided to give him the chairmanship of the finance committee.
Story behind Mayantha
So what really happened? How did Mayanta get involved with the government? We engaged in a special investigation on this last week. There, we were able to find out how Mayantwa was included in the government’s plan. Accordingly, this operation has started on the 8th , when the President closed the Parliament session and restarted it. As the opposition had decided to boycott the parliament that day against this action of the president, only the members of the ruling party were present in the parliament.
Johnston the schemer ?
Due to the absence of members of the opposition, a special group meeting of the ruling party was held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Dinesh in committee hall number two. Johnston Fernando, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Prasanna Ranatunga, Vajira Abeywardena and many other senior MPs were also present. While various issues were being discussed, there was also a special discussion about the names of the members to be appointed for the committees of the new parliament. When the MPs were proposing the names of various MPs for the respective committees, Mr. Johnston Fernando strongly said that the ruling party should take control of these parliamentary committees, and that if they go about giving important positions to the opposition under the pretense of democracy, it will not be possible to govern.
Accordingly, Johnston was of the opinion that the chairmanships of all committees should be reserved for the ruling party. Johnston pointed out to everyone that if the opposition protested, the standing orders should be suspended and the chairmanships of those committees should be obtained for the government.
Suspension of Standing orders!
Although most of the MPs approved Johnny’s speech, Prime Minister Dinesh and House Leader Susil Premajayant also expressed their strong opposition to it. Dinesh and Susil, explained to Johnny and others of the group that the government had to face serious problems even in front of the international community because of the manner in which the speaker acted last time by suspending the standing orders. Therefore, Dinesh and Susil were of the opinion that the standing orders should not be suspended.
But even though Dinesh and Susil expressed their opinions like this, Johnny’s was firm that somehow the ruling party should get the chairmanships of all these committees. Johnny then said that since the opposition is going to propose the name of Dr. Harsha de Silva to the Finance Committee of the again, someone from the opposition who is friendly to the government should be appointed to that position. Then when several names were suggested, Johnny and Vajira said that Mayantha Dissanayake was the most suitable person.
When the group of government MPs were debating on this matter, Johnny got up and came out of the meeting. Johnny immediately made a phone call to Professor Ashu Marasinghe, who was an advisor to the President.
‘This cannot be done like this, Ashu. These people are not doing what the President wants. When I said that the government should take the power of all the committees of the Parliament, the people here say other things…’ When Johnny said this to Ashu, he was on the upper floor of the Parliament at that time; he immediately rushes through to the hall where the committee meeting was held. Accordingly, Johnny said to Ashu there that Mayanta should be appointed to the Finance Committee and steps should be taken to bring its control under the control of the government.
Accordingly, the group started the operation of appointing Mayanta as the Chairman of the Finance Committee from there. A message from above had also informed the group of MPs that Mayantha was suitable for it. Thus, there was a special reason for selecting him for the position. That is because Mayantha has been working under several leaders and parties instead of staying in one place.
As everyone knows, Mayantha is the second son of Mr. Gamini Dissanayake who was one of the senior members of the UNP. Accordingly, Mayantha, who started his political journey from the UNP, later joined the United People’s Freedom Alliance government to strengthen the hands of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa along with Mr. Karu Jayasuriya, father-in-law of his brother Navin Dissanayake. At that time, the photo of Mayantha taking over the post from Mahinda got a special place in the media. That is because Mayantha has bowed down to Mahinda and received the appointment letter.
Later, Mayantha, who joined politics with the United National Party, finally stopped with Sajith Premadasa, the leader of Samagi Jana Balawega. Sajith not only brought Mayantha to Parliament from the national list, but also took steps to hand over the leadership of the party’s youth organization to him. However, in the end, Johnny and Vajira succeeded in the operation and Mayantha decided to accept the position.
Secret exposed finally
However, although this incident remained a secret, on Thursday, a very reliable information received by a certain person said that the government had planned to propose the name of Mayantha Dissanayake for the post of Chairman of the Finance Committee that morning. Accordingly, this special person immediately took steps to inform the opposition leader Mr. Sajith Premadasa and the chief organizer of the opposition, Mr. Lakshman Kiriella. Until then they knew nothing of the matter, and even after being informed of the information, it was so implausible that they did not pursue it.
However, the situation changed completely when the Parliamentary Committee met for the second time to discuss this matter. There too, when the opposition proposed the name of Harsha, to everyone’s surprise, when the ruling party proposed the name of Mayantha, the eyes of the opposition representatives went to their foreheads. Here, the opposition strongly objected and said that this is a completely distorted situation, and according to the standing orders, the representative with the majority agreement of the opposition should be appointed to that position, not the opposition representative with the agreement of the government.
Refuse to resign
However, Gayantha Karunathileka MP immediately made a phone call to Mayantha and asked if this story was true or not and took steps to give the phone to Kiriella. Realizing that the story was true, Kiriella told Mayantha to immediately resign from that position.
‘This is a very dirty job politically. As a party, we took a decision to appoint Harsha de Silva to this position. It is completely wrong for you to join the government and accept this position without telling us. So withdraw your name immediately. The other is that you have gone here and there once and tarnished your name. At least now, behave honourably …’ when Kiriella sternly told Mayantha, Mayantha did not listen to Kiriella’s advice and replied that he would accept the position.
When all this happened in Colombo, Sajith was addressing political gatherings in the north Accordingly, when the incident was confirmed to Sajith, he also called Mayantha and informed him not to do this.
‘Don’t do this, brother. I brought you from the national list to the parliament and entrusted the youth organization of the party to go on a big journey. So stop what you are doing immediately. When Sajith said, ‘Resign from that position immediately…’, Mayantha also informed Sajith about the reasons for accepting that position.
I did not ask for this speaker offered it!
‘This is not something I have accepted. The speaker called me and said that there is a problem regarding the position of chairman of the Finance Committee, and if that problem is to be solved, you should accept this position. That is why I accepted this position. But I also understand that this is confusing. Mayantha informed Sajith that he will leave this…’. Accordingly, Sajith thought that Mayanta would resign, but something completely different happened. The first meeting of the Finance Committee was held on Thursday evening, and Mayanta, who had said that he would resign, surprised everyone by going to the committee and taking the chairman’s chair.
Decided to boycott!
However, when this series of events happened like this, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya group of MPs also gathered inside the Parliament and engaged in an unofficial discussion on this matter. There, everyone said with one voice that if Mayanta takes over the position of chairman of the finance committee as per the government’s wishes, they should boycott all those meetings.
According to the decision, it was a notable incident that when Mayantha was in the chair of the finance committee, no member of Samagi Jana Balavegaya was present. Apart from the ruling party MPs, only Rauf Hakim, Champika Ranawaka and Chandima Veerakkody were there representing the opposition. There, Mayantha sat in the chairman’s chair with great expectations, but seeing that none of the opposition members were there, it didn’t take a moment for Mayantha to realize that things were in a mess. Johny and Mahindananda, who saw Mayantha sitting in the meeting with a confused face, got up and boosted Mayantha up and expressed their views.
‘You are the only one who deserves to do this. Because you are Gamini Dissanayake’s son. Gamini Dissanayake is a leader in the hearts of the common people of this country. Also, you understand English. Therefore, you are the best person to hold this position…’ while Johnny and Mahindananda were talking, everyone else was silent.
Sajith call again to Mayantha
However, before a moment, it was reported to Sajith that Mayanta is sitting in the chairman’s chair of the Finance Committee after breaking his promise. Accordingly, Sajith made a call to Chandima Weerakkodi’s phone immediately after the meeting was over. Sajith told Chandim to give the phone to Mayantha. Accordingly, Sajith, spoke to Mayantha, again told him not to do this, to resign immediately and move forward with SJB.
‘Yes, I also understand that I cannot do this. Because there was no one from our party in today’s meeting. I cannot do this by angering the party members. Mayantha said to Sajith, “I will leave this…” but Mayantha had not left the post of chairman till Friday evening.
Fake news media
Controlling the media and publishing the news they want is something that has been seen more or less in all the governments of this country throughout the past. Whether it is state media, private media or international media, trying to build a separate opinion within the country by capturing the journalists who write in them and publishing the news they want is a matter that has been widely experienced throughout the last few months under the current government.
In some cases, rulers have even published false information through their friendly media without regard for the consequences. Some media also published to please the minds of news controllers, not knowing that people would leave the media after it was proven to be false, not knowing that such events would shatter people’s trust in the entire media. However, due to certain privileges granted by the rulers, it has recently been observed that certain media have been behaving in a way that is destroying the entire media fraternity.
News on LG election
We have taken steps to reveal to the country on numerous occasions through this platform how the so-called national media of this country has published a lot of lies, particularly regarding the local government elections. Some media outlets in this country reported on the election, the election commission, and the law without regard for the honour, safety, or independence of the commission’s members.
Fake conference news
Also, we have revealed not once or twice through this channel that the government had taken steps to publish this kind of false news by capturing not only the media of this country but even the international media in some cases. The Reuters news agency, which has gained great fame internationally once published a news saying that the government of Japan has decided to hold an international conference on the payment of Sri Lanka’s debt in Japan coinciding with President’s visit to Japan.
Although Reuters published this news due to someone’s whims and fancies, it turned out to be a lie after Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi issued a statement denying it. There, the Japanese Foreign Minister told Reuters that Japan has not held any discussions about Sri Lanka’s debt payment, and that a debt payment conference has not been organized in Japan, thus undermining the world’s trust in Reuters.
IMF facility news
In addition, the Reuters news service published several such blatant lies regarding the loans of the International Monetary Fund. The first of these was when the representatives of the Financial Fund visited Sri Lanka on September 1, 2022, when Reuters reported that the Financial Fund had reached an agreement with Sri Lanka regarding an emergency loan. At the same time, Mr. Peter Brewer, the team leader of the Financial Fund, who came to Sri Lanka, said in a statement that everything is still at the negotiation stage and no such agreement has been reached so far.
Also, on September 24 of last year, Reuters published another similar falsehood based on IMF, stating that by the end of that year, the financial fund give 2.8 billion dollars to Sri Lanka. But we pointed out on the same day that it was completely false news on the basis of a latest report presented by the Central Bank itself. The report said that even to complete the negotiations with the IMF have to wait at least up to the first quarter of 2023.
However, with the confirmation that many of the stories published by Reuters are false, it has been observed that Reuters has been more cautious when publishing news about Sri Lanka in recent weeks. However, another well-known website in the world, ‘Bloomberg,’ published false news about Sri Lanka last week.
It is also based on the loans to be given to Sri Lanka by the International Monetary Fund. There, Bloomberg said that the Financial Fund has started negotiations to provide loans to Sri Lanka without the ten-year loan guarantee to be provided by China, and that the loan amount will be released in March.
With the publication of this news by the Bloomberg website, Sri Lankan media quoting the news carried out a large campaign in Sri Lanka, creating an image within the country that the financial fund’s discussions were successful, that the loans were about to be released, and that the financial fund was ready to give loans without China. Simultaneously, the government issued a statement stating that the negotiations had been successful, that the money would be received by March, and that transactions with the financial fund could be conducted without the involvement of China.
IMF Srinivasan’s comment
This false news, however, lasted only two days. In a discussion led by representatives of the Financial Fund last Thursday (23) in India, it was revealed that this news is completely false. According to Krishna Srinivasan, Director of the International Monetary Fund’s Asia Pacific Department, the best way for Sri Lanka to ensure IMF facility confirmation is to wait for China’s guarantee.
Srinivasan said that he also saw this Bloomberg report and said that it is not an official statement. He also requested the media not to rush to speculate that the IMF’s executive board will consider the next step before receiving the necessary certification from China. Accordingly, it was confirmed that the Bloomberg website about the money provided by the financial fund was a blatant lie.
But the sad thing was that the media of our country, which took the original Bloomberg story and gave it a lot of publicity, did not give it such publicity after the news turned out to be a lie.