If a case has really been filed in a Singaporean court as claimed by the minister and the members of the ruling party to compensate for the damages caused to the marine ecosystem due to the shipwreck of xpress Perl, the leader of the National Freedom Front Mr. Wimal Weerawansa demanded the minister to submit the case number and a copy of the case to Parliament. .
We quote below the letter that the MP sent to the Minister of Justice, requesting that information be provided.
Mr. Vijayadasa Rajapaksa,
Minister of Justice,
Ministry of Justice
No. 19, Sangharaja Mawatha,
Express Pearl Preserving transparency in environmental damage compensation process
The possibility of prosecuting the Express Pearl disaster in Sri Lanka is time-barred in as little as 10 days. The environmental damage caused by this ship, which caught fire on May 20, 2021, burned for 12 days, and sank completely in Sri Lankan waters on June 02, is considered to be the largest marine pollution in recent world history. The expert committee appointed by the Marine Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA), the central agency responsible for Sri Lanka’s marine environment, has estimated the environmental damage caused to Sri Lanka alone as 6.4 billion dollars due to this fire.
The recommendation of the former Chairperson of the Marine Environmental Protection Authority was that the prosecution of this destruction on the coast of Sri Lanka should be done in Sri Lanka. Also, the expert committee appointed by its current chairman is of the opinion that it is best to file a case in Sri Lanka. The “Sectoral Oversight Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development” appointed by the Parliament has also recommended that it is appropriate to prosecute in Sri Lanka. The government should first reveal to the people on what reasonable grounds it was arbitrarily decided to carry out the relevant proceedings in Singapore, despite the unanimous decision of all the agencies that have the constitutional responsibility to take action regarding this accident and the authentic experts.
According to the Constitution, it is the responsibility of the Parliament to exercise the sovereignty of the people through the courts. Also, when the government has taken decisions contrary to the recommendations of authoritative institutions and authentic scholars on the subject, the right of the people to know why it was done so, as well as the responsibility of the government to explain to the parliament, which represents the sovereignty of the people, that the relevant decision is justified is also intertwined.
- “As the Minister of Justice, has a case been filed in Singapore in this regard as indicated to the public by you and the government representatives?” To confirm that
- If a case has been filed, the case number and a copy of the case (petition) should be submitted to Parliament immediately.
- “On what scientific facts, recommendations and precedents was the decision taken, overriding the institutional and expert recommendations that have been made to assign the relevant case in Sri Lanka?” I also request to disclose to the people and to the Parliament.
“Since these companies are registered in Singapore, it is preferable to file lawsuits in that country” has already been rejected because the representatives of those foreign companies are already appearing in the lawsuits filed by other organizations in this country.
Also, if for any reason the compensation in this case is not received or if Sri Lanka receives a very minimal nominal compensation, who will be responsible for the transfer of the relevant case to Singapore? I also emphatically recall that the government is obliged to ensure the transparency of the Express Pearl compensation process by immediately disclosing to the public.
Wimal Weerawansa (MP)
National Freedom Front,