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Wednesday December 7th, 2022

Organizers of the P2P march claim resounding success as Muslims join Tamils

Last year’s P2P march going through Jaffna town. The protestors demanded, among other things, justice for missing persons. Image credit: Twitter

ECONOMYNEXT – The organizers of the so-called P2P March are calling it a “huge success” and that the protest united the minority communities in the country as they travelled from Pothuvil in the Eastern Province through Mannar to Polikandi in the Northern Peninsula.

Batticaloa Member of Parliament from the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi Rasamanickam Shanakyan, one of the leaders of the march told EconomyNext that the crowd “exceeded our expectations.”

He said that “minority leaders” from various parts of the country joined the march and at the end, the gathering “numbered tens of thousands.”

The efforts in previous years to gather large crowds for the march had failed but this time the crowd was unprecedented, local journalists said.

The march was joined by some prominent Muslim leaders including former Governor Azad Sally. En-route support was shown by the Muslim community and political leaders including Ameer Ali in Batticaloa and Imran Maharoof in Trincomalee the organizers claimed.

An organisation called the North-East Tamil Civil Society Forum set out a number of demands in the beginning of February in a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner.

Among the demands is the cessation of the destruction of Hindu temples and the building of Buddhist temples on those sites.

The forum accused the government of using the Archeological Department to claim many of these sites were originally Buddhist.

They also said the government was militarizing the North and expanding state-sponsored Sinhala settlements.

A Muslim boy holds up a placard protesting the compulsory cremation of Covid dead/Journalists for Democracy

The forum also protested the compulsory cremation of the Covid dead saying that it goes against the religious beliefs of the Muslim community and the wishes of the families.

It also included a demand for the release of Tamil youth who were imprisoned under the Prevention of Terrorism Act decades ago. It said that Sinhala youth imprisoned under the same laws had been pardoned and that increasingly Muslims were being held under the same laws.

The statement also pointed out that the Tamil workers on the estates were demanding a minimum daily wage of LKR1,000 as promised by the government but are yet to receive the increase.

Army Commander General Shavendra Silva commenting said the protestors were exercising their Rights but alleged that the march was organized” by individuals who are catering to foreign countries with vested interests.”

He told a Television interviewer today, Feb 8 that the march was timed to add “fuel” to the proceedings expected to take place at the UN Human Rights Council due to begin in Geneva shortly. (Colombo, February 8, 2021)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

Comments (2)

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  1. Rabok says:

    Why the hell they did not organize these kind of protests during yahapalanaya era – This is not the way to find solution for their problems with this government- They should remember this is not a Government that minority can control — even if all the Tamils in north united with all the Muslims in east can they built an strong opposition to challenge Government – face the reality men – do not repeat TNA bull shit –
    They simply do not need them – So they simply show you all the middle finger – they do not dance according to the tune of UNHCR – certainly not the way UNP danced
    So better use the brains and try to negotiate – give and take – first try to get on with the government and try to find solution for the day to day problems of Tamils — Muslims should help Government to save them from Kerala Jihadist (TJ) rather than going after north Tamil leaders

  2. Tuan says:

    All the war criminals in Sri Lanka should be bought to the international court of Justice in Hague

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Comments (2)

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Rabok says:

    Why the hell they did not organize these kind of protests during yahapalanaya era – This is not the way to find solution for their problems with this government- They should remember this is not a Government that minority can control — even if all the Tamils in north united with all the Muslims in east can they built an strong opposition to challenge Government – face the reality men – do not repeat TNA bull shit –
    They simply do not need them – So they simply show you all the middle finger – they do not dance according to the tune of UNHCR – certainly not the way UNP danced
    So better use the brains and try to negotiate – give and take – first try to get on with the government and try to find solution for the day to day problems of Tamils — Muslims should help Government to save them from Kerala Jihadist (TJ) rather than going after north Tamil leaders

  2. Tuan says:

    All the war criminals in Sri Lanka should be bought to the international court of Justice in Hague

Crisis-hit Sri Lanka sees recovery in cruise ship tourism from zero

ECONOMYNEXT – Seventeen cruise ships are scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka next year with
Queen Mary 2, one of the largest and popular ships, Colombo’s harbor master said, as the island nation is looking for alternative avenues to boost its faltered tourism sector.

The rise is expected to bring thousands of high end tourists with higher spending capacity after two years. The island nation saw a record high 54 ships in 2019, rising from the previous year’s 42, Nimal Silva, Colombo Port Harbor Master said.

“The 2019 was one of the best years and in 2020 there were more than 60 scheduled vessels to
call but with COVID pandemic all hell broke loose,” Silva told EconomyNext.

Fourteen cruise ships are scheduled to call from January-May next year and another three are scheduled to arrive in Colombo in November, when the peak tourism season begins.

Cruise tourism cycle begins in Sri Lanka from October to May with a dip during the monsoon
seasons.

Sri Lanka welcomed two cruise ships in November after almost two years.

Three ships are scheduled to arrive in December and Azamara Quest, carrying at least 722 tourists, arrived in Colombo on December 3 and is now heading to Hambantota.

On December 18, Le Champion carrying 264 will arrive in Colombo and depart to Mumbai and the third vessel, Silver Spirit will arrive in Colombo on December 23 carrying up to 648 passengers.

There are two scheduled in January, one in February, and four in March next year, according to the harbormaster.

“Next year more ships could schedule, so far these are the confirmed ones now,” he said.

This also generates income for the port and the prices are charged according to the size of the
vessel.

Silva said the first medium sized-cruise vessel, 229 meters long, generated about 14,000 dollars
for docking in the port for a day.

He said Queen Mary 2, a 325 meter long ship and one of the largest cruise ships in the world, is also
scheduled to call at Colombo in February. It can carry up to 3200 passengers.

Silva said almost all the ships that were scheduled have arrived on the island and therefore, he is
confident all the ships including Queen Mary 2 will arrive in Sri Lanka.

“Only one ship has been canceled thus far. There are no last minute cancellations if there were some they would have informed us by now,” Silva said. (Colombo/Dec07/2022)

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Sri Lanka President says 2015-2019 policy struggle was ‘warfare’

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe said his attempts to reverse the inward-looking protectionist policies and fix state finances during his last term as Prime Minister was opposed both by politicians and business interests.

“In the 4.5 years as prime minister it was an effort to take this economy out in a different direction,” President Wickremesinghe told an economic forum organized by Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

“We were able to get a surplus in the primary budget. But it was warfare.

“Politicians wanted to protect their power, businessmen wanted to protect their profits and many others wanted to see what the country would provide them free of charge.”

Wickremesinghe was unable to bring private investment to the port under apparent internal political opposition. Relations with President Maithripala Sirisena also soured and he appointed his own economic advisors.

Meanwhile Wickremesinghe’s free trade agenda was hit by monetary instability as the central bank printed money under flexible inflation targeting and triggered forex shortages which were followed by trade controls.

Related

Sri Lanka controls imports in ‘Nixon-shock’ move to protect soft-pegged rupee

Sri Lanka President calls to expand Nixon shock as rupee falls

Wickremesinghe’s ‘Yahapalana’ administration also went on a spending spree called ‘100-day program’ in 2015 triggering a currency crisis in 2015/2016 as the central bank printed money to suppress rates.

The central bank however had already started injecting liquidity and losing reserves (by terminating term repo deals) from the fourth quarter of 2014 as domestic credit recovered from a 2012 currency crisis before his administration came to power.

The rupee fell from 131 to 152 and stabilization policies led to an output shock. The International Monetary Fund then taught the agency which had already depreciated the currency from 4.70 to 152 to the dollars seeking bailouts 16 times, how to calculate an output target.

Under Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera taxes were raised and budget were fixed in 2018 to bring deficits back to pre-2015 levels, though state spending went up from 17 to around 20 percent of GDP under the spendthrift ‘revenue based fiscal consolidation’ where cost cutting was dropped.

The central bank then printed money by purchasing bonds from banks to target the yield curve, jettisoning a bills only policy established by ex-Central Bank Governor A S Jayewardena, through term reverse repo and overnight injections taking the rupee from 151 to 162 to the US dollar.

The central bank also created money by entering into a swap with the Treasury in 2018, a type of strategy used by speculators to bring down East Asian pegs putting, further pressure on the currency from around July 2018 onwards.

Related

What went wrong; Sri Lanka’s illiberal economics and unsound money : Bellwether

Stabilization policies then led to another output shock. As forex shortages came Sri Lanka resorted to heavy external borrowing as it was unable to settle maturing loans with domestic borrowings.

After two currency crises and output shocks, macro-economists of the new administration cut taxes saying there was a ‘persistent output gap’ and printed even more money for stimulus (close the output gap). (Colombo/Dec07/2022)

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China calls for joint effort to ease Sri Lanka’s debt burden, no mention of restructure

ECONOMYNEXT — A top Chinese official has expressed hope that countries and multilaterals like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) work with Beijing to play a constructive role in easing Sri Lanka’s debt burden, stopping short of an assurance on debt restructuring.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning was quoted by international media as saying on Monday December 05 that China attaches high importance to Sri Lanka’s difficulties and challenges.

She was responding to a question on media reports that an IMF team will be in China this week to discuss faster progress on debt restructuring for countries including Sri Lanka, which is negotiating for an IMF bailout.

“On Sri Lanka’s debt issue, I’d like to stress that we support the financial institutions in working out ways with Sri Lanka to properly solve the issue,” said Ning.

“We also hope relevant countries and international financial institutions will work with China and continue to play a constructive role in helping Sri Lanka overcome the current difficulties, ease its debt burden and realise sustainable development,” she added.

She said China has long-standing sound cooperation with the IMF and other international economic and financial institutions.

The spokesperson avoided any mention of debt restructuring, a prerequisite for the IMF extended fund facility (EFF).

Nearly a fifth of Sri Lanka’s public external debt is held by China, according to one calculation. The emerging superpower has been generous in Sri Lanka’s time of need, extending much needed assistance in the form of rice, medicine and other commodities.

The latest arrival in the Colombo port from China was 2 billion Sri Lankan rupees worth of essential medicines and medical supplies, delivered on Tuesday.

However, critics say China is doing everything but what Sri Lanka really needs: agreeing to restructure its outstanding debt.

At least one Sri Lankan opposition MP has demanded that China agree to a restructure.

Related:

Sri Lanka debt restructuring: opposition MP warns of “China go home” protests

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) legislator Shanakiyan Rasamanickam, who had been on the warpath with Beijing over an apparent lethargy in helping the crisis-hit island nation restructure its debt, recently warned of a “China, go home” protest campaign similar to the “Gota, go home” protests that unseated the country’s powerful former president in July.

The MP told parliament last Friday December 02 that Sri Lanka owes 7.4 billion dollars to China, a nearly 20-trillion dollar economy, and if the latter was was a true friend, it would agree to either write off this debt or at least help restructure it.

Colombo has been vague at best on the status of ongoing restructure talks with Sri Lanka’s creditors, and opposition lawmakers and others have expressed concern over what seems to be a worrying delay. Rasamanickam and others have claimed that China, Sri Lanka’s largest bilateral creditor, is the reason for the apparent standstill. (Colombo/Dec06/2022)

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