After the 2015 election, the US got into several critical sectors, the Sri Lanka‘s economy, Sri Lanka‘s Parliament and Sri Lanka‘s armed forces. ‘We want to see Sri Lanka as a truly democratic, prosperous, happy and reconciled country in the future,’ US said. .
The House Democracy Partnership of the US House of Representatives is a bipartisan, twenty-member commission of the U.S. House of Representatives that works directly with partner countries around the world to support the development of effective, independent, and responsive legislative institutions. Partner states are eligible to participate in training seminars for staff, peer-to-peer exchange programs with the U.S. House of Representatives and receive capacity building assistance in critical areas such as constituent relations, legislative oversight, committee operations, and research and library services.
In 2017, the House Democracy Partnership was implementing projects in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Colombia, Georgia, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru, Timo-Leste and Ukraine.
House Democracy Partnership of the US House of Representatives launched a Collaboration Agreement with the Parliament of Sri Lanka. The purpose was to strengthen partnership between the two legislatures. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya signed for Sri Lanka. Elsewhere it was said that the Partnership was signed on September 14, 2016 in Washington D.C.
The US / Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue, is a regular policy consultation designed to discuss and identify opportunities for cooperation across the full range of bilateral and regional issues, the US said. US Under Secretary for Political Affairs ambassador Shannon was scheduled to visit Sri Lanka in November 2017 to take part in the next round of the Partnership talks.
There was a media conference in Washington in February 2016 to formally announce the start Partnership Dialogue. The participants were US Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera.
Kerry told the cameras that this was the start of strategic dialogue with Sri Lanka. Mangala Samaraweera said the cordial relations between USA and Sri Lanka was now elevated to a new level. He was looking forward to the inaugural meeting of the US-Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue. Mangala was not his usual bouncy self, he looked nervous and strained. This lip is available on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQ7SdFkhcdg
A delegation from the U.S. House of Representatives came in February 2017 for three days of meetings, as part of the House Democracy Partnership (HDP) . The 8 member delegation is the largest ever US Congress Group to visit Sri Lanka. It included 4 each from Democratic and Republican Parties. The aim of the visit was to promote the on-going partnership between HDP and the Sri Lanka Parliament and deepen bilateral relations. The visit serves to underscore the strong support for Sri Lanka by both parties in the U.S. Congress., US said.
The delegation consisted of three American Congress members, members of the Congressional staff , one member each from House Democracy Partnership Majority and House Democracy Partnership Minority, and Chaplain of the US House of Representatives. The delegation was accompanied by a US military escort.
The delegation met President Sirisena and held discussions about the steps to be taken to further strengthen bilateral relations. The delegation told President Sirisena that USA will stand by Sri Lanka in its challenging journey towards economic development. The delegation also met Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera and discussed issues of mutual interest. The US delegation visited Hambantota sea port and Yala national sanctuary.
Yahapalana government also joined another US project, ‘Strengthening Democratic Governance and Accountability Project’ (SDGAP). This is a project for the reform Sri Lanka’s public sector. USAID allocated USD 13 million for the project in September 2016 and the program was launched in November 2016. SDGAP was subject to the laws and regulations of the United States, with oversight from USAID’s Office of Inspector General.
US selected a private US company Development Alternatives, Inc (DAI) of Maryland, to implement the project. DAI would work closely with the Parliament, Independent Commissions and related ministries. This decision was heavily criticized.
DAI has been speedily denounced in Sri Lanka as a CIA front. Lasanda Kurukulasuriya described DAI as a CIA front organization dedicated to destabilizing governments unfavorable to US interests.’ She noted that under the terms of the agreement, the SDGAP project is not subject to Sri Lankan law but to the laws and regulations of the US. It does not come under the purview of Sri Lanka’s Auditor General.
Development Alternatives Incorporated is a known CIA front. Its specialty is ‘democracy promotion’ said Kamal Wickremasinghe. US funds are transferred to opposition parties and other pro-American groups in countries of strategic interest, such as Sri Lanka , using the pretext of ‘promoting democracy’. The pretext of promoting democracy” is a modern form of CIA subversion tactics, added Lasanda, seeking to infiltrate and penetrate civil society groups and provide funding to encourage regime change” in strategically important nations.
Development Alternatives Incorporated carries out the ‘dirty work’ of CIA’s Office of Transition Initiatives(OTI) that sits at the head of a network of front entities which include International Republican Institute (IRI), National Endowment for Democracy (NED), National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), Freedom House and numerous others, said Kamal Wickremasinghe.
The OTI’s charter is to finance the formation of, and deep infiltration of civil society groups (NGOs) for use in their subversive activities including regime change in strategically important nations with governments unwilling to succumb to US dictates.
Wickremasinghe observes that DAI also plans to ‘engage’ with the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration to introduce international best practices into the role of public servants in policy development and implementation. It will provide technical assistance and grants to support government and civil society stakeholders to address priority laws and policies identified as affecting the rights of women and under-represented groups. These words reveal, says Wickremasinghe, to the discerning reader, the ulterior motives behind the impending US intervention in our country.
Analyst observed that the CIA has been here for ages, under the ground. We all know that. The political NGOs in the island, working in human rights, ethnic studies, social science, women, children, poverty and so on were funded indirectly by the CIA. The JVP was considered a CIA creation. Until now such support was covert. Now it has become overt. USA is getting more confident in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka joined the Open government Partnership of the USA in 2015.The Open Government Partnership is a multilateral initiative by the United States launched in 2011 to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. From its initial 8 countries – Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States – the OGP has now grown to 69 participating countries. Sri Lanka is the only South Asian participating country in the OGP.
The first step towards full OGP participation is meeting the OGP eligibility criteria. In order to be eligible to participate in OGP, governments must demonstrate a minimum level of commitment to open government principles in four key areas of Fiscal Transparency, Access to Information, Income and Asset Disclosures, and Citizen Engagement. Sri Lanka became eligible to join early in 2015 having met the required criteria and scoring 14 of a total of 16 points.
Membership in the OGP is by invitation only and Sri Lanka’s Yahapalana government was invited to join the OGP, the first South Asian nation to have qualified and to have joined the OGP. Sri Lanka joined the OGP in October 2015. Through the endorsement of the OGP declaration, member countries commit, essentially to foster a domestic culture which empowers a country’s citizens and delivers better governance for them.
OGP is overseen by a Steering Committee, which includes representatives of governments and civil society organizations. The key instrument for the implementation of open governance in Sri Lanka is the OGP National Action Plan (NAP). This plan was carefully prepared with community based dialogues in all nine provinces of the country. The National Action Plan contains policy reform commitments in about nine different thematic areas of governance including but not limited to education, health, environment, ICT, right to information and women’s affairs. For education the objective is transparent and impartial teacher recruitment policy. For Health it is CKDU and two other objectives.
The NGOs involved in the OGP in Sri Lanka include Center for Policy Alternatives, (CPA) International center for Ethnic studies (ICES), Sarvodaya, Transparency International , Management Development Centre, (a Sri Lankan NGO providing training for the Development of the Community by enhancing the Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes) and Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA) .
The Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA) est. April 1997 is an association of agencies working in, and supporting work in, Sri Lanka for peace building and humanitarian work. It has a fully-fledged secretariat with its own specific capabilities. it helps disseminate information, bring weight in discussions related to the conflict situation of the country and lobbying through a large membership, maintaining links bottom-up and across tires, providing convenient access to information on needs of specific conflict-affected communities, government policies regarding pertinent issues, and international agencies working in the country.
CHA believes in respecting diversity and the promotion and achievement of fundamental rights and freedom, which provides equal opportunities for development for all Sri Lankans. Areas of operation are Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Puttalam, Matara, Mannar, Kalutara, Jaffna, Hambantota, Galle, Badulla and Ampara.
US then went on to meddle with Sri Lanka ‘s economy. A 3 year economic plan for Sri Lanka, put together by a team of foreign and local experts led by Ricardo Hausmann, Director of Harvard’s centre for International development was presented at Sri Lanka Economic Forum, January 2016. The plan would be funded by the Open Society Foundation of George Soros. Soros was also one of the main participants along with Harvard’s Joseph Stieglitz.
Local economists and social scientist criticized this plan and wanted it dismissed. Hausmann’s presentation was compared to a power point presentation of a postgraduate student. Hausmann has offered no sound policy alternative to Sri Lanka problems. He has used Venezuela as an example, the participants said. Stieglitz fared no better. His analysis is defective, participants said. He showed no understanding of the country’s needs.
Soros will set up an office here. He was looking for investment in Sri Lanka as well as assist the government economic progamme. Soros presence will boost foreign investment, said Yahapalana, enthusiastically. Critics pointed out that Soros is a financial speculator who has made his money by manipulating currency markets. He is the last person we need here, they said.
Ricardo Hausmann and Robert Z. Lawrence, Professor of International trade and investment were in Sri Lanka for over a year, starting 2016, to restructure exports, reported the media. They have been looking at ways to improve growth using Export Development Board,, Board of Investment, Sri Lanka Tourism development Board and Ministry of Development Strategies. Further, Harvard Business School and World Bank were advising the BOI.
the Harvard Centre for International Development (HCID) is helping Sri Lanka in attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) promoting emerging exports, targeting new non-existent industries, identifying and engaging with potential new investors, fixing the investment climate for new emerging industries and figuring out how to create new tourist destinations. Five teams of experts are working with Harvard, all focused on issues relating to exports and FDIs.BOI staff has also been receiving training programmes conducted by Harvard University’s Centre for International Development, McKinsey Consulting and the World Bank Group.
The media also observed in 2016 that there were two teams heading to Harvard for a Harvard study programme, each unaware of the other, one from PMs Office and the other from the Finance ministry. ( Continued)