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Friday, March 24, 2023

Broader discourse on Port City Bill needed – JVP

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The Government’s unnecessary rush and concealment of facts from the public over the controversial Port City Economic Commission Bill indicates its risks, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said.

Speaking to the media at the Battaramulla JVP Head Office yesterday, he said the Government presented the Bill hurriedly in Parliament without allowing a social dialogue on it.

 He added that a two-day debate on the Bill requested by the JVP was turned down by the Government at the Party Leaders’ Meeting citing COVID-19 as a reason.

“The debate on the Bill has been postponed because the Speaker has not yet received the Supreme Court determination. If it was genuine about its earlier concern of COVID-19, it has no moral right to convene Parliament either on Thursday or Friday for the purpose of taking up the debate of this Bill,” he commented.

“The Government may try to push this Bill through Parliament stating that it is a turning point of the country’s economy. However, we have a different opinion to that. There are doubts that this legislation may turn the Port City into an economic center of black money. The Bill could also pose a risk to the country’s sovereignty. The Supreme Court only considers whether the Bill’s provisions are consistent with the Constitution, but a broad public dialogue is needed on the Bill’s content.

We have been educating the masses in the last couple of weeks, but those had to be abandoned due to COVID-19. The Government must be transparent and allow a public dialogue if it has no hidden motives in rushing this Bill through,” he commented.

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