This stock of garbage has been brought in 2017. How did they remain in the country for so long? This is a good example to show that the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Finance and the government have flopped. It is this failure that has resulted in getting down large scale garbage to our country. Despite the President talking about the gallows, smuggling in drugs to the country has not stopped. Drugs can be smuggled into the country within garbage containers. As such, we emphasize to the government to change the rules about importing, says the Information Secretary of the JVP Comrade Vijitha Herath.
He said this speaking at a press conference held at the JVP head office yesterday ((22nd). The Member of the Central Committee Comrade Lakshman Nipunarachchi too was present.
Comrade Vijitha Herath said, “There is talk about the post of president. According to the Constitution of 1978, the term of the president is 6 years. Also, according to that Constitution, the presidency had unlimited powers. The 19th amendment to the Constitution was brought to limit the term of the president and the executive powers he held. A large number of progressive forces mediated in bringing this amendment. Hence, a very clear factor in the 19th amendment is that the term of the Presidency should be confined to five years. Clause 32 of the 1978 Constitution states taking and subscribing the oath by the person elected or succeeding to the office of President when assuming office. This is how President Maithripala Sirisena assumed duties before the Chief Justice on 9th January 2015. As such his term of office commences on 9th January 2015. The 19th amendment reduced the term of 6 years to 5 years. As such, according to clause 30 (2) of the Constitution ‘The President of the Republic shall be elected by the People, and shall hold office for a term of five years.”
As such, what is very clear is that the term of the incumbent President ends on 8th January 2020. Earlier, the President had inquired from the Supreme Court its view about the term of office of the President. The Supreme Court gave a very clear decision stating his term is only for 5 years. Also, the judgment indicates his term begins on 9th January 2015. As such, it is not necessary to ask for the view of the Supreme Court again. When considering these facts the presidential election should be held in November. No one can postpone the presidential election. The Chairman of the Elections Commission too had said the presidential election cannot be put off unless it is the end of the world.
Also, there are issues regarding the moves by the President. The President is responsible for the Parliament. He is especially responsible to the Parliament for the decisions taken regarding national security. The President had said he would not give evidence at the Parliamentary Select committee appointed to probe Easter Sunday attack. The ‘Select’ Committee’ is one that is appointed by Parliament. The President should compulsorily attend the sessions if summoned. The decisions taken regarding national security should be explained to the Select Committee. This is stated in clause 33 A. As such, the President cannot avoid such summons.
Also, there is a massive outburst in society regarding stock of containers full of garbage. A massive environmental issue has surfaced due to the discovery of clinical garbage from a Katunayaka yard which had been exposed to the elements for a long period. There is a process that creates opportunities to get down such garbage to the country. On 30th March 2012, the financial act was amended. It was amended so that when importing certain goods the Customs Ordinance, Exchange Act and Import Export act would not be relevant. After the Finance Act was amended the gazette regarding the amendment was issued on 7th July 2013. It named special centers that influence imports and exports. Also, these centers have been confirmed through departmental directions. Accordingly, Colombo and Hambantota harbours have been named as free ports while Koggala and Katunayaka free export processing zones have been named as ‘Bonded Areas’. Also, Mattala Airport and Mirijjawila Export Processing Zone have been named as Special Bonded Areas. (A foreign-trade zone is a secured area under U.S. Customs’ supervision and is typically located in or near a U.S. Customs port of entry and falls under the authority of that port while a bonded warehouse, or bond, is a building or other secured area in which dutiable goods may be stored, manipulated, or undergo manufacturing operations without payment of duty. – Ed)
In these zones, the imported goods are free of taxes. It is this facility that has been used to get down containers with garbage to our country. When more than 220 containers full of garbage have been found there was a statement that authorities could not find who the importers were. Hayleys Free Zone Limited (HFZL) in an announcement had rejected the claim that they had imported the garbage despite it is proved they had got down the containers. Customs reports state the garbage has been brought in 20 x 40 containers and they included used mattresses. Also, the announcement by BOI states they would take necessary steps against Hayleys Free Zone Limited (HFZL).
The garbage was brought down to the country in 2017. However, the Customs and the Central Environmental Authority were unable to take action. The garbage was discovered two weeks ago. This is a very serious issue. Anyone can bring garbage to our country this way. Governments in our country have passed various acts. The Singapore agreement would confirm the legal situation to bring down garbage. They are going to make our country a garbage hub. Exporting garbage from one country to another is not an easy matter. There should be an agreement between the two countries. An agreement signed by Sri Lanka 27 years ago prohibits importing garbage. Also, re-exporting was banned. The government that imposes laws to bring in the garbage does nothing to bring in laws that are beneficial to the country. Bringing in the garbage to the country is a massive hazard. Hence, we ask the government to destroy the stock of garbage that has already brought to the country without re-exporting it. The government should do this in a manner that the people or the environment would not be harmed. There is information that part of the garbage has been buried. This too is harmful to the environment. As such, the government should do to protect the environment from this portion of garbage.
Normally, according to the law of the country, any imported good would be confiscated if it is not removed by the owner within two months. The heap of garbage had been brought to the country in 2017. How did it remain without being confiscated for so long? This is a good example to show that the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Finance and the government have flopped. It is this failure that has resulted in getting down large scale garbage to our country. Despite the President talking about the gallows, smuggling in drugs to the country has not stopped. Drugs can be smuggled into the country within garbage containers. As such, we emphasize to the government to change the rules about importing.”