|From the Editor of Sri Lanka Watch
For the last two years everybody is talking about the GSP Plus issue in Sri Lanka. It went to such an extent that it became a tool during elections.
Some parties said that if they came in to power, their government will get back the GSP Plus in no time. But for most of them this was and (still is) just three letter issue used for their political gains.
So the SLW feels that we should express our view on the GSP plus. Our view might give food for thoughts to all these politicians and big talkers what GSP plus is all about. Specially to those in the “think tanks” who are snakes under the grass.
GSP means Generalized System of Preferences. What in simple terms means, buying goods on a priority basis. The European Union countries decided to give tax exemptions to 6000 odd goods they bought from Asian countries after the Tsunami disaster. This was to help these nations to stand up again economically. At that situation, it was indeed a Nobel gesture of the European Union.
This eventually led to a situation where many Sri Lankan goods, especially the garments, became very popular in Europe as the prices were cheap. It was a big relief not only to Sri Lanka but to many Asian countries that got washed away by the Tsunami.
As said, the European countries have done something really noble, but now it has become evident that beneath the noble outlook of the gesture there were also so many other manipulation plans not so noble.
The biggest concern is their obvious attempts to intervene in internal affairs of recipient countries. In 2008 LTTE leader Prabhakaran has started his final battle to break away a piece of Sri Lanka and create a separate state; and some countries of the EU helped him to do this very eagerly in a clandestine way. Not only that, their eyes were closed to all the activities growing in their countries in supportive of the LTTE terrorist group in Sri Lanka.
When they realized that the retaliatory attacks of the present government are going to change history, they threatened to cancel the GSP facility alleging human rights violations. Here was a nation (Sri Lanka) fighting to save the unitary status of our country because a piece of the country breaking away is worse than using one’s heart. But they have On this basis the President and the defence forces won the war decisively and in an act of revenge the EU decided to suspend the GSP plus.
Unfortunately one must say with immense sadness that this has become the biggest joy of the common opposition as well as the big talkers of the think tanks. Anyone can see that the representatives of the British government, Amnesty International in London together with other powerful organizations are keeping the pressure on Sri Lanka on human rights issues on a regular basis. They have even gone a step further and trying their best to bring the government of Sri Lanka to international courts on charges of war crimes. But neither the British government nor any rights organization have done anything to arrest or file legal action against Adele Balasingham, the wife of Anton Balasingham living in London, who has been involved in recruiting children as child soldiers. This is their double standards moral on human rights.
What one should understand here is that before the Tsunami came Sri Lanka survived without the GSP Plus. When the European Union decided to cut down on garment quotas due to economic recession many factories had to close down. But even then, no one died of starvation.
Depriving Sri Lanka as a nation from GSP plus is purely an act of revenge on unitary Sri Lanka taking the side of separatism.
If Sri Lanka is to stand up on her own and build up this country according to her needs, then the people living in thiscountry should first get their mind free from this “Mental Slavery” to the west. If Sri Lanka can stand up on her own properly, then she will be the one giving GSP to Europe. It is not a question whether Sri Lanka must accept path chosen for her by the Europeans; but purely the europeans accepting the decision of a democratically elected govenment.