Sri Lanka: Sovereignty Sold

This blatant profiteering at the expense of travelers adds insult to injury.

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Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake

Editorial

Last night’s chaos at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Colombo is not just a logistical nightmare; it’s a glaring example of governmental negligence and the erosion of national sovereignty. The decision to hand over the authority of on-arrival visa issuance to an Indian private company is not only a betrayal of the Sri Lankan people but also a dangerous precedent that undermines the integrity of our nation’s security and sovereignty.

Let’s dissect this alarming situation. A few months ago, a statement by a local politician claiming Sri Lanka as a part of India stirred controversy. He even urged Indians to sell their properties in India and start living in Sri Lanka. Shamelessly, later, he tried to defend himself in the parliament during the debate. Nothing is surprising; we often come across men discussed as politicians without conscience or guilt when it comes to underhand dealings. They will deal with anything for money. We are not surprised that such a dirty game is behind these sorts of incidents too. Now, fast forward, and we witness the mayhem unfolding at our airport, all because of the dubious decision to outsource such a critical function to a private entity with questionable motives.

Could you provide a list of countries where On-Arrival Visas are facilitated by foreign private entities, yielding substantial profits while also maintaining records of visitors to the host country? Do politicians who betray their values for money truly understand the gravity of this situation?

What is particularly concerning is the lack of transparency and oversight surrounding this decision. Reports indicate that the Indian company assumed control of the visa issuance process without obtaining proper approval from the cabinet. This raises serious questions about who authorized this move and what their motivations were. Was there a backdoor deal struck for personal gain at the expense of national security?

Furthermore, it’s outrageous that this Indian company has been charging an extra $25 on top of the standard visa fee. This blatant profiteering at the expense of travelers adds insult to injury. The Immigration and Emigration Department had been managing this process smoothly for years, without any need for such exploitation. However, if there are any irregularities such as extracting extra money from individuals without proper documents by immigration officers, or opposition to installing CCTV cameras, these are internal management issues that should not be exploited by foreign entities. They should be addressed and resolved locally.

The scenes of chaos and frustration at the airport, as depicted in videos circulating on social media, are deeply disturbing. Long queues, canceled visas, and disgruntled travelers paint a picture of incompetence and mismanagement. One can only imagine the embarrassment and inconvenience faced by those who were subjected to this ordeal.

But perhaps the most egregious aspect of this debacle is the erosion of national pride and sovereignty. A Sri Lankan citizen rightly questioned how an Indian person could have the authority to decide his or his wife’s visa status on Sri Lankan soil. This is not just about administrative convenience; it’s about the fundamental rights of our people and the integrity of our borders.

The Sri Lankan Government must be held accountable for this grave lapse in judgment. By allowing foreign entities to control such sensitive functions, they are not only failing their duty to protect their citizens but also betraying the trust placed in them to safeguard our nation’s sovereignty.

It’s time for the government to wake up and realize the gravity of the situation. The decision to outsource the visa issuance process to an Indian company is not just a logistical blunder; it’s a slap in the face of every Sri Lankan citizen. We demand answers, accountability, and immediate action to rectify this dangerous precedent before irreparable damage is done to our nation’s security and sovereignty. Sri Lanka is not for sale, and it’s high time our government remembers that. But folks in white clothes continue to prove the ugliness and putrid souls they carry as they can do anything for profit.

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

1 Comment

  1. Why is the VFS logo still appearing on the official site of the Department of immigration and emigration and if they have reverted back to the old system the fees are still US dollars $100.77
    Since the take over by VFS a friend of mine travelled to Sri Lanka and was charged US dollars $200 and was issued with a receipt stating miscellaneous on the receipt not Visa Fees

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