Cabraal says New York Times article is ‘fake’ news

Ajith Nivad Cabraal

Former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, has refuted the allegations made in a recent article published by The New York Times, referring to it as ‘fake’ news which has violated the truth and a gross misrepresentation of facts.

The New York Times article dated 25 June 2018 titled “How China got Sri Lanka to cough up a Port,” written by Maria Abi-Habib, had made certain accusations pertaining to China’s acquisition of the strategic Hambantota port from Sri Lanka while highlighting Beijing’s “debt trap” and ambitious use of loans to gain influence around the world.

The report says feasibility studies had found that the port would not work and “frequent lenders” like India had refused to provide loans or assistance for the port, developed during Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s rule.

However, issuing a response today, Rajapaksa’s former Central Bank chief Ajith Nivard Cabraal slammed the NYT article as a gross misrepresentation of facts as well as a piece of journalism which has violated the truth in a shocking manner.

“This is probably the type of propaganda under the veil of journalism that President Donald Trump has been regularly referring to as ‘Fake’ news or reports,” he charged.

The article had also pointed out certain facts pertaining to Sri Lanka debt position under the former President’s reign and also claimed that Rajapaksa’s campaign aides have received direct payments from the Chinese port construction fund.

Cabraal said that he was interviewed by the NYT correspondent in question Maria Abi- Habib on 10th May 2018, and that he countered “almost every one of her string of allegations and pre-conceived notions” in an hour long interview, with irrefutable facts and figures.

He said that not surprisingly, Maria Abi-Habib has chosen to ignore all his responses relating to the Chinese loans and projects, as well as Sri Lanka’s debt position under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, which he says would have materially changed her “flawed findings” and “highly suspect conclusions”.

“Her stance therefore undoubtedly confirms she was on a mission to provide a pre-determined and completely one-sided view point which is detrimental to both China and Sri Lanka in general, and Presidents Xi Jingping and Mahinda Rajapaksa, in particular.”

The former CBSL Governor added that he will submit a detailed reply to this “shockingly imbalanced” article, which he said is not worthy of being published in a newspaper such as the New York Times, and “expose it’s subjectivity in a few days.”

Meanwhile the ex-President’s eldest son MP Namal Rajapaksa also tweeted a response to the NYT article stating that it had many inaccuracies.

“Many inaccuracies in this article. Acknowledging the Port is near 1 of the world’s busiest shipping lanes shows why it’s still a major focus for the West, fearing China’s growing global influence. Sri Lanka‘s assets shouldn’t be used as geopolitical pawns in this power struggle,” he said.

(Source: Ada Derana)