Speech of Prof Rajiva Wijesinha In the Votes on the Ministry of Resettlement During the Committee Stage of the Budget Debate, November 17th 2014 (Prepared but not delivered)
Mr Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of the work of the Ministry of Resettlement, and to express the hope that it will accomplish even more in the coming year. Sri Lanka can be extremely proud of its record with regard to Resettlement, which proceeded more quickly than in most other countries affected so badly by terrorism and conflict. When we see the suffering taking place elsewhere in the world, due to extremism – from which we too suffered – but also because of interventions based on arrogant ignorance, we can be thankful that we settled our own difficulties and embarked immediately on reconstruction.
I make no bones about the fact that more could have been done with regard to reconciliation, but with regard to resettlement, and the provision of more than basic infrastructure and services, we have done better I believe than other countries. Of course the achievements with regard to roads and electricity and education are not the work of this Ministry alone, and due credit must go to others too. But perhaps most important in dealing today with the votes of the Ministry of Resettlement, we should note that any shortcomings that remain are in no way the fault of this Ministry.
I should also note the courtesy with which the Minister, the Deputy and the Secretary respond to criticism and suggestions. I have spent much time in the last couple of years discussing issues at Divisional Secretariat level, and I should note that the Ministry is one of the few that always responds with sensitivity to issues that are raised. Most recently they were prompt in requesting information from Seruwawila where the people pointed out that one or two areas had been neglected in the Resettlement process, and I trust they have now provided a remedy.
The need for the systematic encouragement of social integration
Speech of Prof Rajiva Wijesinha
In the Votes on the Ministries of National Languages and Social Integration, of National Heritage and of Cultural Affairs, considered in the Select Committee
During the Committee Stage of the Budget Debate, November 19th 2014
Mr Speaker I would like during this Committee Stage of the budget debate, as we consider the work of several Ministries which have been brought together, to register appreciation of the work of a few of these Ministries, whilst expressing the hope that they will be able to do more in the future. It is a pity that we have so many Ministries that some many have to be considered in a job lot as it were, but I shall take advantage of this to suggest the coordination that might make the work of some of these Ministries more effective.
I would like to concentrate most on the Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration, which has so important a role to play. I must commend the dedication of the Minister and the Secretary, and I am sure he must be delighted that the work he is doing has been recognized by the Ministry now also having the services of a Deputy Minister. I am happy that the new Deputy Minister comes from the Central Province, because with regard to social integration it is perhaps the Tamil community there that needs the most effort to be deployed by the State.