New life after LTTE rout
Foreign Employment Promotion and Labour Welfare Minister Keheliya
Rambukwella sat down with Arab News recently to talk about Government
priorities following the defeat of the Tigers.
"We want to give the members of the Tamil community jobs both inside
and outside Sri Lanka since they have been victims of the war and they
were practically immobilized in rebel-held territories in the North and
East for a considerable period of time," he said. "The LTTE perpetrated
these heinous acts of carnage spanning well over three decades against
He said that the Government is in the process of opening migrant
training centres in the recently freed areas. "Two such centres have
been already opened in Jaffna, and Trincomalee," he said.
These centres would train Tamil youths in a wide range of skills
according to their aptitudes. "They can come out as white-collar
workers, skilled labourers - such as masons, painters, welders,
electricians and auto technicians - according to the needs of the local
and international labour markets," he added.
Following the training, the Minister said the Sri Lanka Bureau of
Foreign Employment (SLBFE) will consider them for placement in overseas
stations and the local, private and the public sectors will also harness
their talents for the country's development.
Speaking about the assassinated LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran,
Rambukwella did not mince words.
"He made life extremely dangerous for ordinary people," he said. "He
killed tens of thousands of people and he shouldn't expect a happy end
for his life... should the masses trade their lives, democratic values
and their right to live in a peaceful society with an irredeemable
terrorist who habitually prowls behind?...
If someone attributes a certain degree of respectability to such a
criminal, it may seem ridiculous to ordinary masses. Everyone knows that
criminals are not revered.
And, with terrorism, the most important thing is not just the number
you killed, but the number you frighten... The LTTE terrorized a whole
nation, and, when the threats are as grave as these, it does not pay for
any Government to wait and see. He always posed the threat of blowing up
of bombs in key positions, and, we had the firmness to do the right
thing. That's how they ended their grisly campaign...
We have made arrangements to rehabilitate the rebels who have
surrendered during the war against the rebels.
They are a bunch of misguided youths, it is our responsibility to
help them turn over a new leaf," Rambukwella said, assuring that the
Government will help them get into the mainstream of the society. "Sri
Lankan citizens will be treated equally irrespective of race, religion
Answering a question about the celebrations following the
Government's victory, the Minister said it is nothing but fair for
people of all communities including the Tamils in other parts of the
island to celebrate an occasion that brought an end to 30-year reign of
terror in the rebel-held areas. "People could not walk freely, not only
in Tamil areas but in other Sinhalese and Muslim areas, too.
However, resp-ecting the sentiments of the people, he said that
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed the Government to put a stop
to victory celebrations and embark on programs to develop the country by
turning the crisis into an endeavour.