UK official told permanent peace first, investment later
[TamilNet, Friday, 06 August 2004, 00:02 GMT]
Representatives of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Trincomalee told Mr. Dave Waring, First Secretary (Commercial) of the British High Commission in Colombo, that
the stalled peace process in Sri Lanka should be put back on track before holding talks about investments by British trade community in the Northeast Province, NGO officials said. The meeting took place at the office of the Trincomalee District NGOs Consortium Thursday afternoon during Mr.Waring's one-day visit to Trincomalee.
Consortium Head, Mr.T.Thavasilingam, presided the meeting.
Mr.K.Sivapalan, Attorney-at-Law and Chairman of the Eastern Rehabilitation Organization (ERO) said no purpose would be served by talking about foreign investment in the Northeast Province while there is uncertainty on the long term prospects for peace..
|Mr.Dave Waring, UK High Commission First Secretary for Commercial Division is having discussion with ERO Chairman Mr.Sivapalan (left) and Mr.V.Kalaivarnan, Trincomalee Project Officer of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO).
"The British government should first make efforts to bring the stalled peace process back on track before encouraging foreign investors consider opportunities in the northeast," he said.
Mr.Sivapalan further said members of British and Sri Lanka business community should put all their weight behind the peace process. Peace and development should go in parallel, he said.
Mr.Thavasilingam in his introductory address said, "We have plenty of land and other natural resources in Trincomalee district. We are blessed with white sand beaches to promote tourism in the coastal area. But the governments in power have failed to develop the district."
Sri Lanka Red Cross Trincomalee district branch President Dr.E.G.Gnanagunalan said the Trincomalee port has not been put to maximum use. "The newly constructed Ashraff Jetty in Trincomalee harbour is being used only to transport government troops from Trincomalee to other places. It is not being used as a cargo terminal," he pointed out.
|Mr.Dave Waring addressing NGOs representatives in Trincomalee district. (l-r) SLRC Trinco district chairman, Dr.Gnanagunalan, Consortium President Mr.Thavasilingham and TRO Trincomalee district Project officer Mr.Kalaivaranan.
|A section of NGOs representatives attending discussion with UK diplomat.