By Angajan Ramanathan –
I consider it a great privilege to be elected to the first body of the Northern Provincial Council established by President of Sri Lanka His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa to ensure democracy in the North and to deliver my maiden address.
I express my gratitude to President Rajapaksa on behalf of the people of the North for providing an opportunity to raise the lives of the people through the establishment of a provincial council and other administrative bodies.
I am eager to work in a spirit of co-operation and service with the Honorable Chief Minister Justice C.V.Wigneswaran, a legal luminary, and other members of the Council, who are dedicated to raise the lives of the people.
It is pertinent to express my gratitude to Honorable Governor G.A.Chandrasiri for his dedicated contribution for the peaceful life and development of the people of the North prior to the formation of the Northern Provincial Council.
Honorable Chairman !
My Dear Colleagues, we have all made history with the formation of this esteemed council and we have all essentially become important and integral parts of the most important provincial council in this country, and we are all part of a unit that will in time become a very important milestone in the history of Sri Lanka
Why do I call it the most important council? as you all know, the provincial council’s came in as a solution with the 1987 peace accord and the 13th amendment but since 1990 after dissolving the North-Eastern council, the “solution” was active everywhere else in the country but not where the problem started, where a solution was first requested.
Now, 4 years after the war and 14 years after dissolving the 1st council, we have been given a historical mandate by the people of North to be a part of the solution and deliver what the people want and what the people deserve. Our people are watching us, the whole country is watching and the whole world is watching what we are going to do – we can not afford to make any mistakes.
Honorable Chairman !
I grew up all my life seeing and hearing only about the war, destruction and the damage it has done. Most of my peers, most of my team and most of my closest political group & volunteers are also made up of people who mostly grew up with the war – so I’m a part of and a representative of a special generation that has not experienced how and what life was before the war and whether you agree or not, this generation is the future of this great land.
I believe that I can understand the hearts, minds and hopes of this special generation than most others. After working very closely with these people for a considerable time, I know what they want in their hearts and I understand their needs and know what their worries are – unfortunately most of the promises made by various parties during the election didn’t reflect their needs, they did not even get close to their hearts. The clear connection I made with people of North, especially with the future of North, brought me here, got you elected. I can stand here with pride and say that because you all know that and it was no easy task, these are all facts.
I call this an opportunity because this is the first time the solution, Northern Provincial Council is active, with us the people of North in control, its a fact, you know the difference and I do not have to tell you how this freedom feels like, you do not have to acknowledge it but we all owe that to His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, its a fact
Now, after creating history, do we want to disappoint our people once again by not delivering? what’s going to be our excuse this time?
There’s more than tens of thousands of ex-LTTE carders who have been rehabilitated by the government led by His Excellancy the President Rajapaksa, unlike most warriors who are fighting with words, here and abroad, those guys actually went to war for whatever the misguided conceptions they were made to believe in but if you now talk to those rehabilitated youth, what do you think they want? another war? a separate country? or integration, normalcy and success in life?, just like me, you and your children. What you think as what the people want may not be what the people really want – using a group of people who have gone through so many difficulties in life for decades as a tool for petty gains must stop now. Lets get together and help them integrate with the society, find them a true cause to believe and help them enjoy everything that you and I enjoy in life, all they want is another opportunity.
Hon.Chairman! The former cadres of the LTTE have begun to lead a peaceful life with their families. Yet, there are only few or no opportunities for them for employment. It is necessary to note that a considerable section of them are disabled. It is bounden duty of the Northern Provincial Council to find them employment opportunities. I propose that the Council should offer them employment on a priority basis in accordance with their qualifications.
Hon. Chairman! It is my belief that all members will agree with this view without any reservation.
I propose we all set aside our political agenda’s, rivalry and all the petty politics and stop playing games with the lives of the next generation which is the future of this country, I propose we get together and work-out an action plan and the Road map to develop our North to what it deserves to be – the talk should be on integration & unity not separation. I can confidently assure you that His Excellancy Mahinda Rajapaksa and Hon. Namal Rajapaksa, being another youth who can also understand the problem will go out of the way to work with us to achieve this.
This country is all about missed opportunities but His excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa has created another great opportunity for everybody in this country, an opportunity to start all-over.
Hon Chairman !
Another mistake will never be forgiven by the history and as the youngest member of this council, I do not intend to be here and argue about what happened in the past, I didn’t sign up for that, we need to learn to accept the ground realities and figure out what is going to work and what will not work, prioritize problems and start working together to solve them.
Hon. Chairman! On this occasion, as a Sri Lankan, I assure that I would extend my fullest co-operation for the Northern Provincial Council to be a model to all provincial councils in the island and to be an effectively functioning council.
Let me wind up my maiden speech expressing my gratitude to His Excellancy President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka Freedom Party and to the people of Jaffna District for the trust reposed on me and for paving the way for me to become a member of the Northern Provincial Council.
*Angajan Ramanathan is the District Organiser – Sri Lanka Freedom Party – Jaffna. This is his speech at North PC today