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Speech at the Royal Commonwealth Society, London 17 September 2010    

 

Resettled children at school, December 2009

 

I am grateful to the Royal Commonwealth Society for arranging this talk today, at a time when I believe we can be truly optimistic about our country. I say this because I believe we have begun now to move forward in several respects that were inhibited during the long period of conflict.    

Firstly, we have done much more in the last five years in terms of basic infrastructure. While infrastructure alone is not enough, without it there could be no development, in particular in areas deprived of basic connectivity for so long.    

Secondly, we have begun to attract the kind of investment the country deserves, and are able to direct it towards regions that suffered from neglect previously. I mean not only areas previously under terrorist sway, but also those areas full of promise in the south and the northwest that successive governments neglected, because their leadership was immovably urban.    

Thirdly, we have at last begun to implement the provisions about language that were introduced into our Constitution in 1987. We have much further to go, but at last government has had the courage to promote bilingualism by regulation.  300,000 public servants should be bilingual by 2013 in terms of the current training programme, while 500 of the 5000 new Tamil police officers envisaged have already been recruited.    

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Rajiva Wijesinha

September 2010
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