The JVP has questioned the government’s wisdom of closing down the Sri Lankan Consulate in Cyprus while keeping diplomatic relations with Liechtenstein.
Addressing the media at the party headquarters in Pelawatte, the former MP and Secretary of the JVP-affiliated Ethera Api Organisation, Lankshman Nipunarachchi said that the government had taken steps to shut down several Lankan consulates on the pretext of cost-cutting.
“Among them is the Lankan consulate in Cyprus. The consulate was opened there following numerous demands from our organisation because there are many Sri Lankans working there,” he said.
“There are around 15,000 Sri Lankans working in Cyprus. That country has a social security fund for foreign workers. It amounts to 16 percent of the salary of the worker. There are 100,000 Lankans who have not yet been able to withdraw their funds. The Lankan government had done nothing to help them. Instead it is in the process of shutting down our consulate there,” he also said.
Treasurer of the Ethera Api organisation, Attorney-at-Law, Janaka Adhikari said the cost cutting could not be accepted as a valid reason for the closure of the consulate.
“How could they speak of cost cutting while maintaining so many presidential palaces in all main cities when the President could visit any place in the country within 45 minutes by helicopter? The state of Liechtenstein has hardly any Sri Lankans. The government is shutting down the Cyprus consulate serving around 15,000 Lankans. Liechtenstein is a notorious place for tax relief like Swaziland and attracting ill-gotten funds of the foreign political leaders. That is why our rulers continue ties with Liechtenstein,” he said.
Convener of the Lanka Cyprus Workers’ Collective, Rohitha Perera and Ex-co member of the Ethera Api, Nisansala Silva also addressed the media.