- Minister pledges to provide solutions within next two weeks
- Officers association says slow but sure action will be taken until the union finds a constructive solution
By Charumini de Silva
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a five-member committee to find immediate solutions to prevailing issues with Sri Lanka’s immigration and emigration service which has allegedly been neglected by the authorities for the past two decades.
Registration of Persons Department Commissioner General Viyani Gunathilaka has been appointed as the President of the committee, while Immigration and Emigration Department Additional Controller General R.M.P.S.B. Rathnayaka has been appointed as the Secretary of the committee. In addition, Internal Affairs, Waymba Development and Cultural Affairs Ministry, Management Services Department of the Treasury and Immigration and Emigration Department representatives have been appointed members of the committee.
The appointment of the committee was made after Internal Affairs, Waymba Development and Cultural Affairs Minister S.B. Nawinna requested the Prime Minister to pay immediate attention to resolve the longstanding matters with a view to make the immigration and emigration service more effective.
Sri Lanka Immigration Officers’ Association (SLIEOA) President Aruna Kanugala said this was an outcome of the warning they issued last week, noting that stern union action would be taken if the Government failed to provide solutions to their issues.
The three demands of SLIEOA were to establish and make effective the service minute of Sri Lanka’s immigration and emigration service, attach immigration officers to foreign missions and re-establish the Departmental Prosecution Unit.
After the SLIEOA said that there had been a failure to find resolutions through discussions to improve immigration and emigration services during the past 20 years, it warned the Government of stern union action if they failed to provide a solution by the end of last year.
Kanugala said subject minister S.B. Navinna has assured the SLIEOA of an immediate resolution to be given within the next two weeks.
However, he noted that the SLIEOA has already taken some union action by displaying posters at the Bandaranaike International Airport’s (BIA) immigration and emigration counters, distributing leaflets to passengers with awareness programs due to be launched in the near future.
“The actions would, slowly but surely, be taken step by step until the union gets a constructive solution,” Kanugala stressed.