FM commends Missions in the Middle –East

(November 17, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has praised the work carried out by Sri Lankan Missions in the Middle-East in expediting claims for compensation of Sri Lankans who have died while being employed overseas. The Minister made this comment when he addressed a simple ceremony held in Parliament today (17 November 2008) to hand over cheques for compensation to the next of kin of Sri Lankans who have died in accidents or due to natural causes during their employment in the Middle-East.

Speaking further at the function, which was held at the end of the meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Foreign Affairs, Minister Bogollagama said that he had made it the top priority of the Ministry, since he assumed the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, to discharge its functions with a people-centric orientation. Under the supervision of Deputy Minister Hussein A. Bhaila, the Consular Division of the Foreign Ministry has been coordinating with Sri Lankan Missions in the Middle-East to fast track the claims for compensation, death dues, end of service benefits, insurance and other dues of Sri Lankans who have died abroad. Thus, it has been possible to disburse a record of sum of almost Rs. 96 million to the families of the deceased Sri Lankans during the course of this year.

On this occasion, the Foreign Minister invited Ministers Tissa Karaliyadde and Mahinda Amaraweera, as well as Parliamentarians Ravi Karunanayake from the UNP and Bimal Ratnayake and Jinadasa Kitulegoda of the JVP to hand over some of the compensation cheques to the total value of Rs. 13 million to the members of 13 families who had lost their loved ones during employment overseas.

The Minister praised the excellent cooperation that the Ministry and Sri Lankan Missions abroad have received from the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) and the Department of Public Trustee in obtaining and disbursing compensation dues.

Deputy Minister Hussein A. Bhaila, Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona, Public Trustee Sarath Seneviratne, General Manager of the SLBFE, H. Batagoda and officials of the Foreign Ministry were present on the occasion.
- Sri Lanka Guardian