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Tamil Diaspora: Is it true? (Right of reply)

 People are more important than money and Institutional values are more important than approval of individuals. Money, People and Ownership make up the total value of our work. This is my personal discovery which helps me to keep going – despite disturbances and attempts to deviate us from the core purpose.

by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam

Dear Ms Thevanayagam,

( November 18, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I refer to your response published in the Sri Lanka Guardian, regarding my response to Mr. Rajasingham Jayadevan’s article on the Government Agent of Jaffna - Ms. Imelda Sukumar.

You have said in your response ‘Raj Jayadevan and Ms Paramasivam are bringing in outside factors to vilify Jaffna GA Imelda Sukumar and they are unable to stomach the truth as stated by the GA at LLRC. It is inconceivable that a fellow Tamil was able to gain the confidence of both the government and the public and to be holding a very important position as Jaffna GA. ‘

First of all, I am embarrassed that a fellow member of my alma mater - Holy Family Convent Jaffna would stoop to such levels of public reporting. If you feel deeply for our school, that belief would have prevented you from within. That is the power of Truth. Please see Appendix 1 for my credentials as certified by one of the best known educators of our times. My maiden name is Navaratnam and Mrs. Margret Saverimuthu is known to have called me her ‘star pupil’.

Ms Thevanayagam, compare that with your conclusion about me. I have continued to show all those qualities in my career, earning high commendations from Senior Officers of the Australian Public Service. I am now part of the Tamil Community Leadership that the Australian Government engages with regularly, in relation to Sri Lankan ethnic issues. This is why I wrote to protect not so much Ms Sukumar the individual but the position of GA Jaffna which is a key position used by our organization and the communities we serve. Today I responded in this regard about you ‘PT does not make sense and seems that she wants to 'show' that she is supporting Sukumar. But to me it is a question of protecting the administrative positions that we already have, to handover to the next generation. Hence my angle which Rajasingham Jayadevan seems to have picked up. I enjoyed reading his response.’

Ms. Thevanayagam, I am very much part of Jaffna. I feel Jaffna. What I do for Jaffna is what I do for myself. If you felt likewise, you would not have written as you did.

You have stated about Mr. Jayadevan & I “These two are among those who collect funds for forming various NGOs on behalf of the Tamil diaspora. I have not met Ms Paramasivam but she appears to be the side-kick for Jayadevan. NGOs milking the Tamil diaspora cannot function unless they show the world they are an endangered species and there needs to be organisations in the post-conflict period for peace NGOs, reconciliation organizations, trauma counseling associations et al. “

Ms Thevanayagam, you did not have to meet me to know me. You needed to study my work – on this matter on project basis and on the issue of Peace in Sri Lanka – my active work since 2003 on program basis. That is the Ms Paramasivam you needed to know before writing publicly about me. Based on how hasty you have been about me, I conclude that your conclusions about Ms Sukumar the Government Agent are highly unreliable.

As for being ‘endangered species’ – I am one who used the Public Administration of Sri Lanka to work to help the IDPs in the camps of Chettikulam. When you become the system you work it to derive value as per your needs. I obtained, without any political influence, the approval to go to the camps . Genuine work is always rewarded. No, I am not fearful of lack of funds. Why would I? I identify with the work done by our agencies including the Government of Australia – as my work, to the extent I contributed to that work through avenues available to me. Tamils back home recognize that to be the case. They say that to them I am the Australian Government and I am the World Bank. Beyond that we just accept what individuals share voluntarily. Most, if not all, want to contribute and I am happy to include their contribution in our projects but I am not dependent on the funds.

People are more important than money and Institutional values are more important than approval of individuals. Money, People and Ownership make up the total value of our work. This is my personal discovery which helps me to keep going – despite disturbances and attempts to deviate us from the core purpose.

Appendix 1

Miss G.Navaratnam is well known to me and I can testify to the excellence of her character. As a pupil in our Collegiate School she showed a high degree of intelligence and industry. Remarkable mathematical ability, easy command of both English and Tamil and enthusiastic participation in extra-curricular activities contributed to her brilliant school career. I have known her to be always cheerful, sociable and ready to be of service. Upright and dependable she is capable of giving her best to the task entrusted to her. I have no hesitation in recommending her to any post of responsibility.

(Mrs.) M. Saverimutu
Holy Family Convent Collegiate School – Jaffna

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