Row over migrant workers | Sunday Observer

Row over migrant workers

A Twitter spat ignited between MP Namal Rajapaksa and Telecommunications, Foreign Employment and Sports Minister Harin Fernando mid this week when the former said that there were about 30 migrant workers stranded in Kuwait.

Rajapaksa tweeted on Wednesday, “Ambassodor Kandeepan informs there are approximately 30 stranded migrant workers in Kuwait who are unable to return to Sri Lanka as they can’t afford to purchase their airline tickets. If anyone would like to assist, let’s help to bring them home. Contact @SenaniSL 4 more details.”

The revelation met with mixed reaction with some Twitter users questioning why the MP wants the public to help when he could intervene.

However, Minister Fernando responded to Rajapaksa’s tweet, saying he phoned Sri Lankan Ambassador to Kuwait B. Kandeepan, and he confirmed there was no such situation.

The tweet added, “He mentioned that he only had a casual chat with MP Namal Rajapaksa regarding challenges he is facing on irregular and overstaying migrant workers for reputation.”

He said that the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) has addressed the issue and made arrangements to bring down migrant workers.

“There is no authenticity in this tweet. Even tonight 30 workers will return home,” Minister Fernando said.

MP Manusha Nanayakkara told the media that politicians are using migrant workers to get political mileage, and it is unacceptable for Rajapaksa to present incorrect information.

Rajapaksa on Friday urged President Maithripala Sirisena to launch an inquiry into his statement.

“I categorically reject the claims by MP @nanayakkara77 (Manusha Nanayakkara) that there were no workers stranded in Kuwait. I continue to stand by my statement. In fact, I call on President Maithripala Sirisena to initiate an inquiry into my statement and to get to the bottom of this,” he said.