Independence celebrated in Kuwait in grand style
By Sri Lankan Embassy in Kuwait
Feb 5, 2010
On the occasion of celebrating Sri Lanka's 62nd National Day, an official ceremony was held at the chancery premises on 4th February morning with the participation of over 500 Sri Lankan nationals and well-wishers. As part of the celebrations, the Embassy also hosted a diplomatic reception for the Kuwaiti government leaders, officials, civil society, members of the diplomatic corps, media and members of the Sri Lankan community in Kuwait at a leading hotel.

A special feature of this year's ceremony was the enthusiasm shown by the diaspora to celebrate the independence in a fitting manner in appreciation of the liberation of motherland from a 03-decade of terrorism. The event commenced with the hoisting of the national flag followed by the singing of the national anthem. The traditional oil lamp was lit thereafter, followed by the observance of a 02-minutes silence in honour of national heroes. The multi-religious observances were conducted to invoke blessings on President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Government and the people of Sri Lanka. The National Day messages of the President, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister were read out in all 03 languages following which the Ambassador delivered a speech.

Speaking on the occasion Ambassador Sarath Dissanayake appreciated the presence of a large gathering of Sri Lankans belonging to all communities at the independence ceremony as a mark of unity and harmony. Elaborating further he emphasized President Rajapaksa's vision to develop Sri Lanka as the 'Wonder of Asia' under the "Mahinda Chindtana - Forward Vision" with a view to ushering in a bright and prosperous future for all.

Ambassador, on behalf of the Sri Lankan community in Kuwait extended his congratulations and best wishes to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on his re-election for the 2nd term at the elections on 26th January. He said President Rajapaksa's victory is a triumph for the people of Sri Lanka and that he is committed to carrying out his obligations by the people with a view to safeguarding democracy, freedom and rights of all. Ambassador also paid his gratitude to the Sri Lankan community in Kuwait for their commitment and dedication toward their motherland which is amply demonstrated by their generosity in kind and deed toward the war heroes and their loved ones. He also acknowledged that the Sri Lankan community has given their best to their motherland amidst difficulties they themselves are experiencing in their day to day lives.

Speaking on Sri Lanka - Kuwait relations, Ambassador touched upon the generosity and goodwill of the Kuwaiti government and its people to Sri Lanka and their magnanimity toward the needy and the displaced persons in the country. Ambassador was also grateful to the government and people of Kuwait for the generous welcome and hospitality extended to expatriates Sri Lankan which would go a long way in further enhancement of Sri Lanka - Kuwait bilateral relations. The "Uthuru Mithuru" and the "Jaffna library" projects initiated by the Government have been introduced to the guests seeking their generous contributions for the worthy endeavours.

A group of school girls from the Sri Lanka National School and the Sri Lanka Cultural School sang devotional songs in praise of Sri Lanka and its leaders.

The welcome speech was delivered by Mr. Sunil Sarath Perera, Minister Counsellor while the vote of thanks was proposed by Mr. Herath Yapa, Minister Counsellor. The event was compered by Mr. Sunil Premaratne, First Secretary with the assistance of Mr. Indranesan, Attaché.

As part of the day's proceedings, a programme dedicated to the stranded female workers at the Embassy Safe-house was held to instill patriotism and unity among the inmates under the "Mathrubhumi Wandana" programme introduced by Mr. Sunil Sarath Perera, Minister Counsellor.

At the end of the ceremony refreshments were served which included traditional milk-rice and sweet meals etc. to the delight of all.

For the reception hosted in the evening over 300 guests participated, comprised of members of the diplomatic corps, government leaders, senior officials, members of media NGOs, civil society and a cross-section of Sri Lankan community. The Chief Guest of the occasion was H.E. Dr. Mohammed Mohsen Al-Busairi, Minister of Communication & Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs.

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador emphasized the significance of the 62nd National Day for Sri Lankans all over the world, as it marks an important milestone for the country following the victory over terrorism which haunted Sri Lankans for almost 30 years. He said the country is now wide open from East to West and North to South for people to move about free, live with self-respect & dignity enjoying full freedom than never before. Referring to the new opportunities opened for foreign stakeholders, he said investments, tourism and trade have taken the lead in driving the economy forward. While appreciating the members of the international community in their interest in Sri Lanka, he invited them to take advantage of this opportunity and visit Sri Lanka to become partners in development.

The evening ended on a positive note while guests being hosted to a cocktail reception. The Embassy staff gave away Sri Lankan Souvenirs including tourism brochures to the guests at the end.