8.4 Sri Lankan Diaspora Communities
Non-Resident Sri Lankan (NRSL) communities will potentially join hands with the task of helping Sri Lanka if there is a friendly environment to do so. They need assurances that every dollar they spent in their country of birth is not wasted or ends up in unintended places.
If elected, we will deal with the NRSL communities as follows:
We consider it the responsibility of the government to officially recognize the importance of the NRSL communities and their entitlement in making contributions to political decision making and policy making for the future of Sri Lanka. After a review of all institutional, structural and cultural barriers, facilitating processes will be introduced wherein the NRSL communities can play an active role. They need concrete policies and procedures that will ensure them that Sri Lanka will be a rule-based society.
If elected, by educating the public about the positive contribution the NRSL communities can make in nation building we will work to change the current stereotyping of them as a negative force, using media, opinion leaders and politicians. This will help improve the motivation and interest of the NRSL communities in engaging with Sri Lanka and alleviate any discrimination they face in dealing with issues back home.
We will recognize the NRSL communities as an integral part of the Sri Lankan Nation by introducing legislation to encourage dual citizenship with the right to vote and land/property ownership. We will take measures to implant a culture of accepting the NRSL communities as internal stakeholders through a new set of social norms including dealing with the terminology, social taboos, literature etc.
Formal institutional arrangements will be set up to consult the NRSL communities for policy and decision-making purposes. This will be important in the national planning process, particularly in the domains of foreign policy making, economic development and human resource development.
In studying international best practices, we will look for international success stories of other countries cooperating with their non-resident communities in building knowledge economies. We will particularly look at countries such as India, China, Israel, Caribbean nations and African countries. Based on this learning, we will develop our own NRSL community knowledge sharing models. Tertiary educational institutions will act as the main knowledge interface between public policy making and the NRSL communities. Such institutions will act with autonomy in facilitating this process. Facilities and funding for such collaborative efforts will be provided.
We will look into Public Private Partnership (PPP) models that can be developed with the NRSL communities, particularly on investment and economic development activities. These partnerships will not only invest private capital and expertise in implementing projects but will enable the public sector to play an active and constructive role in defining the role of various players according to the national requirements.
With the recent Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and emergency and dynamics of social media, the power of ICT and social media should be leveraged not only for studying and researching on knowledge, preference, behaviours of NRSL communities, but also for using appropriate web technologies in positively engaging and interacting with them. A multi-dimensional, multi-stakeholder strategic plan can be developed in achieving this goal.
People residing in different parts of the world with the highest NRSL residencies will be appointed as their representatives to deal with the Sri Lankan Government. A bipartisan parliamentary committee with a representation from each province will be established to identify small to medium projects of philanthropic nature that would have the potential for the NRSL communities to assist.