2010-11-17 15:55:56

Fishermen appeal to Sri Lankan Cardinal to stop government project

(November 17,2010) In Sri Lanka, the Alliance for the Protection of the Negombo Lagoon, has appealed to Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, to negotiate with the government to stop the development project in the area. The project involves a base for seaplanes take off and landing. The letter was delivered to the Cardinal on November 15 and made public at a press conference held at the Centre for social and religious activities. The fishermen, most of them Catholic, called for the mediation of the Cardinal, after the unfulfilled promises of the government. Recently, Dayasritha Tissera, Deputy Minister for Civil Aviation, had assured a halt to of the project but the executive promises were unfulfilled. Solidarity among Catholic leaders for the workers has not been lacking however. Fr. Patrick Perera, vicar general of North Colombo, confirmed that the Catholic Church is on the side of the fishermen, the majority of whom are Catholics.
To date there are about 3.500 fishermen, whose livelihoods depend on the lagoon and the resources it offers. They form 10 thousand households, divided into 35 villages. The Ministry of Civil Aviation said that the Seaplane project will ensure a record growth in tourism. The luxury resorts will attract at least 2.5 million tourists by 2015, said the ministry.

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