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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2963

Chief Minister of the Eastern Province: Sivanesathurai Chanthirakanthan

When forcefully recruited as a child soldier, by the Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE) at the tender age of 14, Sivanesathurai Chanthirakanthan alias Pillayan, never had the assistance of previous Governments, I/NGOs or International Organizations to set him free from a world of bloody violence and gruesome death, to take him back to his family, back to a civilized society to gain an education and lead a normal life.Sivanesathurai Chanthirakanthan alias PillayanSivanesathurai Chanthirakanthan alias Pillayan

However 15 years on defying all the odds, Mr. Chanthirakanthan is the Hon. Chief Minister of the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka following the Provincial Council elections held in May 2008. With Karuna Amman’s (the former Eastern Commander of the LTTE) breakaway from the LTTE in 2004, brought a new lease of life for Pillayan. The Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) was created and after October 2007, he took leadership of the Party with a strong belief in democracy, peace and development and respect for the rule of law and pluralism. The transformation from child soldier to a politician in a democratic system has been impressive, mainly for having achieved this gigantic goal with nothing but self motivation, dedication and conviction to change.

Despite his traumatic past and continuing threat to his life from the LTTE, Mr. Chanthirakanthan, boldly stepped forth to serve humanity having been elected to represent the people of the Eastern Province, address their needs and safe guard their wellbeing and future. As Chief Minister, he has great plans for his people.

He wants to create a bright future for the every single citizen of the Province, regardless of their race or religion. Accessible education (formal, non formal and informal) for children, youth and adults, language education on Sinhala, Tamil and English, developed health system accessible to all and most importantly economic development which would result in the critically required creation of employment opportunities.

With a clear vision for the future Mr. Chanthirakanthan is confident that the Eastern Province can develop to match the development of the Western Province. Large project implementation is not the goal. The goal is to have complete and efficient implementation of projects which are urgently required to meet the needs of the people. This has been accepted to be a practical and timely approach adopted by the Chief Minister.

Not forgetting his past he recognizes the importance of providing opportunities for transformation for the ex-cadres who have given up arms. To be given a chance to serve in the society, as most of them were abducted and recruited in to the LTTE when they were under the age of 18. However he also understands that this process must take place, whilst providing for all the others in the Province with the same opportunities. Each of the three districts, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara is dominated by a different ethnic community; Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims respectively. However in the Province as a whole the ethnic composition is finely balanced with each community having one third of the population. Therefore Mr. Chanthirakanthan maintains that all citizens of the East must be treated equally and the TMVP will endeavour to achieve “equality, social and economic justice, community solidarity and freedom”.

Mr. Chanthirakanthan’s journey is exemplary to all the followers of the TMVP and mostly to the blinded followers of the LTTE. He stands at present as a survivor of the brutality inflicted by the LTTE on a young generation as to a vast majority of the people in the East. He stands to serve his people, to be instructed by the people. He now hears only the voice of the Eastern folk. He believes in a united Sri Lanka.

The transformation has been successful. However Mr. Chanthirakanthan must now be given the fullest support, assistance and guidance he requires to make his vision of a ‘flourishing east’ a reality. His conduct since entering main stream politics has been exemplary. He seeks to continue winning the hearts and minds of all the people of the East, of Sri Lanka and the International community by proving his actions are genuine and in the interest of Sri Lanka, as he truly believes that ‘actions speak louder than words’.

- Asian Tribune -

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