Being a Cabinet Minister in the government enables one to render services to the public in a much bigger way. “I commend your decision to return to your Ministerial portfolio. This shall sustain your capacity to serve the public better” said the Bishop of Mannar Right Reverend Dr. Fidelis Lionel Emmanuel Fernando on 1 August.
Bishop of Mannar Right Reverend Dr Fernando was meeting the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Cooperative Development, Skills Development & Vocational Training and Vanni District MP Rishad Bathiudeen at Bishop's House in Mannar town on the morning of 1 August. Minister Bathiudeen was paying a Courtesy Call on Right Rev. Dr Fernando during his visit to the electorate. “Vigorous inter-community and inter-faith relations are a must if the Mannar region is to prosper to next stage of development. The Catholic Church shall support your positive efforts to develop the region and enhance living standards of its people” observed Mannar Bishop Right Rev. Dr Fernando.
Responding to Bishop Right Rev. Dr Fernando, Minister Bathiudeen readily extended his condolences on the Easter Sunday attacks to the Church, saying that the terrorists involved were not at all considered as followers of Islam, but as savages by all Sri Lankan Muslims. “This is the united stand of all Muslim leaders and Muslim people of Sri Lanka. Since some Sri Lankans still do not think as Sri Lankans but think as Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims, we have not achieved the expected development even 70 years after independence. The three decades of war destroyed much of Northern Province including Mannar and even though infrastructure has been re-built, reconciliation needs some more work. I readily agree with Most Reverend Your Excellency that without inter-community relations, reconciliation will be lost in Mannar and everywhere. As an MP from Vanni District, I am always committed to strong inter-community relations in Mannar. My resumption of Cabinet portfolio came to be due to the collective final decision of all Muslim MPs and now I intend to resume my services to the public at national level” responded Minister Bathiudeen.