Words : Kamanthi Wickramasinghe
The mass migration of Sri Lankan workers to the Middle East began in 1976, following a sharp escalation in oil prices in the oil-rich Gulf countries. Migrant worker remittances are an important contributor to the country’s economy and the most important source of export earnings. According to statistics, remittances in Sri Lanka increased to 431.80 Million USD in May from 375 Million USD in April of 2020.
Many Sri Lankans migrate to Middle Eastern countries to seek jobs in various industries. Having extended his services in the Middle East for the past 20 years, Pantalion Perera, Executive Director of Al Bateer Securicor – the security division of Al Bateer Group, has provided job opportunities to thousands of Sri Lankans.
“Currently over 300 Sri Lankans are working at the Company,” he said while speaking to the Lanka Woman. “Our services include providing security officers to ministries, banks, shopping malls and major hotel chains. Despite the pandemic situation we are continuing operations while following international health regulation,” he added.
Mr. Perera, who is also the President of the Sri Lanka Coordinating Committee (SLCC) in Qatar – which comes under the purview of the Embassy of Sri Lanka to Qatar has been able to contribute to the President’s Fund during the pandemic outbreak. “We also distributed food parcels and dry rations to many needy Sri Lankans in Doha. From time to time we organise musical shows and other events to keep the Sri Lankan crowd together and develop fellowship.” In appreciation of his social service initiatives Mr. Perera was also bestowed with the prestigious Deshamanya title back in 2014.