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November 01, 2016
The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
has formally twinned with Jaffna, Sri Lanka
A small delegation from Jaffna, a district in northern province of Sri Lanka, spent time in the borough this week visiting Kingston Hospital, Kingston University and a number of small to mid sized enterprises (SMEs) with the aim of forging greater links and understanding.

The visit culminated with a ceremony twinning Kingston to Jaffna last night in the Guildhall. Chief Minister Hon. Justice C.V. Wigneswaran for the Northern Province gave a thoughtful and insightful keynote speech.

As part of the twinning, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed to commit to greater collaboration between Kingston and Jaffna in the areas of education, healthcare, economic development, cultural affairs and governance. Off the back of the Jaffna delegation meeting with a number of local organisations to explore these areas, RBK will be working closely with the Chief Minister to turn these positive introductions into meaningful outcomes.

Councillor Kevin Davis, Leader of Kingston Council, said:

"The twinning of Kingston with Jaffna celebrates the important role of Kingston's Tamil population in our community and will provide opportunities for cross cultural and economic exchanges. We are keen to play our part in trying to support the Chief Minister in his efforts to develop democracy in the Northern Province. We are excited by the opportunities this partnership will give us to share knowledge with Jaffna and enhance our understanding of the fast growing Tamil community in Kingston. We hope that Kingston's Tamil community and the wider Tamil community across the UK will approach the Council and support us both intellectually to develop the objectives of the MOU and also financially to operationalise the MOU."

Kingston has approximately 12,000 Tamils living in the borough and is one of the largest and fastest growing local communities. Tamil is now Kingston's second language.
Chief Minister of Jaffna and Cllr Kevin Davis sign the Memorandum of Understanding
(L-R) Cllr Yogan Yoganathan, James Berry MP, Cllr Roy Arora,
Cllr Gaj Wallooppillai, Deputy Mayor Cllr Rowena Bass, Mayor Cllr Geoff Austin,
Chief Minister Hon. Justice C.V. Wigneswaran,
Leader of Kingston Council - Cllr Kevin Davis and Cllr Thay Thayalan
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