A MAN stranded in Bahrain for more than two decades will finally be reunited with his family today.
Sri Lankan Panthiya Dewage Cyril has been living in the country without legal documents since 1990, after being forced to work at odd jobs because his sponsor's company shut down.
He had lost his passport, worked at construction sites to earn the bare minimum and missed the weddings of two of his daughters.
His plight was taken up by the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) after he suffered a stroke that left him partially paralysed.
"This case once again highlights that there is a huge problem faced by the Sri Lankan community in Bahrain as there is no embassy to provide labour assistance," said MWPS chairwoman Marietta Dias.
"We tracked down his Bahraini sponsor after all these years and have completed all the necessary formalities at the immigration so that he can finally return to his country."
Ms Dias was speaking at a Press conference yesterday at the MWPS headquarters, Adliya.
Mr Cyril, in his 60s, said he could not wait to board a plane today and fly to Kelaniya, Colombo, to see his wife and four children - three daughters and a son.
However, he said he still does not know how he lost his passport.
"I have worked all over Bahrain in Arad, Hidd, Riffa doing different jobs as a mason and in maintenance of swimming pools," he said.
"I do not have a copy of my passport or any document.
"Whenever there was a labour inspection on the site, I would hide or disappear."
Mr Cyril then worked at Transworld Garage in Sehla, where he asked for help from the owner Ali Nasser Kadhem, who contacted MWPS.
"Two of my daughters are married now and I wanted to go back in 2001 but then my mother-in-law died in an accident and whatever money I had saved was used for her funeral.
"So, I was back to doing odd jobs.
"I want to see my wife and children.
"When they heard about my condition, which I kept hidden for many years, they wanted me back."
Meanwhile, MWPS secretary-general Beverely Hamadeh claimed Mr Cyril did not receive any support from Sri Lankan honorary consul general P B Higgoda, who is responsible for more than 15,000 Sri Lankans in Bahrain.
She said Mr Higgoda had also allegedly not co-operated with the society on a number of issues, including abuse cases of 59 Sri Lankan women sheltered by the society.
Mr Higgoda was unavailable for comment when contacted by the GDN last night.