Galle and its heritage
I refer to the response of Rohan Prithviraj
Perera of UNESCO, appearing in your issue of July 26
from which it is noted that he does not wish to continue
further dialogue on this issue.
As the person who originated this correspondence, may
I be permitted to submit my final observations on the
subject under discussion. R.P. Perera states that "it is
to be noted that requests for nomination as world
heritage with their respective titles are submitted by
governments who are state parties to the World Heritage
Convention." In the circumstances, I trust the
government department concerned, which I believe is the
Archaeological Department, would make note of the
contents of my previous letters published on May 10 and
In addition, this writer wishes to state that my
letter on the same subject appeared in another newspaper
on February 11, 2008 and D.G.A. Perera’s response to the
said letter appeared in the same newspaper on March 5,
2008 under the heading "Saving Galle Fort and ignoring
Vijithapura." I have no doubt that D.G.A. Perera will
not object to my quoting his letter which is very
relevant in the current context.
"D. H. Gunadasa has raised a valid question about our
sense of values as a nation. He has suggested that Sri
Lanka could enter the Guinness Book Of Records
being the only country in the world to glorify foreign
invaders. The sarcasm involved here is quite
appropriate, for successive governments have not only
neglected, but also allowed the desecration of two of
our most important ancient forts.
"The land on the southern end of the Polonnaruwa fort
and all along the road through the eastern wall, the
land has been alienated to private owners. It has become
a haven for treasure hunters, some of whom have become
rich thereby. That is the treatment given to a fort
built by our own kings nearly eight centuries before the
Dutch built their ugly fort at Galle, using the
impounded labour of the indigenous folk.
"D. H. Hemapriya and Dennis Fernando had been crying
out aloud, to the government and the Department of
Archaeology to recognise this ancient site and conduct
archaeological excavations there for over a quarter of
century now. The legitimate plea of these two amateur
archaeologists fell on the deaf ears of the JRJ
Government that was pushing ahead with the preservation
of Dutch buildings.
"D.H. Gunadasa’s parting shot should be modified to
read as follows: ‘We are the only country in the world
to glorify foreign invaders and preserve their
leftovers, while consigning the much older ruins of
greater value to our heritage, to be desecrated and
passed down to total oblivion.’"
Now that Rohan Prithviraj Perera of UNESCO, "does not
wish to continue further dialogue on this issue," it is
sincerely hoped that the Department of Archaeology will
respond to what is contained in this letter and my
previous letters referred to above.
D. H. Gunadasa
Nonchalance of a swindler
Several hundred depositors of F & G Property
Developers Ltd. were to demonstrate outside the Supreme
Court on July 23, demanding the settlement of the monies
due to them. It is certainly alarming that trusting
depositors have to agitate before court houses to get
justice. Lalith Kotelawala the genie has been trapped
but he confidently leers, sneers and grins waving to the
anxious depositors whilst being transported back to the
jail house from the court house.
Should not there be some hidden secret for his bland
nonchalance? A recent news item stated that influential
people were playing a role in the investigations.
Kotelawala is being investigated. Do not the
‘influential’ people become criminals too, for aiding
and abetting? Only wily, sagacious and the cunning could
induce the nonchalance in Kotelawala and his
‘influential’ supporters. The man has been rightly
locked up on a court order. His pretense of sickness saw
him in the Merchant’s Ward.
Court intervention saw him back in his cell. He now
rides a wheel chair, but back in prison, it is allegedly
a different story.
He has applied for bail. Perchance it is granted, it
will be a godsend for all depositors to meet him in
person! Whatever the real qualifications of Kotelawala
and his wife they have certainly graduated in swindling.
It is rumored that though in jail he enjoys all the
five star luxuries. His investors however remain
paupers, without a square meal.
Double standards of the private sector and Attorney
The exposure by Kimarli Fernando, formerly of
Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) on the fraudulent hedging
deal which appeared in The Sunday Leader of July
26 has only confirmed the extent of the sleaze and
corruption that prevails in the private sector today.
Foreigners have come and pillaged and plundered our
resources, as has happened over centuries. It
appears that their successor SCB is following in this
role by mis selling a product to an institution
whose decision making officers were completely out of
their depth in deciding on such a risky transaction.
It appeared that SCB was only interested in making
unconscionable profits. This disclosure revealed
that SCB subverted their own code of ethics and put
profit before ethics and did not care for the interests
of their client. This courageous lady was harassed
by the CEO who was only interested in his bonus and not
concerned about the ethics of the Bank and the ‘playing
out’ of a nation.
The CEO was cunning enough to rope in a state
bank thinking that the Central Bank would then not
oppose such a deal.
There are pontificating private sector officials who
claim that exposures are bad for attracting
investment and the image of Sri Lanka. This is a load of
rubbish. Genuine investors will be happier with the
knowledge that the judiciary would overturn corrupt
It is the fly by night investors who would be scared
to invest. These types are assisted by the leading law
firms here that eat off the fat of the private sector —
mostly from ill gotten gains. It is the ill gotten gains
these so called national minded people are really trying
to protect. These spokesmen feed off the local mafia who
are the plunderers of the people’s property.
Whistleblowing is what we need to activate in this
country. Kimarli’s disclosures on Sunday were like a
breath of fresh air. We need more courageous people to
blow. There is provision in the New Company Law which no
one has used effectively. The government sector would be
clean if the private sector stopped giving bribes.
The Chambers, who should be distributing whistles to
the business sector are supplying their members and the
general public with ear plugs and mufflers! There are
hired cover up artistes all around us.
The Attorney General who is paid by the tax payers’
monies objected to affidavits from eight concerned
parties being heard. Fortunately for the honest people
in this country the new Chief Justice, upholding
public interest permitted the affidavits to be sworn. If
not for the new Chief Justice acting in the public
interest, Kimarli’s disclosures would not have seen the
light of day.
Is the Attorney General not concerned about the
public interest? He is supposed to be defending the
country overseas in the arbitration case filed
by the banks involved in the hedging scam. Back
home he objects to disclosures being made against the
Similarly where P.B. Jayasundera and so many
others (one of whom is ironically now the Minister of
Justice) have had damning judgements against them,
what action has the Attorney General taken to enforce
the rule of law ?
What is the stand of the BASL?
Your Editorial of July 26titled "In Contempt Of
The Constitution" is certainly to the point. Yet
certain issues as regards BASL’s current stand arise.
Some clarifications are due from the Bar Association.
When pointing out that the article and its caption
"creates the impression that lawyers who appear against
the Defence Secretary are traitors" (one can certainly
get that impression), BASL, through its secretary,
clearly made out its stand on the issue as follows:
(1) "Every person has a legal right to be represented
by a lawyer."
(2) "Lawyers have a duty (save in exceptional
circumstances) to appear for such person."
(3) "BASL condemns any and all endeavours to prevent
lawyers appearing for clients, and/or clients having the
services of lawyers."
(4) "BASL will resist any pressure exerted to prevent
persons retaining lawyers and/or lawyers appearing for
On that stand, BASL requested removal of the
No reasonable person can take issue with the above in
view of the qualification at (2) above. BASL however
needs to clarify the following:
(i) How does the above stand reconcile with the stand
BASL took in the late ’80s when it resolved that no
lawyers appear for any member of the police against whom
legal proceedings were or may be instituted, unless and
until the government brought to book the killers of its
member lawyer Liyaanarachchy, who BASL alleged were some
members of the police, during the JVP uprising.
(ii) Was it legally justifiable or justifiable on any
grounds of fairness and reasonability or on grounds of
natural justice for the BASL to penalise all and every
member of the police for the alleged crimes of some
members only of the police?
(iii) If BASL cannot reconcile the two apparently
inconsistent/contrary stands, will it retrace one or the
other? If so which?
(iv) If BASL stands by its 1988/89 stand, will it
therefore ask its members to refuse services to Defence
Ministry personnel; and retract its current stand? If it
stands by its current stand will it retract its 88/89
stand? What then? Or, finally will it ignore the
contradictory stands, meaning the current stand remains?
If so, is it a tenable position worthy of BASL, to
(v) Finally what are the "exceptional circumstances"
at (2) above?
That ‘Amazing Story’
Re: Letter on "Amazing Article" in The Sunday Leader
of July 26.
Please note Mr. Rusiripala Tennekoon was contacted
for his view point on our story in that he was a former
chairman of the NGJA. We did not as the writer states,
"contact him for advice."
In so far as Mr. Milton Fernando is concerned, he is
in fact an award-winning exporter of gems. We stand by
Scouts Association recruiting girls
It was reported in some week-end English newspapers
including The Sunday Leader that the Scouts
Association which has now dropped the word ‘boys’ has
begun to recruit girls and has joint camps. This has
been vehemently criticised and opposed — quite correctly
— by the Girl Guides’ Association, where they say that
it is not in keeping with our high ideals of bringing up
girls to be useful to society, safeguarding our culture,
beliefs and religion.
The Chief Commissioner of the Scouts’ Association,
C.C. Batuwangala has said that he merely carried out the
instructions of the parent association — a very
irresponsible statement indeed — having no sincere
feelings for the country, our culture, our outlook in
life and our aspirations.
Here it is best to quote what President Obama has
said as reported by Alex Spillus in The Telegraph.
"The danger I think is when the United States or any
country thinks that we can simply impose these values on
another country with a different history and different
Hope the Chief Commissioner of the Scouts
Association, C.C. Batuwangala at least learns from what
Barack Obama has said, rather than follow blindly what
some Western organisation dictates. That’s sense.
Parents, please write in expressing your views.
P. Sudharman de Silva
Sudharman is no more. He passed away a few months ago
after a brief illness and it was so unfortunate that I
could not attend his funeral due to ill health.
I have known him for over a period of 40 years having
worked with him at the Colombo Municipal Council. He was
straight forward, open-hearted and honest. He was a
simple man who respected his peers as well as his
He was known throughout the island because he was the
Secretary of the Local Government Clerical Service Union
for several years and fought for the rights of its
members. What I observed in him was that he hated
injustice and did not make use of his position to obtain
promotions in the service.
I very well remember his turning down a top job
offered to him at the Housing Ministry by the then Prime
Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike. He did this because he
did not want to betray the union.
People of his calibre are not easy to come by in the
May he attain nibbana.
Thank you for the kindness
The impermanence of life brought its curtain down on
you on August 2,
1999, ten years ago. This
was his birth month too. I am only sorry a few more
years you would have reached a three quarter century
which I am about to reach. This made me reflect on the
age old sayings;
"They will not grow old as we who are left will grow
old. Age will not weary them, nor the years condemn"
Death humbles us all because in death we are all
equal. Your life was a shining example of humility and
equality to your children and self, your loving younger
You were an exemplary son to your parents,
exceptional husband to your lovely wife Joyce and a
loving father to your sons, daughters and the in laws
whom you never considered as in laws but your own
Whilst all of them continue understandably to grieve
at your loss. I am sure they are equally grateful to God
for having given them a husband, father and grand father
of such human qualities, whose life revolved around
compassion, loving kindness and service to humanity.
He was attached to the Ceylon Tea Propaganda Board
and they advertised saying ‘any time is tea time.’ This
was his theme in his personal life too where anybody
could come for help or advice at any time of the day.