Ranil Wickremesinghe and
Most Revd. Cletus Chandrasiri Perera ishop of
For whom the bell tolls
Collapse of “Golden Key Credit Card Company” and the
Publications in The Sunday Leader
7th April 2009
Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe
Leader of the U.N.P.
Leader of the Opposition
No. 2, Cambridge Terrace, Colombo 7.
Greetings for a Happy New Year
Colapse (sic) of “Golden Key Credit Card company and the
Publications in the “Sunday Leader” and “Irudina”
no secret that the two weekly journals “Sunday Leader”
and “Irudina” are “unofficial” U.N.P. journals, often
critical of the present president and the government.
Bishop of the Catholic Church, I wish to bring to your
kind notice the offensive conduct of these two journals
in connection with the sad plight of the depositors of
Golden Key Credit Card Company which colapsed.(sic)
Bishop of Ratnapura, I am one of the victims of the
irresposible (sic) conduct of the two journals. What is
most offensive is the malicious reference to us as
“swindlers list”(“Sunday Leader” March 22, 2009) and the
singular reference to the Catholic clergy as “investors
in robes, Father forgive them,” publishing a picture,
rediculing (sic) our Most Sacred Cross (“Sunday Leader,”
March 15, 2009 “Irudina,” March 22 and 29, 2009). I
consider this as a disparagement of our Christian
Religion by the two journals by their irresponsible use
of media freedom. No state media has ever had refered
(sic) to any religion or clergy in such derogatory terms
as “Sunday Leader” and “Irudina”, the journals,
supported by the U.N.P.
what grounds do they categorise us as “a Swindlers’
List” when they know nothing about how these monies were
earned. Let them know that the monies under the names of
Bishops and Heads of Institutions are not their personal
assets, but belong to their respective Dioceses and
Institutions, and are used for their needs.
cannot but state that the two “unofficial” U.N.P.
journals have maliciously offended the feelings of the
desperate depositors, some of whom happen to be the
Catholic clergy, who have been unfairly highlighted in
I strongly urge you, Hon. Sir, as the leader of the
U.N.P. and of the Opposition, to have the editors of the
two journals make amends by accomplishing the following:
making an apology to the Catholic Church and all the
other G.K. depositors for unfairly categorising them as
“swindlers” and their assets as “black money”, and above
all for insulting our Sacred Cross which is most
precious to us, Christians. 2. Among the clergy I am the
most offended person as Bishop of Ratnapura, as they
maliciously published my picture without any reference
to me. Hence I urge you to have the annexed statement
published in the issues of “Sunday Leader” and “Irudina”
on April 12 or 19, 2009. It should be published as
written by me with no Change.
these two items do not appear in the said journals on
April 12 or 19, my priests and I will be compelled to
make a statement, perhaps a stronger one, to the state
controlled media. We are not to be blamed if such a
statement will have adverse effects on the U.N.P. at the
up-coming Western Provincial Council Election
shall take up this issue at the forth-coming meeting of
the Catholic Bishops’ Conference to be held from April
20 to 23, 2009.
With kind regards
Bishop Cletus Chandrasiri Perera
Bishop of Ratnapura
“My Diocese is in deep crisis, thanks to Golden Key
With the unexpected colapse (sic) of the “Golden Key
Credit Card Company” a few Catholic Dioceses and
Institutions have their deposits blocked in the said
Company. These are not the personal monies of the
Bishops or the Heads of the Institutions. They are
purely the common assets of their respective
Dioceses or Institutions and are used for their
day-to-day needs. They are not “black money” or
“swindled” as some maliciously speculate. If they
are “black money” or “swindled”, we challenge them
to prove it with acceptable evidence.
Diocese of Ratnapura has 40 million Rupees blocked
in the G.K. Company. This money is not my personal
money. It totally belongs to my Diocese. In fact,
the greater part of it had been deposited before I
took over the Diocese during the periods of my
predecessors who in their far-sighted wisdom, wanted
to establish a stable economy for the Diocese. They
have to be thanked for it.
need Rs 15 Lakhs (1.5 M.) just for one month to make
ends meet in the day-to- running of the Diocese. The
chief income to cover the expense of 15 Lakhs is the
interest from our fixed deposits. We have no other
regular income in the Diocese. When 40 Mn. is
blocked with its accrued interest, we have lost a
monthly income of Rs 8 Lakhs. That means that we
have lost more than half of our regular monthly
income. We just cannot meet our monthly expenditure
now. We are bankrupt. We are in deep crisis.
have only 24,986 Catholics (4897 families) in my
Diocese. About 75% of them live in utter poverty.
Just a few families can make a substantial
contribution to the Church. Therefore the income
from the people is minimal. I have 22 parishes, 4
Diocesan Institutions, 33 priests and 20 major and
minor seminaries to maintain. The vehicles of the
Diocese have to be maintained. The medical needs of
the priests have to be met. Allowances to the
catechists have to be paid monthly. Wages to the
employees have to be paid monthly. A few convents
have to be financially supported. Expenses on many
charitable projects have to be met. These are but a
few of the expenditure, amounting to Rs.15 Lakhs a
month. We only trust in the Providence of God.
Most Revd. Cletus Chandrasiri Perera
Bishop of Ratnapura
have three questions for his Lordship Rt. Rev. Dr.
Cletus Chandrasiri Perera, Bishop of Ratnapura...
your Lordship’s predecessor deposited this money why was
it not in his name or in the name of the diocese?
much interest per month did you receive as a result of
this sum deposited in your name with Golden Key?
as you state 75% of your parishioners are living in
utter poverty how long did it take for the diocese to
collect Rs 40 million?
title to the first copy on a series of articles on this
issue tagged “Swindlers List” was with reference to
Deshamanya Lalith Kotelawala, his wife Lady Dr. Sicille
Kotelawala and the Golden Key Credit Card Co. Needless
to say “swindlers list” has a different meaning to “list
of swindlers” in the English language.
the Bishop of Ratnapura made a conscious decision to
deposit the said funds with Golden Key at an
astronomical rate of interest, we owe neither him nor
the Catholic Church an apology.
Bishop was spoken to by the Editor on the phone before
the said article was published but he refused to answer
also wish to place on record that the Bishop attempted
to use the good offices of Opposition Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe in trying to influence the editorial
content of this newspaper in relation to our references
to him and the Catholic Church in our exposes on Golden
request to this effect from Mr. Wickremesinghe, which,
we turned down was in upholding the highest standards of
independent, unbiased, professional journalism. We fail
to understand why his Lordship subsequently wrote to the
Leader of the Opposition who has no interests in this
newspaper, when he should have responded in the first
instance on the phone with us.
encourage the Bishop of Ratnapura to go ahead and make a
“stronger” statement on this issue “to the state
controlled media.” I trust that his Lordship would in
that instance be writing through the President of Sri