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27th February 2000

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Non Aligned Nations' Conference

My Police Memories
By S. Sivendran
(Retd. Snr. Supdt. of Police)

Inspector Terry Williams who was O.I.C., Cinnamon Gardens was transferred as O.I.C., Fort from where he was elevated to the rank of Asst. Supdt. of Police. He was succeeded by Inspector Lionel Perera who was earlier O.I.C Harbour. He too after a few months at Cinnamon Gardens as O.I.C was promoted as A.S.P and Inspector Wijaya Seneviratne too over as O.I.C Cinnamon Gardens who was earlier H.Q.I. Nittambuwa.

Lucky Kodituwakku who was A.S.P-in-charge of Cinnamon Gardens too was transferred to the Prime Minister's Security Division and was succeeded by A.S.P., H.L Piyasena. The Commissioner of Police Colombo was Senior Supdt. of Police Mr. A.C Lawrence and D.I.G in charge of Colombo was Mr. Rudra Rajasingham.

During my attachment at Cinnamon Gardens I was sent as acting O.I.C Borella when Inspector K.J.A. Perera - batch mate of mine who was O.I.C Borella went on a scholarship to Malaysia. But on his return from Malaysia after 1 1/2 months I was back at Cinnamon Gardens.

The year 1976 was a historic one for Sri Lanka as the Non- Aligned Nations' Conference which was one of the biggest international conferences, was held in Colombo at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, which was built by the Chinese Government at the request of our Prime Minister Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike who has the unique distinction of being the first woman Prime Minister of the world. At this Conference there were more than 100 Heads of State from the world in Colombo to attend this Conference. For this Conference there was a lot of planning as regards security to the Heads of State. Some of the world leaders who attended this Conference were Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, Marshal Tito, President of Yugoslavia, Colonel Muhammar Gadaffi President of Libya and Fidel Castro, Prime Minister of Cuba to name a few and these leaders attracted huge crowds in Colombo.

For the first time in Sri Lanka close circuit T.V was introduced at the B.M.I.C.H during this Conference which was a gift by the Government of Yugoslavia and the Prime Minster, Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike was personally present at the B.M.I.C.H practically daily to see to all the arrangements regarding the Conference and to see that the Conference was a success.

During this period I was appointed as Officer in Charge of Cinnamon Gardens Police, as the former Officer in charge Vijaya Seneviratne along with several others were promoted as Temporary Asst. Supdts of Police and given special assignments in connection with the Non-Aligned Conference. The Cinnamon Gardens Police had to play a key role during this period as the B.M.I.C.H came within its jurisdiction and it was the hub of all activities in connection with the Conference. The motorcade on the opening day of the Conference where all the Heads of State went on a state drive went along Sir Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Edinburgh Crescent, Albert Crescent, Alexandra Place (C.W.W. Kannangara Mawatha), Independence Avenue, Maitland Place and Bauddhaloka Mawatha which all came within the Cinnamon Gardens Police area and there were massive crowds lining up along these roads to have a glimpse of the world leaders who were going along these routes to attend the opening ceremony of the conference. I had to go along with the C.I.D to all the houses along the motorcade route and personally check on the occupants living in them and to search the area days ahead of the opening ceremony.

The roads too were barricaded to prevent the crowd from getting on to the roads along the motorcade route and special traffic arrangements were put into operation. Jim Bandaranaike who was S.P in charge of Nuwara Eliya was brought down to Colombo and was in charge of traffic and other arrangements. He was based at the Cinnamon Gardens Police Station in my office. He and I had to work round the clock during those days and enjoyed our work in perfect harmony. Especially we spent the evenings after a heavy day's work in an enjoyable manner.

The conference was hailed by the whole world as a great success which was a great tribute to the organizing ability of Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike. At the end of the conference Marshal Tito threw a lavish party to the Prime Minister, Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike and those who were responsible for the arrangements for the conference on his private Yacht "Yaleb" which was brought from Yugoslavia and berthed alongside the Queen Elizabeth Quay. I as O.I.C Cinnamon Gardens too was invited to this exclusive party by the Yugoslav Ambassador which was a great privilege as only a handful of senior police officers were invited to this party.

On the rugby scene Navy another Club that was made a Constitutional club along with Police, Army and Air Force, in 1974 emulated the Army and Air Force who were the 1975 Cup finalists by entering the Clifford Cup finals in 1976 against the Havelocks. The Captain of the Navy team was hooker Ilex Perera and he had in his team players who took to rugby only after joining the Navy. Ilex Perera, the skipper, had his education at Christ King College, Tudella and he too learnt the rudiments of rugby in the Navy. His team had Radhakrishnan, Anthony, N.K Nandasiri, L.P Perera, H. A Ramanayake, T. M. N Sheriffdeen, P. L .B Nandasiri, V.C Perera, Nazeer, Somapala Perera, Gunawansa Waidyaratne, M.T.S.R Perera and Bin Galiph who were all new to rugby.

On the other hand the Havelocks were oozing with the best of schoolboy rugby talent. This team was captained by Thajone Savangam from Isipatana College who went onto represent Sri Lanka. The others were Travis de Jong, a hooker from St. Peter's College and brother of Jeffry de Jong, Jeyar Rodriguez a Peterite who too represented Sri Lanka and is today domiciled in Canada. The other prop was Gavin Stevens from St. Anthony's College, Kandy who too represented Sri Lanka and who made his first trip to Australia along with me and is presently living there. Lock was Royden Silva of St. Peter's College who was a fine lineout specialist who played basketball and rugby for Sri Lanka. The other lock was Stefan de Silva of S. Thomas' College, a keep fit fanatic who is now in Sydney working for the Sydney Prisons as a Superintendent whose hospitality I enjoyed when I was in Australia. Jeffry de Jong, a flanker from St. Peter's College too played for Sri Lanka and is married to a Patternott girl who is the daughter of the late Norman Patternott who was a good friend of mine and the sister of Patrick, Aubrey, Rodney, and Hemish who all invited me to spend an Easter Sunday at their house in Melbourne. Anton Benedict, a Josephian, No:8 who was in the Police for a brief spell as a Sub Inspector and captained the Police in 1972 to win the Clifford Cup and represented Sri Lanka was elected the President of the Rugby Union for the 2nd year at the A. G. M.

Battle of the Saints

A bold approach in the new millennium

Enough is enough was the decision taken by the authorities of the two premier Catholic Boys' Schools of Colombo to over two decades of draws & dwindling spectator enthusiasm at the annual Battle of the Saints. Bold and brave moves are the need of the era deemed the Rectors of these two great Institutions with the guidance of the two Cricket Advisory Committees. Thus once again the mantle of leadership is being taken by these two institutions to restore to big matches the thrills and excitement such games were reputed for in the past.

To take the easy way out and extend the match by an extra day was not the answer, as it would surely encourage the game to be slowed down even further. To substitute the match with extra limited over games was also a possibility, but traditions having to be maintained was also as important for these two old and established colleges. The need of the hour was to persuade the coaches and captains that it was immaterial who won or lost the match but how the game of cricket was played. Similarly the message that records had to be broken and trophies carried away, being not the main reason to play this match needed to be conveyed gently but firmly. It was of paramount importance to keep the match lively by instilling a sense of urgency to the players. To make the spectators feel they were getting value for their time and money (premium needs of modern times) that they were being asked to sacrifice was another important consideration to be kept in mind. The answers to these had to be derived by further fostering and developing the qualities of mutual understanding, trust and sporting behavior between cricketers of these great institutions. Agreement had to be reached not to kill the game on the first day itself. With this principle established, the way was cleared to introduce the following concepts for the first Y2K Battle of the Saints.

* Both sides to not bat for more than 60 overs in their respective 1st innings, ensuring the 2nd innings of a side commences not later than the first hour on the 2nd day.

* Bowling rates to be increased to accommodate the increased number of mandatory overs to be bowled over extended playing hours each day.

* Umpires to be empowered to impose stricter controls on wides and negative bowling efforts on either side of the wicket.

* No special fielding restrictions as in limited overs cricket to be imposed other than the normal fielding restrictions on the leg side.

College authorities of both schools are well aware that there could be teething problems and unforeseen situations such as weather interruptions to deal with in times to come. They are also aware that there would be many an armchair critic who would wax eloquent on the demerits of such changes. A commonsense approach to face flak is what is being banked on, with the cooperation of the coaches, masters-in-charge, captains and the designated umpires for the match.

In the end what is expected is for players, spectators and well -wishers to go back home after two days of absorbing and action-filled entertainment with a common utterance of "We did not mind the result, but enjoyed a match full of thrills and spills".

Date - 10th and 11th of March

Thomian pool completed at last

By Annesley Ferreira

The much talked about 25 metre swimming pool at S.Thomas' College Mt. Lavinia has been completed at last. It will be declared open next month.

The completion of the pool took 12 months and when the bills are finally paid the pool will cost a staggering thrity-five million rupees or more.

Though three other swimming pools were completed ahead of the Thomian pool, namely the Municipal pool at Kotahena, NCC pool at Maitland Place and the most recent the pool at the Sugathadasa Stadium, all of them have been built for less than rupees ten million a piece. Granted, the Thomian pool is superior in many respects, including the materials used. The question is: can the Board of Governors justify the need for such an extravaganza for a school swimming pool?

Perhaps the first competitive swimming pool in Sri Lanka the old one built in 1934, withstood poor maintenance and repair for some 60 odd years. It was a gift from that famous and generous British benefactor, the late Dr. R.L. Hayman, former sub-warden of this college by the sea, and he went onto build another at Gurutalawa.

Undoubtedly it was one of the finest of swimming pools of the short course international lengths of twenty-five metres.

The burning question is, why this staggering cost when the Old Boys would have constructed the same with rupees fifteen million or less had they been given the task of modernising and internationalising this great gift of Dr. Hayman. Certainly, that was not the case to be, the Old Boys got the architecutural and structural drawings done and raised some millions of rupees with the help of the former warden and the Parent's Teacher's Association.

When still in the preliminary stages the OBA sent the draft drawings to the Board of Governors for approval.

Instead of approving this OBA project the Board of Governors highjacked the project and appointed its own chairman. The OBA distanced itself as there were no persons of knowledge of swimming or building pools in this committee.

By applying improper specifications the pool is useless as a learning and training pool. The shallow end is far too deep: in excess of 1.5 meters in depth, more than four feet nine inches, a depth too deep for a school pool.

The former pool was three feet deep at the shallow end for more than 30 feet of the length of the pool, provided for learning, an ideal depth for kids to learn and train. Internationalising is determined by the length of the pool ( 25 or or 50 metres) and certainly not by its depth, except for diving and water-polo.

Following FINA (International Body Governing Aquatic Sports) specifications shows the lack of understanding in building swimming pools.

FINA specifications are only for Olympic Games and the World Championships pools and specifically states the depths for swimming, diving and water polo pools.

Except for the two international distances for pools, ie, 25 and 50 metre pools, regardless of the number of lanes, the depth must be modified for pools for learning and training.

Another costly blunder was to have a separate pool for kids which may have given rise to the staggering cost of rupees 35 million.

Two separate pools means two separate filteration and recyling plants. Maintenance would more than double in such situations. The original plans never provided for two separate pools, as noted by a member of the original swimming pool project committee.

Having a competition pool for a school is ridiculous.

With the proliferation of 25 metre pools in the last few months, it is unlikely that 25 metre championships would attract to the Thomian facility. The only attraction would be the two one metre spring diving boards, poosibly for a future national championships program.

The Thomian pool would be the envy of any short course pool in Sri Lanka in many respects. It has the minimum requirement of five or six lanes and the international competition lenght of 25 metres and built with the best materials a pool can possibly attract.

In order to keep the correct tiling, when the contractor ran short, imported tiles worth Rs 10,000 and paid an outrageous freight cost of Rs 54,000. Such was the disregard for expenditure of this project.

In view of the sophisticated and sensitive equipment installed its maintenance would also be expensive.

Since Sri Lanka has no certification for swimming pool operators, the associated costs to keep the correct balance and the required chemicals would run into hundreds of thousands of rupees. The Thomian pool is a high activity pool, which means a minimum of 8 to 10 hours recirculation and filteration is required to keep it in good condition.

Ideally the Thomian pool should have provided for the depth at the deep end to meet the minimum depth for the three metre spring- board for diving, though there is no three metre diving provided for.

The separation of the second pool from the main was not necessary at all. By having a floating platform to extend or reduce the distance to conform to international short course, swimming pools are now built this way and this information was available to the project committee. The depth at the shallow end could have been kept at a level to play water polo, certainly not in excess of four feet.

Those Old Boys who would remember Dr R.L.Hayman may have had a sigh of relief that this gift has been modernised and internationalised, as a mark of respect to him.

Mr. Vijitha Fernando whom The Sunday Times contacted says that what is important now is to condemn the blunders in restoring the great gift of Dr Hayman, and for all Thomians to rally round the college and honour the remaining payments to the construction company.

The International Construction Consortium, who had done a great job in good faith to complete the pool, restoring some of the edifice in remembering the orginial pool.

This is the kind of respect and confidence ICC management had for S.Thomas College. The great services of Synio Ameodra, Consultant Architect, must also be recognised.

He appeals to all Thomians to contribute for years 2000 and 2001 to pay off this staggering debt incurred, to college.

Meanwhile, when The Sunday Times spoke to Saroj Weerasuriya who is in the swimming pool committee being a structural engineer who is also an Old Boy, he admitted that the FUNA regulations cannot be satisfied with regard to the water-polo requirements for which the depth should be 1.8 metres and there were 1.5 metres, but with regard to swimming, all was in order. The character of the Old Pool built by Dr R.L.Hayman in 1934 will be maintained on the new pool of 25 metres built to FINA regulations which had been laid with the tily grout of Liticrete of USA added with Italian tiles from an Old Boy from Italy which is the same used at the Atlanta Olympics.

Sodium vapour lamps also donated by an old boy from Thorn UK has been installed at the pool which is now in use with starting blocks, pool pumps, filters from Certikin, UK.

"Though I was never a swimmer, but a cricketer, I have taken a keen interest in helping out". Saroj added.

The Swimming Committee is headed by Malcolm Peiris with the Acting Warden as co-chairman.

He added that the pool was constructed on the advice of several consultants who are Old Boys and it will be declared open with the blessings of the Bishop of Colombo on March 13 at 4 p.m. Right now the pool is being used with all the equipment installed, Saroj added in conclusion.

C.P. Jayasuriya bids adieu

By S. Sivendran

Retired Deputy Inspector General of Police C.P. Jayasuriya who was a colourful boxing personality in Sri Lanka passed away on the 21st of February, after a brief illness.

He represented Sri Lanka at the Asian Games in Manila along with his elder brother H.P. Jayasuriya in 1954 where he won a bronze medal and H.P. won a silver medal. He represented Sri Lanka at the Olympic Games held in Melbourne, Australia in 1956 along with his brother H.P. Jayasuriya at which C.P. fought McTegart of Great Britain and lost on points. In 1957 he took part in the South East Asian Games held in Rangoon, Burma along with his brother H.P. C.P. won a silver medal and H.P. won a bronze medal. He also represented the country at the Commonwealth Games held in Cardiff, Wales and lost to a Scottish boxer named Pane, who went on to win the silver medal at the Games.

He came from a family of boxers. His elder brother H.P. Jayasuriya in addition to the above Meets represented Sri Lanka in the Helsinki Olympic Games in 1952 in the company of Leslie Handunge and Basil Henricus. His other older brother J.P.Jayasuriya was also a boxer in the Police Department. His youngest brother S.P. Jayasuriya too represented Sri Lanka at the Asian Games held in Jakarta in 1962 and won a bronze medal.

C.P. Jayasuriya had his education at Ananda College and was a tough boxer who was known as the "Knockout King". He was the National Champion whilst he was in the Police and during this period he boxed for the Police in the company of some great boxers such as his elder brother H.P. Jayasuriya, who was an Inspector of Police, Percy Wijesuriya who retired as a D.I.G. Inspectors Michael Schokman and Ralph Jansz who left the department early and who are now living in Melbourne, Australia, Muni Gomes who retired as D.I.G, Dharmasiri Weerakoon and Sumith Liyanage who too represented Sri Lanka at the Rome Olympics in 1960. They too became D.I.Gs. Dharmasiri met with his tragic death whilst sea bathing when he was with his family at the Police Holiday Bungalow at Beruwela.

Venue - P.Sara Stadium

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