He never sacrificed his
principles for power
With the demise of Harold Herat, the country has lost a clever lawyer, sincere politician and gentleman par excellence. The two families of Herats and Coreas have lost a kinsman who lived up to the family tradition of being honest and respectable, serving the people with every nerve and fibre of their being.
I remember vividly, Harold, the smart and promising young lawyer practising in the Chilaw Courts, visiting our home to sit with my father, his uncle, C.E.Victor S. Corea for advice on family and legal matters. The fact that my father had so much of affection for his grand-nephew and spent much of his time in guiding him in those formative years at the Bar was proof of the implicit faith he had that Harold will be an embellishment to the families.
Harold sacrificed a lucrative practice as a lawyer when he took to politics following in the steps of his predecessors… C.E. Corea, C.E. Victor S. Corea, Sir Claude Corea, S.C. Shirley Corea and Harindra Corea all of whom were lawyers and one-time members of the legislature. He won the Marawila seat each time he contested and was Minister of Justice, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Coconut Industries and also Deputy Minister of Finance in successive governments.
He was loved and respected for his honesty and sincerity and was referred to as Mr. Clean on posters plastered all over his electorate during election time. No one could point an accusing finger where his honesty was concerned. It was impeccable! People expected him to be on the National List and rightly so because he held important portfolios, never lost an election and had an exemplary character as a politician.
It is no secret that he was under immense pressures to cross parties, but he wouldn’t hear of it. “I have been a UNPer and I will remain a UNPer to the last,” he said when there was speculation and people were wanting to know what his plans were. That was what Harold Herat was made of .. solid as rock and judiciously following the dictates of his conscience. A remarkable gentleman, he never sacrificed his principles for power and position. He had it all in abundance at Mudukatuwa Walauwe from his childhood days and for him there was no novelty in getting into positions of power.
The unprecedented crowds that came from near and far to pay their respects at his funeral speak volumes for the love and respect he had earned.
He always had time for the people and although a staunch Christian, he played a dominant role in furthering the cause of Buddhism in his electorate. This, the Buddhist clergy expressed in no uncertain terms in their orations.
The biggest tribute that politicians can pay to Harold Herat is by emulating his sterling qualities. There should be more of his calibre… dignified human beings endowed with refinement in speech and behaviour and above all, his steadfast commitment to stick to the values he believed in.
Harold Herat was an inspiration to all who knew him. It will be ever so difficult for Gwen and the children, Shamara, Avancka and Parveen to come to grips with the reality that the void created by his absence will be a constant reminder that the affectionate tower of strength behind the family isn’t there any more. But to them I would say that gentlemen like Harold don’t die… they pass on to a better place leaving behind footprints on the sands of time.
When some day one has to describe Harold Herat, let it be said that the elements were so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world that… This was a Man!
May you find eternal happiness with your Creator.