Odds and Ends
Funeral sans Prince
The Crown Prince was laid to rest at the Horagolla Samadhi next to his beloved parents amidst a large and representative gathering of relations, parliamentarians, party workers, and old friends - but there was one conspicuous absentee - the beneficiary of the Horagolla Walauwwa.
It was understandable that the sister could not travel from the UK because she is reportedly in a delicate state of health, but what of the brother?
Some said that his passport had expired. Emergency certificates for a single journey are freely issued at the High Commission. But even otherwise, the buzz at Horagolla was where was the Crown Prince apparent?
Whenever a Sri Lankan political leader-- be it a minister or a member of Parliament-- dies, the Foreign Ministry is the first to rush with the news to all our missions overseas. But strangely, the death of Anura Bandaranaike, a sometime Foreign Minister himself, never generated any news from the ministry – at least not so far.
Not a single Sri Lankan mission abroad received news of his death. Was this due to the fact that Bandaranaike did not spare either Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama or his Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona in lambasting them for our disastrous foreign policy and ruination of the foreign service? An expatriate who called a Sri Lankan ambassador in a Western capital to check the story was told, perhaps jokingly: “We haven't received any news from the Foreign Ministry in Colombo. So, we presume Mr Anura Bandaranaike is still alive.”Anura himself may be laughing all the way to heaven-- at the pettiness of the Foreign Ministry.
Former TNA National List MP M.K.Eelaventhan recently released a book detailing his contribution to the Tamil national struggle. The book was released in Toronto, Canada with the patronage of the Tamil National Creative Writers’ Association. One of the first persons to receive a copy of the book was LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran who was sent a copy through the group’s political wing leader Nadesan.
Foreign Ministry antics
What's going on behind those closed doors at the Kadirgamar Institute? Plenty. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has firmly pitched his tent in the Institute, now nick-named the Bogollagama Institute, far removed from his ministry. A series of 'secret interviews', mostly for non-diplomatic posts such as clerks, drivers, stenos and caretakers/watchers for Sri Lankan diplomatic missions overseas are reportedly taking place. Many of the appointees, who are drivers, do not even have their driver's licences and none are adequately conversant even in English -- let alone the language of the country to which they are being posted.
The appointments are likely to trigger trade union action because most of the jobs are going to political appointees, not ministry staff who have legitimate claims to those jobs. The applications and the letters of appointment are being held in a 'secret file'. In years gone by, a driver posted to the United States, from Moratuwa, with no knowledge of English, had to be given instructions in Sinhala, along with translations of road signs, to ensure he gets to his destination. While driving his ambassador to a dinner on a Saturday night, the non-English speaking driver got lost in a maze of street signs. The address was Burgher Avenue. The Sinhala translation he was carrying read: Lanci Para.