Jungle Telegraph

24th December 2000

By Alia

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The other hero

The occasion in the hill capital was to remember one of Sri Lanka's national heroes, Veera Keppetipola.

But the sleuths were puzzled over why the occasion was marked with posters carrying the photograph of a senior Army officer in the backdrop of a map of Sri Lanka. It was prominently displayed in various parts of Kandy including the venue where the commemoration meeting was held.

Curious sleuths did their own inquiries and found out that the organizers of the event had very little to do with the posters.

The Army man and his supporters had got it done. The co-incidence appeared striking. The occasion was to remember a national hero dead and gone. Others thought of reminding those who took part in the ceremonies that there was one living too.

Curioser and curioser

The Army is purchasing a course next year at Britain's Royal College of Defence Studies for Sterling Pounds 55,000 (Rs 5.5 million).

Taking part in this course will be veteran soldier, Major General Sarath Fonseka, General Officer Commanding the Wanni sector.

He was to have earlier gone to India's National Defence College where another position was made available to a nominee from the Sri Lanka Navy. Now the Navy will have two positions.

Attending the course will be Commodore Sarath Weerasekera and Commodore H.S. Ratnakeerthi.

When only one Navy officer was originally assigned to the course, competition from others appears to have led to a comical situation.

Navy Commander Vice Admiral Cecil Tissera, in recommending against one aspirant declared that his "flexibility, foresight and devotion to duty (name given) is not upto the required standard and hence, I have made the recommendation "… .. "in the best interest of the Navy."

But just five weeks later, he declared "I wish to recommend….(the officer is named) as he is senior in his substantive rank.

How come details of seniority was not known earlier ? And how does that affect the observation that the contender in question was not someone with "devotion to duty."

Spiriting away

Church authorities were aghast when the Christmas ceremonies of a service arm ended.

Whilst the top brass said their prayers and prepared to exit, they found that the smaller mortals had removed expensive plants from flower pots. They had been stacked away in the boots of vehicles.

Now the Church is preparing a petition to the Commander in question.

No way

Deputy Defence Minister, Anuruddha Ratwatte, feted journalists at an year end party at his heavily secured Stanmore Crescent residence on Friday night.

He took time to make it clear that he was strongly opposed to accepting the LTTE's offer of an unconditional ceasefire.

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