He served Lanka by promoting joint ventures
Gilbert Jayasuriya
Gilly, as he was affectionately known to his friends, passed away recently.

He played an important role in putting Sri Lanka on the world map as a safe and profitable place for investment at a critical juncture in the economic development of the country. Just after the 1977 elections, the country was opened to foreign investment under a liberal and outward looking regime. However, attracting investments at that time was indeed a Herculean task.

Many of the industrialised countries had closely followed Sri Lanka's past history of nationalisation, socialism and extreme forms of anti-foreign sentiment, that it took a very hard sell to convince investors to take a new look at the country.

Gilbert Jayasuriya worked very closely with the Foreign Investment Advisory Committee (FIAC) which came under the purview of the Ministry of Finance. The FIAC was the government agency in the 1970 and '80s responsible for the promotion and approval of foreign investment in the country other than in the free trade zones. He strongly believed in working closely with the public sector and always joined in endeavours to develop the country. He was elected president of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and from that point onwards he worked with the FIAC to attract investments. His mission was a great success.

Joint private-public sector missions were sent to several industrialised countries. Many foreign investment missions also visited Sri Lanka and Gilly was able to convince investors of the advantages of investing here.

Very few people are aware that Gilly participated in some of the investment promotion missions spending his own funds. He never promoted his own business. His only aim was to bring investors to Sri Lanka, for them to choose any partner they wished. Another notable contribution was his encouragement of joint ventures so that the local private sector could benefit from the flow of foreign investment.

With the passing away of Gilly, the country has lost a very patriotic and sincere man who always put country before self.

May his journey through Sansara be short.
- W.S. Nanayakkara

A man of peace and his Jaffna memories
Nilhan de Silva
On March 16, last year, Nilhan passed away. I was in Australia then and a few days later I was informed that Nilhan was no more. I was sad because I had hoped to see him in Colombo. In May, I visited his wife, Melody, and son, Michael, at their family home and shared many memories of Nilhan.

Nilhan, though he was ailing for sometime, kept his grace, humour and generosity till the end.

I first came to know Nilhan in the early 1950s when as a young boy he was living with his parents at Charles Place. His mother, Daya, and my sister, Mabel, were colleagues at University College, Colombo and became good friends. A friendship which was to grow stronger even after they left the university and Daya's marriage in 1937 to Warusavitharana Abraham de Silva who later became the Deputy Director of Irrigation. Their home in Charles Place was open to us as ours in Jaffna was to them.

Nilhan was the eldest in a family of five sons. He had his education at Royal and Ananda. During school vacations, Nilhan with his brothers would come to Jaffna and live with us. Mabel was at Vembadi and I was at Vadukoddai. Both Jaffna and Vadukoddai became their favorite vacation homes.

Jaffna in the early 1950s was a tranquil place. The wide-open spaces interspersed with lagoons, beaches and open oceans were an invitation to the boys who were full of energy and excitement. I remember well the times when after breakfast the boys would go exploring the countryside for miles on their bicycles, have sea baths at Casurina beach and return home with a ravenous appetite for a rice and curry meal with fish, crabs and prawns and Jaffna mangoes for dessert.

The late evenings were spent listening to Aunty Mabs reading stories. It was, perhaps this early experience that gave Nilhan the breadth of vision and deep sense of affection for Jaffna and her people. In later years Nilhan would return to Jaffna and speak of his disappointment over the deepening crisis in ethnic relations in the country. During the July 1983 riots, Nilhan helped in a large measure to provide shelter and transport to many traumatized people in Colombo.

After his education, Nilhan was employed in the commercial sector with the CFT, working in the imports and exports section. With ample opportunities to travel, he made several friends, not least of whom was Melody Wijetunge whom he met in Switzerland.

In December 1980, Nilhan and Melody were married. They have a son Michael Melhan who is at the University of Leeds, UK.

Nilhan had a busy life as an administrator. He was an active member of the Wildlife Society of Ceylon and the Orchid Circle of which he was President and life member.

His pride and joy beside his wife and son was his estate 'Nimple Tree' at Dodangoda.

Here he would retreat every Saturday to relax and unwind. In the midst of trees, shrubs and creepers many of which he himself had planted, he found peace and comfort which could not be found in his busy life and sweltering heat of Colombo.

Nilhan had a generous heart and a great sense of humour, always smiling and willing to help. He was sensitive to the needs of others.

He loved his country, fervently hoping for the return of peace and stability. It is sad that when this is on the threshold he is not around to see its fulfilment.

As a wonderful husband, father and reliable friend Nilhan will be missed not only by the family but by many friends as well.

Those who knew him and whose lives have been touched by him will continue to cherish his memory. "To live in the hearts of those left behind is not to die".
- Ros. Thambiah

Education was his forte
J.D.K. Warawita
I lost my beloved brother-in-law J.D.K. Warawita on February 18, this year under tragic circumstances. It is an irreparable loss not only to me but to many.

Mr. Warawita was born on July 26, 1935 to an illustrious and affluent family from Ambalangoda. He was the second in a family of six.

Mr. Warawita had his primary education at Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda. Later he moved to Ananda College, Colombo where he had a brilliant academic career. After completing his school education he entered the Maharagama English Training College from where he passed out with honours. He excelled in Mathematics and English.

His first appointment as a teacher was to Godauda Maha Vidyalaya. He got a transfer to Walasmulla Central College where he became the vice principal. Afterwards he was appointed as a lecturer at the Mirigama Training College. He also served as a lecturer at Musaeus Training College, Kalutara, for a short period and worked at the Curriculum Centre of the Ministry of Education. His last place of work prior to retirement was Bolawalana Training College.

While working he continued his studies and obtained a B.Ed degree and a Diploma. Later he was appointed an Inspector of Teaching Institutions in the Education Ministry.

He was an ardent Buddhist. Being a benefactor of Buddhist activities, his contributions to the temples in the vicinity were laudable.

His untimely death was a shock to all.

"Born of the sun
He travelled a short while towards the sun
And left the vivid air honoured with his sign"
- Stephen Spender
May he attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana!
- W.M. Amarasena Perera

An exemplary principal
N.E. Fernando
We remember you with gratitude
Though seventeen years have passed,
The late principal of Balapitiya Teachers' College
And Ambalangoda Dharmasoka College,
Pardon me for inadequacy of words
To express your invaluable service,
Sincerity, talent, dedication, discipline
Were your qualities golden
Under your exemplary guidance
Countless teachers had their training
Punctuality, you most adhered
Never a minute, you wasted
On your health, you little cared
To your last breath, you lectured
Your last fall, with your last breath
Was a lesson on dedication great,
May you be reborn as our teacher dear
And finally attain Nibbana!
- Malini Hettige

Wonderful mother
Pearly Selvamani Raju
God made a wonderful mother, a mother who never grows old. He made her smile out of sunshine, He moulded her heart out of gold, He made her as near as an angel, as anyone ever could be. God made a wonderful mother and gave that dear mother to us.
- The Family

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