‘Old boy’ Ranil absent from Royal prize-giving

Leader of the Opposition and the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe was given the cold-shoulder by the authorities of his alma-mater, Royal College when it came to their annual prize-giving on Friday.

The Opposition Leader's invitation was posted to his residence the previous Friday. Mr. Wickreme-singhe had been out of Colombo campaigning in Uva. A student had followed up just the day before the event with a telephone call to his office to ascertain if he was attending the function.

Being the premier state school in the country, it has been a tradition of nearly 175 years to invite the Head of State as the Chief Guest for the prize-giving. Accordingly, President Mahinda Rajapaksa attended the function, but the Opposition Leader had already scheduled prior engagements for that date, and was not present.

A spokesman for the Opposition Leader's office told the Sunday Times yesterday that an invitation had been sent by post a week ahead of the event when the usual practice has been to give notice once the date for the function has been fixed, or at least three weeks ahead. The Opposition Leader lives across the road from Royal College, and was once a prominent member of its Old Boys Union. He was also a former Minister of Education.

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