Are we corrupt? Tell us, Mr. Minister

Minister C.B. Ratnayake’s corruption charge fiasco keeps dragging. Before the embers of the explosive words could turn into ashes SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga put the whole cartwheel on the track again by trying to paint a pretty picture of the careless bray and other happenings at the SLC.

Ranatunga last week made a public statement saying the minister had all the right to change the interim committee with the people of his choice. We, willingly or unwillingly, go by that statement that the minister has the right to name his committee. Yet, there are certain norms that he must follow for the sake of common decency and protocol.

Pramodya Wickremasinghe, Former Sri Lanka opening bowler who was also member of the ’96 World Cup winning team

Whoever the incumbent minister is, when appointing a member to a responsible position in an interim body, especially the body governing cricket, a sport that has taken Sri Lanka to the highest possible pedestal, one does not invite every Tom, Dick and Harry. The people who are chosen generally are past cricketers of repute or citizens of eminence who have reached a certain standard in life either in administration or some other allied field to so that they could fit in and serve the committee in a meaningful manner.

At the same time the minister has all the right to call a spade a spade. Likewise if he feels the institution and its administration under his scrutiny is corrupt, he does have the right to call the shots and call it corrupt. But, then he has to be very specific on the first turn itself as to why he is labelling this institution corrupt and who in this institution is corrupt and what remedial steps that he is contemplating. If not he is casting aspirations on the integrity of certain citizens of eminence of our society.

Upali Weerasinghe
Eminent Banker, member of the former SLC Interim Committee

What happened instead was; a few days after the utterance, the minister changed the committee and subsequently brought back the top half of the committee, sacking a few others from their positions. Former Sri Lanka opening bowler Pramodya Wickremasinghe saw the dark clouds in the horizon and tendered his resignation.

In the outside world, the people then began to believe that the remaining members who did not step down and stayed on till the ministry letter was served on them, were the corrupt ones. Up to now the minister has not given them a reprieve on the issue too.

Perturbed by the situation at hand former IC members Upali Weerasinghe, a prominent banker by profession, Lalith Wickremasinghe, a high ranking public sector administrator, along with former Sri Lanka paceman Pramodya Wickremasinghe met Musings to give their side of the story and what they felt in the aftermath of this very unsavoury episode.

As Pramodya has jumped the hurdle early he only wanted to clarify that what he had stated in his parting letter on the happenings of the SLC still stands and at no point had he withdrawn the statement.
However Weerasinghe and Wickremasinghe, the two fish who were left in the drying pond came back strongly. They said in unison: “Firstly, what the minister has to do is that if he feels that we are corrupt, just come out and prove those accusations. However, we are not retracting from our duties that we carried out at the last Interim Committee.

Along with D.S. de Silva, Nishantha Ranatunga and Sujeewa Rajapakse, we took a lot of decisions and as far as we are concerned there were no corrupt decisions approved by the Interim Committee that we served. However, the part that we are harping about is the part that concerns Sri Lanka cricket and not anything in regard with the going-ons at the ICC secretariat.”

Then from this end Musings pointed out that the ICC secretariat was set up by the ICC to help the SLC to conduct the 2011 World Cup to be held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The decisions taken by the ICC secretariat cannot be above and is not responsible to the SLC mechanism. The duo replied: “Yes, there are certain stipulations given by the ICC on the matter, but the man for this position is selected by the SLC Interim Committee.

Public Servant Lalith Wickremasinghe served in more than one Interim Committee

“We are interim committee members, we only attend the meetings. When we arrive at the SLC we get papers pertaining to that particular weeks’ meeting and we go by that. Then whatever we approve at the meeting there are other persons who are in-charge of implementing them and we do not go behind that part of the activity.

At the same time Chairman D.S. de Silva and Secretary Ranatunga serve full time while Treasurer Sujeewa Rajapakse visits SLC on more occasions than we do. Mostly it is this threesome along with the management that go on to implement the decisions that are taken.

“However the most wonderful thing is now it is we are just committee members who help along to keep the mechanism alive and have been left out as the corrupt ones while the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer who did the bulk of the activity have been re-appointed honourably. That is the part that we cannot understand. We still do not know what the minister really meant with his utterances on that occasion, but we feel that a public clarification on the matter is needed and if not, we even may have to seek legal advice as to how we should act to clear our names”.

The former IC members also reiterated that if the minister had indicated to them in anyway about his final decision, they too would have tendered their resignations well on time, but things have taken an unexpected curve as a result of these ‘corrupt’ allegations.

Then it was also revealed that the person who is put in charge of the ICC secretariat Suraj Dandeniya was also removed and Asanga Seneviratne was appointed to that position. This was subsequently retracted and Dandeniya was reinstated overnight.

It was also learned even though Nishantha Ranatunga had stated that initially Suraj Dandeniya’s name was picked from the Tour Organizing committee list after Kushil Gunasekera and S. Skandakumar had turned down the offers, Dandeniya was never a member of the tour organizing committee. He had only attended some meetings representing the IC chairman D.S. de Silva and it is on that strength that De. Silva had insisted that Dandeniya be appointed as the person in charge of the ICC secretariat.

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Other Sports Articles
Are we corrupt? Tell us, Mr. Minister
Royal gaol Trinity at Bogambara
One more step to climb
Losing the Asia Cup
Champs and other points to ponder
Love O Careless Love
Aruna reaches great heights in rugby refereeing
Sharmal to represent Asian Team at ITF European tour
Allan Gunasekera excelled in everything he did
Reminiscences of Bradby 51
Amcham bowling tournament - 2010
Not done and well done
Mazenodian cager final today
Josephian Walk on July 18
Ananda down Nalanda at badminton
Police thwart Army rally in second half
Thasleem records two wins on day one
When a waitress danced for Sharm’s supper in Isfahan
Can Joes hold the marauding Petes?
Wilson wins Arugam Bay surfing championship
SAARC Carrom at Galadari
Can Navy hold their own on foreign turf?


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 2010 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.| Site best viewed in IE ver 6.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution