Reference to the article appearing on page 23 of the Sunday Times (2) of 25th May 2014 written by Mr. Naushad Amith under the heading “IS THE MINISTRY CHANGING GEAR AT SLARDAR”. The article written on behalf of a so called “Renowned” Racing Driver is mainly to belittle our club and is ludicrously full of [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Is the Ministry changing gear at SLARDAR

Right of reply

Reference to the article appearing on page 23 of the Sunday Times (2) of 25th May 2014 written by Mr. Naushad Amith under the heading “IS THE MINISTRY CHANGING GEAR AT SLARDAR”.

The article written on behalf of a so called “Renowned” Racing Driver is mainly to belittle our club and is ludicrously full of wrong elusions meant to ridicule us and the Ministry of Sports in the eyes of the general public. As such we feel it is our duty to respond based on the inference, that we “have a right to reply” to the insinuations therein.

Mr. Serasinghe, as far as this club is concerned, is a person dismissed from the membership of the club after a disciplinary inquiry where he was found guilty of misbehaving and bringing disrepute to this association and motor sports in general by abusing race officials. Therefore, needless to say, he “carries a chip on his shoulder” for the dismissal from membership. His utterances should therefore taken in this context.

As reported in the article, Mr. Serasinghe’s statement that the Minister of Sports himself had instructed SLARDAR officials to conduct fresh elections is false and misleading.

The AGM held on 12th December 2012 was conducted as traditionally done for the last 28 years.

Mr. Serasinghe, who was also contesting for the position of Assistant Treasurer knowing very well that he would be rejected by the general membership, withdrew his nomination at the eleventh hour during the AGM. Having failed to secure a position in the committee, Mr. Serasinghe, as an afterthought, petitioned to the Minister of Sports that the AGM was unconstitutional, citing that 8 days’ notice regarding the nominations was not provided as per the constitution of SLARDAR.

Traditionally, all committees for the last 28 years were elected without the so-called eight (8) day rule. Mr. Serasinghe himself, for the last 10 years or so, was also elected to the committee, outside the 8 day rule. Mr. Serasinghe, who was present right throughout the proceedings, did not raise any objection. The then President, Mr. Mahes Gammanpilla who chaired the AGM, also raised no objections whatsoever regarding the manner in which the AGM was conducted nor the election of officials at that meeting.

By the letter dated 28th Feb 2013, the Director of Sports informed Sri Lanka Automobile Sports (SLAS), the governing body for motorsports in Sri Lanka, that the SLARDAR AGM held in December 2012 was not conducted according to the constitution.Accordingly, as a responsible motor sports body, the officials of SLARDAR decided to reconvene the AGM on Thursday, 18th April 2013 as per the constitution. The assertion of Mr. Serasinghe that the date fixed was the first day of the trial of Foxhill Supercross is fabricated and false. The trials were held on Friday, 19th April 2013 and the race was held on 20th, thus the so-called opposing party had ample time to participate in the AGM. It is pertinent to mention that Mr. Dinesh Deheragoda and Mr. Gayan Sandaruwan, champion competitors at the Foxhill Supercross and some officials of Foxhill were present at this AGM.

Five members including Mr. Upulwan Serasinghe filed an application in the District Court of Nugegoda (Case number SPL/240/13) on 9th April 2013 seeking an injunction to prevent the holding of the AGM. The District Court Judge set aside the application for the interim injunction on the grounds that there were no sufficient reasons. (A copy of the Judgment of the case is attached for your reference.)

The statement made by Mr. Serasinghe that the Riders and Drivers lost faith in SLARDAR and that there was a mass exodus of members of SLARDAR is once again false. On the contrary the 2013 and 2014 AGM’s had an unprecedented number of members participating, and the last Katukurunda Circuit meet organized by this association had a record number of entries.

Mr. Serasinghe claims that the SLAS ( Governing Body ) was dissolved due to above reasons which is once again false and misleading. The governing body was dissolved by the Minister of Sports after an inquiry regarding Mr. Serasinghe and his cronies getting themselves appointed illegally as officials of SLAS violating the Sports Law
We are extremely proud of the fact that it was this association who introduced Supercross racing to Sri Lanka and that we are the chief architects who designed Foxhill Supercross, Gajaba Supercross, Gunners Supercross, Sigiriya Rallycross and Cavalry Supercross and oversaw the building of these tracks by the Sri Lanka Army and the Sri Lanka Air Force. The availability of underutilized land within military camps were turned out to earn much needed funds for the development and welfare facilities of the armed forces through the holding of highly professional race meets. Much funds are generated even today by these race meets. As is in most cases in our country, due to personal and other benefits, a few disgruntled individuals have moved to kill the “Goose which lays the golden eggs”. The looser is the sports itself.

We also wish to state that this association has won the best motor racing club award every year without a break that this recognition has been awarded by the governing body SLAS.

Our Association filed a Fundamental Rights application seeking justice to restore our full membership with SLAS as it was being held back due to influence from individuals with vested interests citing that the AGM was not held as per the constitution. The Supreme Courts bench consisting of Chief Justice Mohan Pieris, Justice J. Ekanayaka and Justice J. Wanasundara held that the reconvened AGM was conducted according to the constitution and restored our full membership with SLAS.

Serasinghe’s allegations that an individual at the Ministry influenced decisions in favour of our club is of course meant, once again, to sling mud at the Ministry and our club. He is a known frequent visitor to the Ministry of Sports doing his utmost to curie favours through various dubious methods to get his way in matters unfavorable to him and is following the doctrine he is famous for – to influence others “by hook or by crook” and levels false allegations in order to achieve his ends. He has to, even in his ripe age accept the fact that “what is right is right” – and there is no halfway measure to this axiom. – Rodney Mason

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