10th October 1999
Small jackets and big boots
A man facing charges for criminal breach of trust in a sum of over Rs 36 million was the Guest of Honour last Friday at an exhibition at the BMICH to mark the 50th anniversary of the Sri Lanka Army.
One time Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Cecil Waidyaratne, was received at a colourful ceremony where soldiers stood to attention and saluted him. Later, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Srilal Weerasooriya, himself joined in to escort him through the exhibition area.
One of the charges against Lt. Gen. Waidyaratne is that he was responsible, when he was Commander of the Army, for soldiers receiving spoilt ration packs declared unfit for human consumption.
The Attorney General has indicted him before High Court Judge, Raja Fernando, with criminal breach of trust in a sum of Rs 36,832,686 while performing duties as Commander of the Sri Lanka Army. The case is now before Courts.
As has been the customary practice for Army Commanders, it is not clear, whether prior Ministry of Defence clearance was obtained to invite Lt. Gen. Waidyaratne to be the Guest of Honour.
Army sources say when Gen. Rohan de S. Daluwatte was the Commander of the Army, he had recommended against inviting a former Commander (and later Defence Secretary) Lt. Gen. Hamilton Wanasinghe, because he faced court action at that time. Lt. Gen. Wanasinghe has since been acquitted by Courts.
It is also not clear whether the invitation had the blessings of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the Commander-in-Chief or Deputy Defence Minister, Anuruddha Ratwatte, though most in the defence establishment believed it did. Both Lt. Gen. Weerasooriya and Lt.Gen. Waidyaratne, however, belong to the same fellowship. They are both devout Born Again Christians.
The angel faith
It happened not so long ago at the Seva Vanitha function of a service arm.
The widow of a senior officer who died in action sobbed away at the suggestions of a powerful Seva Vanitha top girl, known to use her husband's influence in every sphere of activity.
The widow was told there would be a much better future for her if she was to change her faith to find solace in the God. She was told there were many others who had followed that course and were lucky beneficiaries.
The heart broken widow went straight from the function to a temple to invoke the blessings of Lord Buddha to save her.
A nominee from the Sri Lanka Army could not take part in this year's US Army sponsored PASOLS (Pacific Area Senior Officers Logistics) conference in Hawaii.
As usual, US authorities had extended an invitation and Army Headquarters had decided on its nominee. Alas a big man there forgot to inform the nominee until two days before the conference. By then, US authorities had struck his name off the list of invitees.
Editorial/ Opinion Contents
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