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DateLine Sunday, 8 April 2007

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Howlers in Foreign Ministry publication!

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had put out a publication titled 'Sri Lanka and the United Nations - 50 Years of Partnership' to celebrate 50 years of Sri Lanka's membership in the United Nations. This publication consists of articles from eminent persons in Sri Lanka and it is a useful and valuable publication.

I am referring to one of the articles, which appeared in this publication. It is the article written by Desamanya Dr. Vernon L. B. Mendis, Director-General of the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute titled "Sri Lanka and the United Nations".

In the first paragraph of his article, he has mentioned, among other things, that "ultimately it was the dynamic and persistent diplomacy of Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike which enabled it to gain admission in December 1955.

Everyone knows that in December 1955, it was Sir John Kotelawela, who was the Prime Minister of Ceylon and NOT Mr. S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike. Mr. S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike became the Prime Minister only after the general elections held in April 1956. I am surprised to see a person in the calibre of Dr. Mendis making such a grave error. At least the proof readers should have pointed out this mistake and notified Dr. Mendis. Now it is too late to rectify this error.

Another error is in Mr. Thalif Deen's article, where he states ".....just before the then Foreign Minister A. C. S. Hameed was due to address the delegates back in 1976". Mr. A. C. S. Hameed was never the Foreign Minister in 1976.

He became the Foreign Minister only after the July 1977 general elections, after a separate Foreign Ministry was established under the Premiership of Mr. J. R. Jayewardene.

In 1976, the late Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence and Foreign Affairs. I think the incident referred by Mr. Deen took place in September 1977 or 1978.

I hope in future the Foreign Ministry would take precautionary measures by checking the accuracy of the facts of the articles contributed by various persons before it is published thus avoiding the repeat of errors as pointed out above, which cannot be rectified.

C. M. de Silva, Ratmalana.

 

Hat's off to People's Bank

Two weeks ago, my mother happened to go to the People's Bank branch near the Bambapalitiya Flats for a transaction. After the transaction was over, she came home not realising that she had left her handbag behind with money in it.

Since we couldn't find the bag after much searching, I decided to go to the Bank a few days later to check whether by some chance she had left it there. I happened to meet Mr. S. Tharma Kulasingham, an official at the Bank who to my delight produced the handbag with all the money intact.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank this responsible officer for his honesty and those of the staff of the Bank as well.

Well done People's Bank!

Palitha Jayasooriya, Colombo 4

 

Loss of letters

A regular writer to the columns of our newspapers, F. A. Rodrigo-Sathianathan writing from Australia is one of our dailies has focus on the loss of letters.

The writer has referred to the loss during the last Christmas season. That letter has given a clue to my own mystery. The non-arrival of Christmas greetings from the regulars in December 2006.During the last few months I have discovered that these cards had been sent but did not reach me. This is sad.

We depend at least most of us, on the Public Service, to deliver these Christmas cards.

Rodrigo-Sathianathan has of course stated it bluntly, theft in the Mail Room in Colombo. This is not good for the image of our nation. If our public servants are being accused of theft it is those in power, those responsible must look into this.

However can this be done? We lack credibility for as The Transparency International and others like COPE have stated that "theft" is taking place not only in the Mail Room but elsewhere.

We the people of Sri Lanka cannot look the other side for the silence of the majority is the evil of our times.

Can anything be done? It has to be done soon. For in April/May there will be the Easter/New Year and Vesak cards etc.

Over to the new Minister in charge of the Postal Department.

Sydney Knight, Rajagiriya.

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