"I miss my friend"
I call upon the Hindus and all people to
re-kindle their resolve to bring about further social cohesion and unity
of all communities co-existing in the new peaceful environment in the
country. Let Thai Pongal signify not only the beginning of the month of
Thai but also the beginning of a new life of peace and friendship among
The demise of a friend creates a void in one's life. These were
sentiments expressed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa who reminisced about
one of his buddies in politics, whose life was not spared by terrorists.
He longed for his friendship as no one could replace him, he said. It
was on January 11, that the President gave a surprise call to his late
" Today is Jeyaraj's 59th birthday, isn't it?", the President's call
made Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, who was attending a religious
ceremony to invoke merit on her husband, speechless for a few
seconds.The late Minister Fernandopulle, who was born in 1953, was
killed by an LTTE suicide bomber while he was flagging off a cycle race
at the Weliweriya Kanthi stadium as part of a Sinhala New Year sports
festival in 2008. She then responded saying they were having religious
ceremonies throughout the day to invoke merit on late Minister Jeyaraj
Fernandopulle not to meet with such a tragic and untimely death in his
next samsara. "How do you know sir", she expressed her surprise.
"Why... have you forgotten that Jeyaraj was one of my good friends.
Though I am the President I remember my friends and those who are close
to me. I know there is a void in your family without him. It is felt not
only by you, even I realise his value at certain times", Dr.
Fernandopulle heard President Rajapaksa taking a deep breath.Recalling
some incidents and events in the political fora and also in his life
where the two of them acted together, President Rajapaksa said:" In vain
these ruthless LTTE terrorists killed my good friend", he said with
regret and inquired about the education of the late minister's two
GCE (AL) exam
The GCE (Advanced Level) examination 2011, that was mired in
controversy had prompted the President to appoint a Committee to look
into the issue. The committee, which was headed by the Research and
Technology Ministry Secretary Dhara Wijetilleke, comprised Vice
Chancellor of the University of Colombo Prof Kshanika Hiriburegama, Vice
Chancellor of Moratuwa University Prof Ananda Jayawardene, Vice
Chancellor of Uva University Prof Ranjith Premalal de Silva and
Principal of the Royal College Upali Gunasekera.They were instructed to
conduct an investigation into the issue over the district scores of the
A/Level examination results, the delay in releasing the results and a
host of other issues which surfaced with the release of results.
The Following are findings of the committee, which handed over its
report to the President last Friday.
* The error in calculating the district rankings had been caused at
the last stage (processing stage), and not at the stage of entering
* This processing error had been rectified by the Department of
Examinations within a short period of time and the results released
thereafter do not contain inaccuracies due to this processing error.
* The officers responsible had not taken adequate steps to avoid the
causes that contributed to the error.
* An independent process Audit should be carried out to provide for
continuous improvements of the entire examination process. This should
ideally be carried out by the Ministry of Education.
* Inquiries conducted regarding the specific appeals made by the
candidates in response to the public call by the Committee, have been
examined. The Committee has found that there are no processing errors in
* Given the reliance of the UGC on the results of the A/L examination
for University admission, the formula to be used in determining the
common indicator (the use of the Z score calculation) should be decided
by the Commission after careful and wide consultations.
* There is a need to take several steps to enhance the capacity of
the department to handle the technology related functions of the
department. The Committee has identified what these are, specifically.
* As an immediate measure, the services of a Consultant should be
obtained to provide advice on technology related matters.
* Matters relating to software improvements should be examined. In
particular, every revision of a computer programme and data processing,
should be double checked, verified and validated before implementation.
* Implementation of recommendations of previous Committees as well as
this Committee, should be ensured through an Action Plan with time
targets for implementation. This should be monitored by the Ministry of
* The cadre and financial provision required by the Department of
Examinations should be provided to ensure optimum efficiency.
* Complaints with regard to the 2011 G.C.E A/L examination should be
addressed by the department with extra concern and caution to restore
the credibility of the department. A special help line should be
established to receive all the complaints and these should be responded
President Rajapaksa has also ordered the disciplinary committee of
the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to resolve the conflict between
Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha members and SLFP Kelaniya organiser, Public
Affairs and Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva according to the
party's code of conduct.When Minister Silva contacted President Mahinda
Rajapaksa to present his grievances, according to sources, the President
has said he couldn't solve the issue but contact the SLFP General
Secretary, Minister Maithripala Sirisena for further action.
Meanwhile, President Rajapaksa has issued directives to the members
of the SLFP disciplinary committee and directed them to resolve the
conflict according to the party's code of conduct and to call both
parties for a discussion to reach an amicable settlement before the
matter gets out of hand. Meanwhile, at a discussion with trade union
leaders of the SLFP held at Temple Trees the President has asked trade
union leaders to change their attitudes and shed differences in the best
interest of the country. He said public sector employees should consider
their responsibilities to the country while enjoying their rights.
In his Thai Pongal message, President Rajapaksa called upon the
Hindus and all people to re-kindle their resolve to bring about further
social cohesion and unity of all communities co-existing in the new
peaceful environment in the country.
"On this Thai Pongal Day, the most popular event in the Hindu
religious calendar, I wish the Sri Lankan Hindus prosperity, peace and
happiness in the coming year and beyond,” states President Mahinda
Rajapaksa in a Thai Pongal message. The message adds: Traditionally a
thanksgiving ceremony of the farming community Hindus offer prayers of
gratitude to the Sun God for a bountiful harvest and also pay tribute to
the farm animals who helped them in the cultivation.
A feast of freedom, peace, love and compassion it provides new
opportunities for family re-union, meeting friends and acquaintances and
reconciliation between estranged relatives and friends.
As Sri Lanka is advancing towards prosperity and betterment of the
lives of its people. I call upon the Hindus and all people to re-kindle
their resolve to bring about further social cohesion and unity of all
communities co-existing in the new peaceful environment in the country.
Let Thai Pongal signify not only the beginning of the month of Thai
but also the beginning of a new life of peace and friendship among all
peoples.’", he said.