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An analysis in defence of Minister Bogollagama

By Dr. Levins T.C.Rajaratnam

(July 23, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) I was deeply disturbed by the articles and scurrilous literature in the media emanating from a dubious media campaign to tarnish the image of Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. It is trite learning that Rohitha Bogollagama is a talented Foreign Minister who has produced results from the time he was appointed as the Foreign Minister. He has been absolutely loyal to President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

I read the article written by Shalini Wickremasinghe titled “Conflict syndrome of a Foreign Minister and the three blind mice!” published in the Sri Lanka Guardian which has received much publicity in the Media Network. I have ventured to defend Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and in that process I would convey the experience I have had during my acquaintance with Minister Bogollagama since January this year. There have been times that I have been confused by the conduct and general disposition of a few confidantes around him and my conscience dictates that I should not question the veracity of the claims made against others other than the Minister.

The revelation made by Shalini Wickremasinghe in regard to some alien personalities is not the subject of my defence but the accusations made against the Foreign Minister owing to the misconduct, inexperience and exploitation of the three personalities is irrelevant in regard to Rohitha Bogollagama per se. But no one should cast aspersions on Rohitha Bogollagama - instead if there are allegations against others, then steps should be taken to cast them aside or take action against such personalities.

In any event, I am further disappointed that Minister’s own Media Unit which is ineffective and absolutely inefficient as they have neither been campaigning for Minister Bogollagama nor defend him in the Media. What has been their contribution? Do they update the official website? Are they competent and conversant in English? A Foreign Minister should have a competent and eloquent Media Unit in English which is the root cause of the deterioration of the Minister’s reputation. This is the problem when there are full time businessman having part time attendance drawing fulltime salaries preventing legitimate Media experts to function.

Shalini Wickemasinghe has probably knowledge of the intricacies and capabilities of Minister Bogollagama’s staff.

In February this year, Dr.Jayatissa De Costa rang me up and wanted me to draft the Bill for the ROHITHA BOGOLLAGAMA FOUNDATION which I promptly completed and sent to Jayatissa’s residence within 24 hours but I never got an acknowledgement from the Minister. As some insider said, the Minister may not have known that I drafted it.

In January this year, I was advised to contest the Western Provincial Council elections in April. My name was suggested by Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. All my media campaign, posters,stickers, handouts, banners had Minister Bogollagama’s photo along with that of the President. I had no financial assistance from anyone except from the President. I spent more than Rupees 2 million of my savings. When I invited Minister Bogollagama for the opening of my campaign office in March, I was promised that he would attend. All security arrangements were made , the Marine drive was decorated with blue flags, when the time arrived I was not informed that the Minister would not attend, instead a gentleman by the name of Mr.C.A.N.Perera attended the ceremony. Fortunately, I had invited my good friend Mayantha Dissanayake (son of Gamini Dissanayake) who was at that time the Chief Organizer for the UPFA for Colombo West. People around me were disappointed as to why the Minister had not attended the ceremony and what relevance it had by the attendance of his nominee who was not known in political circles as a politician. Then on April 5th on the Launch of the news line “Sri Lanka Patriot” the Chief Guest was Minister Rohitha Bogollagama” . In fact, the Minister and his confidantes who were invited never turned up. Until the eleventh hour they promised to attend the ceremony at a prestigious hotel in Colombo. This included Dr.Jayatissa De Costa and Mr.Nihal Amarasekera. Anyway the function was successful again with Mayantha Dissanayake who came to my rescue. It was obvious that some extremist elements were preventing the Minister from attending my ceremonies stating that I belong to a minority race but what they failed to realize is that I am more Patriotic that anyone of them. During the Latter part of May, I was invited to breakfast at the Minister’s official residence and Rohitha Bogollagama wanted me to be the chief spokesman at a Seminar titled “Current Trends in International relations in Sri Lanka”. Two speakers were listed one was me the other was Sarath Wijesinghe. The seminar was scheduled to be held on June 2,2009 at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Centre for International and strategic Studies. The news item given to Daily News did not mention our names but the names of the paneslists as Speakers-this was a deliberate attempt by the organizers who were both Mr.C.A.N.Perera and Dr. Jayatissa De Costa. Even the attachment of the Invitation Card had very little mention of the qualification of Sarath Wijesinghe and me. When we reached the Auditorium we found that our names were not at the Table, instead the names of various persons who hardly knew the subject- a pack of jokers- this too was deliberate. So I and Sarath Wijesinghe decided to sit with the audience and we spoke from the podium when our names were called. This was attended by Diplomats and the Minister Bogollagama as the Chief Guest. The Minister was not to be blamed but certainly Dr.Jayatissa De Costa and Mr.C.A.N.Perera had a lot to do in trying to insult us. We did not mind it. I am writing this so at least now the Minister would know what is happening and that these characters hardly take any notice of the instructions given to them by the Minister. None of these confidantes have ever attempted to defend the Minister, they are probably there to make hay while the sun shines and then perhaps hop across to greener pastures.

Like me, there may be so many others who may have been insulted by the Minister’s own men but few would have the courage and guts to talk about it. I have not stood to gain by Minister Bogollagama but I have spent Rs.2 million and been insulted by his very men and I continue to defend him as I owe allegiance to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Government and I know that Minister Bogollagama has contributed immensely by convincing the international community. I think this is the time that we must make amends and get together, shake hands with those who have been in conflict and work together as one. It is the vested interests like those mentioned by Shalini Wickremasinghe who may have caused the diplomatic rift. So let us now forget the differences, shake hands and work together. We must work as a Team. Those who worked as a team should remain so: UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDE WE FALL!
-Sri Lanka Guardian

1 comment

Pearl Thevanayagam said...

Facts are facts and you cannot deny FM had violated the norms of a career diplomat which he is not. He is but a sponger on the nation's coffer and how could he stoop so low as to ask the SL embassy in Wahshington to foot his daughter's b'day bash.
it takes seven generations to make a gentleman and he is not even first generation.
His personal history aside he is but a leech that needs expunging.

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