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Old 04-07-17, 02:18 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Kapila Waidyaratne new Defence Secretary

To The STC Prefects group,

Dear Kapila,

Many congratulations and good wishes on your very important and prestigious appointment.

Wish you all good luck in discharging your responsibilities.

We Thomians from the Prefects Group are extremely happy and proud of your new appointment.

With kind regards

on behalf of The Prefects Group.

Kapila Waidyaratne new Defence Secretary

Tuesday, July 4, 2017 - 10:30

Former Additional Solicitor General Kapila Waidyaratne was appointed as the Defence Secretary a short while ago.

He was appointed as the Defence Secretary after former Defence Secretary, Karunasena Hettiarachchi resigned.

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Last edited by sriyanj; 05-07-17 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 05-07-17, 08:50 AM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default New faces refresh Government

New faces refresh Government

Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 01:00

This week proved to be a very eventful one in the local political scene with several issues coming to the fore. Last week, we saw the resignation of Presidential Secretary P.B. Abeykoon over what he called “personal reasons”. Later on, Defence Secretary Eng. Karunaratne Hettiarachchi, who had succeeded Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, also tendered his resignation. This created vacancies for two of the top positions in the Governance structure.

When these two appointments were made after the formation of the Yahapalana Government in 2015, many who had the interests of Yahapalanaya at heart expressed reservations. Several websites which were supportive of the Yahapalana Government had mercilessly criticised the two officials. However, these faded away as the two officials settled into their respective jobs.

With the second anniversary of the Rainbow Coalition’s victory in August 2015 looming, the Government is now having a new look with a new Presidential Secretary as well as a new Defence Secretary in place. This time, two officials with impeccable credentials and a great track record have been selected for the two top jobs in the Government sector.

New Secretary to the President Austin Fernando, who assumed duties yesterday, is no stranger to high posts, having held several very senior positions. His most recent position was as Governor of the Eastern Province. A former Defence Secretary and reputed civil service officer, Austin Fernando retired as a senior official in the Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS) before he was appointed as an adviser and later Governor, Eastern Province by the President. He has a Special Degree in Economics from the University of Kelaniya in 1980 and a Diploma in Agriculture from the School of Agriculture, Kundasale in 1981. He has a Masters in Development Management (MOM) from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Manila, the Philippines in 1995. He is one of the most experienced civil servants in Sri Lanka.

Fernando, an old boy of Richmond College, Galle, is the author of My Belly is White: Reminiscences of a Peacetime Secretary of Defence. He is reported to be writing an autobiographical book in Sinhalese which is due to be published soon. Addressing Presidential Secretariat staff after assuming duties, he encouraged the staff to discuss and present their ideas for projects that could benefit the country.

“Bring your different ideas about strengthening peace and harmony in the country to the table. It’s always what we want to do. We have to work as a family. We have to be open and ready to listen to new ideas from veterans as well as those who think out of the box. We are discussing a model of cluster formation of ministries. It is a model we are now thinking about to enhance the public administration,s efficiency,” he said.

New Defence Secretary, President’s Counsel Kapila M Waidyaratne was Senior Additional Solicitor General at the Attorney General’s Department. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) from the University of Colombo and an MA in International Relations from the University of Colombo. He served as a trial attorney at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia from 1998-2003. He joined the Attorney General’s Department in 1983 and was confirmed in his ASG post in January 2015. He has represented the Department at many conferences here and aboard. He is an old boy of S. Thomas College, Mount Lavinia.

The Army Commander’s post also fell vacant with the promotion of former Commander, General Crishantha de Silva as Chief of Defence Staff. The Army’s Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. N.U.M. Mahesh Senanayake RWP RSP USP was appointed as the new Army Commander. He is the 22nd Army Commander of Sri Lanka. Prior to his appointment as the Army Chief of Staff on March 22, he served as Commander of the Jaffna Security Force Headquarters. Before he was appointed as the Commander, Security Forces - Jaffna, he served as the Military Secretary at the Army Headquarters. He joined the Sri Lankan Army in the year 1981, after receiving his education at Ananda College, Colombo.

Senanayake was sidelined by the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa Government on the basis that he had been loyal to Field Marshal (then General) Sarath Fonseka, who contested the January 2010 Presidential Election as the Common candidate against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Following the arrest of General Fonseka on flimsy charges following his defeat, many Army Officers who were believed to have been loyal to him were also subject to interdiction and/or harassment. Some of them migrated while those who remained in the Service were not granted due recognition and promotions. Many of those who had left the Service before retirement age were reinstated once the present Government came to power.

Lt. Gen. Senanayake has also served the staff appointment of Colonel General Staff, 52 Division and Brigadier General Staff at the Security Force Headquarters, Jaffna during the most critical phases of the humanitarian operations before May 2009. Senanayake had actively contributed to almost all the major military operations, conducted in the North and the East of Sri Lanka during a span of more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the prestigious United States Army Command and General Staff College and also had the distinction of working with the US Army as the Senior Manager Project Management of Afghan Operations and Strategic Planning for Civil Reserved Air Fleet (CRAF). Besides, he holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Civil Engineering from the Jawaharlal Nehru University of India.

The events of last week left one other appointment to be filled. The President picked former Foreign Minister (2007-2010) Rohitha Bogollagama to be the new Governor of the Eastern Province, following the departure of Austin Fernando to Colombo to head the Presidential Secretariat. Bogollagama entered Parliament in 2000 from the UNP and crossed over to the SLFP in 2004. An old boy of Ananda College, Colombo, Bogollagama took oaths as an Attorney-at-Law in 1976. He had held the ministerial portfolios of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion, Advanced Technology and National Enterprise and Industries. Bogollagama did not retain his seat at the 2010 Election and has largely kept away from active politics for a number of years.
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