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Dhammika Kitulgoda

Speech of Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, MP to felicitate Mr Dhammika Kitulgoda on his retirement as Secretary General of Parliament

Mr Speaker, I am honoured to be able to speak today on behalf of the Liberal Party of Sri Lanka to felicitate Mr Dhammika Kitulgoda on his retirement as Secretary General of Parliament, and to thank him for his contribution. As you may be aware, I have a great respect for the office he occupied, a respect that dates back nearly half a century to when it was known simply as the position of Clerk to the House of Representatives. That was in the days of the old dignified Chamber, before we had to cope with this grandiose tinsel structure, but simplicity in those days masked great influence and authority.

Despite that lowly title, I was convinced at the time that the Clerk to the House was the most important position in the House, save only that of the Speaker, and of course the Deputy Speaker, a position held then by the Hon Member for Beliatta. That was in the days before the grandiose but pernicious concept of representing a whole District was imposed on us, with a corresponding lack of effectiveness. I should add that, seeing Mr Kitulgoda in action, while now being a Member of Parliament instead of just a spectator in the Gallery, I feel again that the Secretary General is indeed the second most person in Parliament, a far more respectable and respected individual than the rest of us.

Others have spoken of his extremely distinguished career, in the judiciary, where he was the youngest person to be appointed a Magistrate, and then in his administrative roles as Secretary to the Judicial Service Commission, the Constitutional Council and Parliament as its Secretary General. He actually occupied the latter position twice, succeeding and being succeeded by individuals already in service in Parliament. He was therefore unique in coming in from outside, which should not be a regular practice, but which can be a healthy corrective when a service becomes too insular.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

March 2012
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