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This looks at yet another programme, initiated by Nirmali, and also describes gathering clouds when Dorakumbura turned hostile.

The second picture is of Prof Mendis Rohanadeera.

Another Ministry to support, and problems at USJP

Next morning I had classes at USJP and then at the Ministry of Plan Implementation, arranged by Nirmali. She had done this at the request of her old friend Wickrema Weerasooriya who was now back in action in Sri Lanka, having stayed away in Australia while Premadasa was in power. But he was now part of Gamini Dissanayake’s team to get him the leadership of the UNP, and since President Wijetunge was keen to balance between Gamini and Ranil he gave Wickrema prominence, through a leading role at the Ministry of which he had been Secretary under JR Jayewardene’s government. Its Secretary was a man called Maliyadde, who took up Wickrema’s suggestion that he get Nirmali to run English classes for his staff, and she roped me in for this as also Rapthi, who had been such a success on the Girandurukotte programme, and proved as effective with adults.

After that I was at the UGC and then we had a Liberal Party meeting. On Wednesday I taught at USJP where we had a saff meeting, and then worked at the UGC before a CLD seminar at the Oberoi. And then I briefed Dinali and Rapthi and one of our USJP instructors about the Ministry work.

I went to an Exhibition opening next morning at the Council and worked at Nirmali’s before an anniversary dinner for my parents at my sister’s. The next day, June 17th, before I went to the UGC, Ruby called to invite me to a seminar the Peace Corps would have in Manila the following month, ample consolation for learning later that I had not been selected for Anuradhapura, the position going to Prof Rohanadeera who had been so bitter about Dorakumbura’s appointment as Vice-Chancellor at USJP.

On Saturday I worked at NIrmali’s, and on Sunday too, after speaking at a seminar at the Oberoi about the presidential system. Earlier Paru had called about Dorakumbura asking her to take over as Coordinator at one of the AUCs but I said I would talk to him about it. Monday and Tuesday was USJP classes in the morning and the UGC in the afternoons, with a lunch on the Monday given by the new teachers at the ELTU. On the Tuesday I spoke to Dorakumbura and found him very hostile, claiming that I had been very critical about him. I wondered whether this had been Ratnasiri putting the worst construction possible on my worries about what was happening with regard to the AUCs but, though she was not very bright, I do not think she was nasty and the problems were probably more to do with Gunasinghe.

I think I held off interference at this stage, but soon she was appointed to another of the AUCs, without any consultation, and I realized she could not continue to cross him. But I was glad that he obviously had confidence in her, for her own commitment boded well for our programmes even if he got rid of me. And while Rahangala was still problematic, with different hopeless directors, Bamunuaarachchi at Buttala was a decent man with full confidence in Mrs Siriwardena and there was no reason to worry about the programme there.

Rajiva Wijesinha


September 2022
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