Why can’t we have an independent Public Service?
Posted on May 5th, 2016

Dr Sudath Gunasekara 5.5.2016

Apropos ‘No such thing as an ‘Independent’ Public Servant’ by Tissa Devendra, in Ceylon today, 2016-03-16, though belated I thought of making few comments regarding  observations he had made therein based on his experience from 1950s as a public servant.

I joined Public Service in 1962. Therefore my personal experience is limited to post 62 period up to 1997April 1st, the day I retired.

I fully agree with my erstwhile senior colleague when he says there is no independent public service in this country today. So much so I have often described the present day so-called public service to a domestic service of the political party in power. But going by my own experience I am inclined to disagree with him on the point that it is impossible to have an independent public service. I also remember him writing on the ‘Myth of an Independent Public Service’ some time back where he expressed similar views. But I dare say no to that assertion as well. Based on my own experience, even within the existing system, I do say if there is a will there is a way. Before I elaborate my argument first, I would like to draw the reader’s attention to some errors in current conceptual notions on public service in this country.

First of all we have to differentiate public service (Rajya Sevaya) from government service (Anduwe Sevaya) though both terms are today often used synonymously, which is not correct.  Really what is called Government Service by our people, should be called, Public Service or State Service that belongs to the State. The State includes a territory, a people a government and sovereignty in modern context although there was no Government in ancient Sri Lanka up to 1815. They had only a Rajaya under a King (Raju). The concept of Government is something imported from the West and not indigenous.  Thus a Government in modern time is only a part of a State, an instrument of the State that is employed to serve all the people within that State. Governments are formed by political parties where democratic system of Government prevails. As such the state service or the public service has to serve all citizens irrespective of whether they have voted the political party in power or the opposition. But unfortunately of late politicians expect public Servants to be servants of their party only, once their party forms a government. Public Servants on the other hand also have built up a sad culture by changing the colour of their ties and go after politicians to get various favours like powerful and glamorous posts such as GAA, Head of certain departments, Secretary posts and even diplomatic assignments, Chairmanships of corporations and various other perks completely forgetting their sacred role as Servants of the Public. As a result they themselves have converted it to a private service to meet their own ends rather than serving the people who maintain them.

It is true that Public servants are obliged to implement the programmes and projects of the ruling political group called the Government but theoretically they have to do so without discriminating against those who have voted the opposition. It is here they cease to be Government servants and

become Public Servants. The system of government we have is also often called ‘a government by the people, for the people and of the people’ although in actual fact today it is far from the truth. This is indeed a difficult job and one could also argue that such thinking is too idealistic and not practical. But in reality that is the role they are expected to play within a democratic system, though obviously the Kautilyan and Macheavallian paradigms may present different interpretations. It is for this purpose we have Public Service Rules and regulations which insulate and protect the public Servant against political meddling and political victimization. Public Service Rules also make the Public Servant a creature immune to political interference that goes against public interest. Public Servant is a Public animal and not a political tool. Particularly in Sri Lanka being a welfare State where all Public Servants are educated by the people, paid by the people and even their pensions are provided by the people.  But Public Service in our country is unfortunately considered to be the same as the Government (Anduwe) Service. This is a big mistake we have inherited from usage over time.

The Government is the instrument through which the State gets Governance done. Once a Government is formed after an election theoretically it belongs to all people in the country. But unfortunately in our country political parties think and behave as it belongs only to the political party that has won the election. It is true that the Government is the machinery established to get the policies given in the manifesto of that particular political party or alliance formed implemented after an election? But they forget that the government has to cater to all citizens irrespective of to what political party they have voted. The misnaming of public service as government service has made those who govern to think that public servants are their servants. So it is natural those who govern expect the public Servant to act and behave the way they want, often as their domestic servants. Unfortunately public servants also have not developed traditions strong enough to withstand political pressure. Pitfalls in methods of recruitment and placement and lack of consistent and systematic professional training and politicization of the service have reduced it to the level of a domestic service of the political party in power. The only service that displays some independence in this regard is the medical service. All other services are far behind the objectives of a public service. The worst among these in my opinion at the top is the Administrative Service that is supposed to be the steel frame of the machinery system of governance. Unless these serious shortfall are rectified one cannot expects an independent, efficient and effective public service in this country.

Historically in Sri Lanka public service was basically based on lofty principles laid down in Buddhist teaching. Bahujana hitaya, ahujana sukhaya (for the good of the many and welfare of the many) was the underpinning of the Buddhist concept Governance. This was the bedrock of the Buddhist system of governance and the final objective of a Government as well. It is the bounden duty of statesmen together with top bureaucrats to formulate a public service based on these principles.

My aim in this note is to argue that one can be an independent public servant in spite of all these barriers if one has sufficient guts and he is prepared to take risks in the noble objectives of service to people. However to achieve that goal one must first find out the root causes of this cancerous malady and remedy them without just submitting to it meekly accepting the existing situation as something sacrosanct, unavoidable and intractable. In Sri Lanka four parties are responsible for the current tragic situation in Public Service. Politicians, Public servants, intellectuals and the general public. This subject needs a separate treatment, which I avoid here for brevity. Politicians rank as the first accused in this national crime and public servants occupying the second place.

Politicians don’t treat it as a service to people any more. For them it is the best job that could take you lively to heaven without any qualification. Politicians have given political rights to public servants encouraging them to work openly and legitimately for them and public servants have cunningly embraced it with both hands.  When you analyze the modus operandi it becomes more than clear both parties have done this for their own benefit. It is a joint operation where each party helps the other for mutual benefit. As a result in this country today both politicians and public servants have completely ceased to be servants of the public. Thus both politics and public service have become private services openly exploiting and robbing the public. Today both have become tormentors and exploiters of the masses. So under such a situation how can one expect the public service to be independent when both politics and public service have become a full time self service for politicians and public servants rather than a devoted and sacred service to the people? In addition to that today most public servants like Doctors and engineers have been given the right to private practice which was strictly prohibited during the early days. Look at the recent revelation by Minister Champika Ranawaka where he said the Chairman of the CEB is also the Chairman of many private electricity companies. Abuse of power and misuse of authority for personal gain has thus come to stay as the norm.

In the following few lines I will show you how I remained an independent public servant from the day I joined it in 1962 until I retired in 1997 after 35 years within this same system where my friend also served.

I will highlight few incidents for the benefit of my readers in chronological order so that you can cite it as a case study, if you like, as to how a public servant can remain independent if he is courageous and committed to the service of people.

My first appointment was as a graduate teacher at a Mahavidyalaya called Morayaya,    Minipe scheme in 1962 fresh from the University. After three months I was appointed as the Principal. This school had only 7 teachers and 265 students. The CCS examination was scheduled to be held in Feb 1963. Although first I had an idea to shift to a school around Mahanuwara city as I was preparing for the CCS examination, later l decided to stay in the same school as I felt it was better to get at least one child to pass his or her O/Level from such a backward and underprivileged area than sending 100 to the University from an area like Kandy city. So I made a firm determination and a commitment to develop this school making use of my experience I

have got from the Principals of my previous colleges such as Galahitiyawa and Veyangoda Central.

In that mission the first thing I did was to introduce a school uniform and a strict scheme of discipline from the following term with the help of the staff and then introduced few innovative measures which enabled me to get the corporation of the parents. From Jan 1963 I got 5 graduate teachers and a 7 pupil teachers to the staff. Meanwhile I was also able to get new facilities like a new building, a pipe born water scheme from the Land Development Department. I fully reorganized the school within that year and as a result I was able to produce the best GCE 0/L results in the Kandy District in 1963 December with all 11 children who sat the examination. I started a HSC class in Jan 1964. By end of 1964 I was able to increase the student population to 965 and the staff to 38 and I left the school in June 1965 as I passed the first CAS held in April 1964.

During this three year period I never invited a politician for any function in the school as I was not dependent on any politician for anything including my appointment as a teacher, my promotion, getting in to the CAS or any work in the college. My superiors at the District office, the school staff, the parents and the students were my main resources.  My chief guest at the first Sport meet in 1964 was the GA Kandy. My first, second and last objectives were the welfare of students. In March 1965 there was a general election and some SLFP stalwarts wanted 100 chairs for a political meeting that was held at the Morayaya junction in front of the college premises presided over by the then Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranayaike. I told them sorry as I am not permitted to give government property for a political meeting as a public officer. I told them  I could do so if they bring a letter from the Asst Director Education Kandy. On the day they had the meeting I heard one speaker requesting the PM to transfer me immediately calling me a UNP stooge for not giving chairs even for a meeting presided over by the PM of the country. A week later a party supporter with a copy of the Etta paper in hand came to see me where in the following news item was published in a box in the first page in bold letters. Is it true that the Principal of Sanghabodhhi Maha Vidyalaya is asking parents coming to see him to vote the UNP’? Smilingly I told him, Mr Wijeratna all news papers in this country never say a lie. Since this paper is called Etta it should be even truer and it could be nothing but the truth.  I was never moved firstly as I knew I have done the correct thing and there was no politics in it and I have never done politics either, in my job. I had devotedly done my job as a true public servant for the benefit of my students only. As such I had nothing to be afraid. More over I was confident that I will be successful at the CAS exam. So the man who left me that day had gone round the electorate spreading the story that what the paper has reported is true and he had verified it from the horse’s mouth. Here you can see the mentality and the intelligence of the party supporters at the grass root level. But Mrs B being a politician different from the present day Magodis stuff, no order ever came until I left the School on June 15th to take up my new appointment as a cadet in the Ceylon Administrative Service, as the SLAS was known then. This was my first encounter with politicians as a public officer.

After completing training as a cadet I was appointed as DRO Yatkinda, Badulla District. A month later GA Kandy Mahinda Wijenaka who was impressed with some work on Kandyan Peasantry I did for him when I was a cadet under him got me appointed as  DRO Uda Dumbara in the Kandy District on 2nd June 1966.  There too I did my job to his and his successor’s satisfaction better than any other Division in the District until I moved out on a promotion to Kandy Kachcheri in April 1971. Until 1970 elections I had no political interference in my work partly as the area was represented by a good opposition MP and partly since those days unlike today there were no pestering government party organizers at that time I did not have that nuisance either. But just before the 1970 General elections, although I performed my duties to the very letter of the law and impartially I was transferred to Anuradhapura as Asst Commissioner Agrarian services at the instigation of the local UNP candidate for the 1970 General elections against the wishes of the people. Leading people in the area led by religious dignitaries went in delegation to meet the PM Dudly Senananyaka and protested against my objections but the temporary transfer prevailed. SLFP won the elections with the same SLFP Mp back and people got me back. I never had any political interference with my official work thereafter until I left the Division as Assist and Director Small Industries Kandy on April 1st 1971 partly as the MP was a good fellow and mainly as I kept him at arms length.

As the Assistant Director Small industries I had some new experience since partly I had to deal with new jobs in the sector and partly as the political culture also was changed with more interference creeping in. There were two main cases. First by Hemachandra Sirisena Junnior Minister Akurana who wanted few girls who had low marks recruited in place of those with higher marks, to Nugawela Powerloom factory. I explained very politely to the Minister why that cannot be done as firstly, it is unfair and secondly it will affect production and stood by the original list. The Minister agreed.

The second incident was representations made by MP Tamara Ilangaratna on a transfer of a demonstrator on disciplinary grounds from Lewella center to Minipe on a punishment transfer she agreed with my reasons. The third was also made by the same person on the removal of the General Manager Kandy District Coop Textile Union. Earlier he was a demonstrator. He was found guilty of mismanagement and therefore transferred back to his substantive post and sent to Galagedara in charge of a textile centre. His grievance was that he was demoted and put in charge of a production center with six machines whereas he was in charge of nearly 150,000 looms as the general manager. I explained the situation that he was not demoted but only reverted to his substantive post as a mild punishment. This reversion did not result in a reduction of his salary though he had to forgo the allowances etc as the General Manager. I also told her that I am responsible to my Head of Department for the production targets given for the District and this is a key decision in that process. As such I am sorry it cannot be changed just now but he 6

could be considered even for promotion as a supervisor if he does well and show me good results and  wanted her to advice him accordingly. Then she told me this person is party supporter and he has worked for Mallika Ratwatte at Balangoda as such they are obliged to help him. I politely told her in that case charges may have to be framed against him for violating PSC regulations as then public servants had no political rights other than the right to vote. Then she smilingly told me, ‘Sudath obatuma sitiyayutte metana novei Parliamentuwe, kiyala. And in reply I told her ‘ apo ekata giya ayata welatiyena de dekkama sihimole eti kenek etanata yaida kiyala. She laughed her guts out and before she bid said good bye she asked me is it alright by me if she speaks to the Minister Suriya Arachchi on this matter. I said by all means. No sooner she left the room I briefed the Minister over the phone on this issue. Only one question he asked me. Will Kundasale and Wattegama MPP protest on this transfer. I said no. When Tamara had met the Minister next day in Colombo in his office and represented matters on this issue I am told the Minister had told her that he will have to discuss with me before he takes a decision as I am known as a officer who normally don’t take a wrong decision. He also had told her that I have made Kandy the best district in the whole Island in production and discipline.

Thereafter Tamara became a lifelong friend of mine and whenever she had a problem with one of her a voters she always use to tell me Sudath itin nitiyata ne  Rajakariya karanne’ puluwannam mata mekata udavvak karanta” In most such occasions I granted her requests where such relief did not violates rules and regulations and did not hinder my administration and discipline in the district and justice by others.

From 1978 to 1985 I worked for Mahaweli Ministry and I was in charge of infrastructure development like roads and towns within the Victoria Project. This was a place where I had my dealings directly with the Secretary to the Ministry Ivan Samaravickrama (one of the finest Public Servants under whom I have ever worked). This was one place where I had full freedom to take decisions, adopt many innovations saving millions to the Government. Many independent decisions I have taken then have gone down in history of the Project as original and first class decision by any public servant. I had no administrative or political interferences in my work. In many instances top engineers like KAHASA Gunatilaka, Maheswaran of the Ministry and Dencil Senanayaka of the Highways Department sought my advice when they were trapped up in intractable problems and I always received their admiration as a senior Public Servant who took bold, correct, impartial and timely decisions. The following comment by veteran politician and onetime Mahaweli Chairman Mr Panditharantna speaks volumes on my role in the Victoria Project infrastructure development.

Sudath if not for you we would have to swim Vitoria Reservoir to get to the other side’

My next assignment was Director Private Sector Industries in the Ministry of Industries in Colombo. This post carries discretionary powers regarding duty wavers where he can go up to 65% which cannot be questioned even in a court. I really did not know why such powers are given to a public officer. Anyway one day I got a file requesting a duty waver by an vip importer who was in the inner cabinet of President Premadasa. After going through the file I allowed 5 % waver and sent the file back. A little while later the Director in charge of the subject came to my room with the file and told me there is a problem with regard to my order. When asked what, he was telling me that it belongs to so and so and he might go to the President and we might have to go for a revision. I told him I am there as a public servant to look after the interests of the public and not those of the businessmen. When I found him hesitant to carry out my orders I asked him to carry out my order and if any problem crops up I will look after that. The letter was sent but no order came from the President for a revision until I moved out from that place for a better assignment months afterwards.

Thereafter I was appointed as the Director of NADSA at Peradeniya in 1985 wef from 1st April. . If not the best development Projects it was at least one of the best development Projects conceived by any Government in the post Independent period in this country but unfortunately the government had decided to close down, at the end of the year 1985. My appointment was vehemently objected by the Chief Minister Dissanayaka CP but Minister asked me to assume duties from 3rd of April and survived for six years until I completed my mission in 1991, in spite of the Chief Minister persistently objecting for my stay. This is one place I worked with full independence. All policy decisions were independently taken by the Board under my direction and vision. All recruitments, selection of allottees, cancelations of land for default we did according to rules and regulations without any abuse of authority or misuse of power by any official. At the end of two weeks I met the Minister of Agriculture Gamani Jayasuriya and told him my views about the project. In view of the importance of its three objectives viz a) Watershed Management, b) settlement Development and c) Agricultural Diversification. Particularly in view of the first objective I told him  that should be the last project that should be closed down in this country as it is so important not only in the overall development of the country but the sustainability of the whole life system and  the very civilization of this Island as its main objective is to protect the main watersheds of the hill country from where all the life giving rivers of this country begin. Having listened to me Minister quipped Sudath you are the only man who says this. All others say just the opposite of what you say; either you are mad or all others are mad.  Any way I see something serious in what you say. I give you permission for you to go ahead with your ideas.

With his blessings I made a strong case for its revival and gave a new lease of life to it with a WFP aid package of nearly 12 million US $. To benefit 35,000 people over a period of 5 years. I changed its name as HADABIMA Authority of Sri Lanka and got its area of operation also expanded to cover the entire Central Province, UVA and Sabaragamuwa Province. Both President Premadasa and Lalith Atulathmudali who was the Minister of Agriculture highly commended its scope and activities and in year 1991 the WFP acclaimed it as the best Small Farm Development Programme in South East Asia. One day at a meeting of Heads of departments Lalith after about 2 months in office as Minister of Agriculture who made the remark ‘gentlemen the best example in the whole world where the poor is made poorer is NADSA” Instantly  I openly retorted, Sir I beg to disagree with you. Then he asked me why? If I have your permission Sir, I will explain. Go ahead” he said. Then I told him at the open meeting that most people

both politicians and officers, who condemn NADSA do so without knowing the value of this Project. None of the people who were in charge of this Project except Kapila Wimaladharma the first general manager had been able to understand the intrinsic importance of the basic objectives of this upcountry development project, For example even if you forget about objective 2 and 3 that is Settlement development and Agricultural diversification and Concentrated only on objective no 1 that is Watershed Area Development, that alone would have fully justified this Project as national Project of the highest priority in this country. Then he asked me to meet him after the meeting as he wanted to fix up a date for a field inspection. So after the  inspection at the farmers meeting at the end of the day he said ladies and gentlemen, until yesterday all what I had heard, read and seen of NADSA are asubhavadi. But only today I saw the real NADSA. I do not know what magic my good friend, your Director Mr Gunasekara has done to this Project. One and half months ago, at a meeting in Colombo I said NADSA is the best example in the whole world where the poor is made poorer. Today I withdraw that statement and Today I say this is the best small farmer development, best integrated rural development Project in Sri Lanka and I can assure you this will go on record as the best Small Farmer Development Project at least in South East Asia before long.

At the end of the meeting he patted me on my back and said  Well done Sudath, I will support you to the hilt. After all Sudath, I am an Oxonian and you are a Cantabrian. During my tenure as Director I was a pain in the necks of Dharmadasa Banda the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Minister Dissanayaka and some people like late Abdul Kadar Mp for Nawalapitiya. All these politicians branded me as a SLFP man but President Premadasa and Lalith Atlathmudali, the best politician with whom I have worked in my life did not care a penny and both of them supported me literally to the hilt in my work as the Project Director. It was indeed a great pleasure to have worked with them.

Towards the tail end of my tenure as Director, as the President of the Sri Lanka Administrative Services Association, I got down President Premadas as the chief guest for a special General Meeting at the BMICH. At this meeting I lodged our strong protest against a proposal before the Cabinet to amalgamate the Divisional Secretariat with the Divisional Council and the proposed appointment of people from the all Island Services also as Divisional GAA as there were no sufficient number of SLAS class 1 officers. They also had proposed to appoint the DSS as the Secretary to the DC Chairmen. I told him the two institutions, Divisional Secretariat and the Divisional Council are two different things.

I also told him the DS is the chief executive and administrative arm of the central Government at the local level where as the DC is a political institution of different political parties. The aim behind that proposal was to bring the administration under the control of the politicians at the local level under the Premadasas programme of taking administration to the people. I asked the President as to how the Government is going to get the DS to implement Government programmes and policies if the DC happens to be in the hands of the opposition I also told him that there will be no governance either at the center or the periphery if you go ahead with that proposal and there will be utter confusion complete breakdown in governance in the country.  Therefore I urged him to drop the proposal in the name of good governance on behalf of my general membership. As I sat down after the speech he turned to me saying ‘My congratulations Sudath you made an excellent speech.  I said thank you Sir.

In his speech thereafter he not only agreed to drop the marriage between the DSS and DCC and allow them to continue to operate independently but also agreed to drop the proposal to a) appoint the DSS as Secretaries to the Chairmen of the DCC and b) not to appoint outsiders as Divisional GAA.

Next day early morning Mr Wijedasa the Secretary to president called me and said that I have been appointed as the Secretary to the Ministry of health with immediate effect

So for one year thereafter I enjoyed full freedom as Secretary in my work having the best relation with all employees and trade unions like the GMOA, Nurses Union and MLT. That year has gone down in history in the health sector as the year without a single strike. My next assignment was Secretary Ministry of Technical Education. The most important achievement as Secretary was the settlement of a nearly two year old strike f the HNDE students of Moratuwa University. This too I was able to settle within about 15 minutes after talking to the boys at the University office after granting all their requests. There were no politician involved in that miracle. The only person associated with me was Prof Luxman Jayatilaka the Chairman of the National Education Commission. The students resumed their studies from next day.

Few weeks after there was a change of Government and one day Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike called me home and offered me the post of Secretary of her Ministry. Then there came around the Presidential Election and Chandrika was elected as the President. Meanwhile there was an internal tussle for the post of PM. There were five contenders the post of Prime  Minister of the Country. Names of D.M. Jayaratna, Anuruddha Ratwatta.Richard Pathirana, Dharmasiri Senanayaka and Dehiwala Gunaratna. One day I asked Mrs B as to who is going to be PM.  She said Sudath Chandrika will give it to somebody whom she like. She will never appoint me. When I asked Sunetra she said the same thing and much more which I do not want to print here. She also said quipped if Chandrika appoints Ammi as PM the sun will rise from the other end”.  Immediately I summoned a meeting of the Rosmead inner circle. There were Keerthi Mawellage PS, Mrs Lenarole, Yatawara, Girty Nugawela and few others and told the somehow or the other we have to do this and I disclosed my plan. Mawellage was to deliver 2 letters to Mrs B and Chandrika singed my the 5 contenders and few more ministers and MPP prepared by me next morning that is Sep 10th before 10 O’clock in the morning I prepared the letter giving reasons as to why Chandrika should appoint none other than Mrs B and the other to Mrs B explaining why Mrs B should command Chandrika to appoint her even if she refuse to do so if she wants to save the Government. The same evening I explained in detail the dangers of appointing any other supporting my argument with the Subha saha Yasa episode After leaving Mrs B rang me up and said  Sudath after listening to you now I have decide to ask for it from Chandrika”. Next morning Mawellage delivered the two letters singed by All the contenders and many more Ministers and number of top MPP. By 10.30 in the morning Mrs B summoned me home and showed me the letter saying Sudath Look now all these fellows wants me to be the PM’ All great minds agree I quipped and I was the first congratulate her Yatawara rang me up in the night and said Sir A tall, dark, old, bold headed gentleman saw Madam last evening and I heard him saying that he would like to be considered to be appointed as the Secretary to her. I immediately guessed who he was and next morning I asked whether Mr M.D.D. Peiris is trying to come as the Secretary. Then she said he is senior to you no” I couldn’t believe my eyes as such I forget to tell her that Yes in service, but he is one of those retired re employed old Civil Servants, of course belonging to a clan of public servants highly considered to be absolutely honest and full of integrity, who joined Civil Service in 1961 and

never had moved out of Combo from the day he joined service. I got disappointed and disgusted and left the residence. In the night again I got as call from Mrs b and then she said Peiris is not coming as Pathirana has refused to release has Sec to M/Higher Education and indicated that I will be back as her Secretary. But I did not believe that by that time I had lost confidence and I had even forgot to tell her as to how Chandrika was compelled and made to appoint as the PM. By 10.30 in the morning on the11th She was appointed Pm and Chandrika appointed her chum… Hemasiri Fernando as the Secretary against the wished of Mrs B. I met Mrs B at her residence that evening and when I handed over the vehicle key she asked me how I am going to Kandy. When I said by bus she said ‘Sudath I missed you very badly, I can’t work with that fellow any don’t retire without telling me, don’t send the vehicle until I ask you what to do” and she gave the key to the driver to take me home. On the third day she rand me up and  told me she spoke to Chandrika again and wanted me to come down to Colombo  as she would like to discuss the matter in details. So when I met her  she asked Chandrika again to put me back but she had said no . She told me that Chandrika has agreed to put me back as Additional if Amma cant work without me.  She asked me whether I like that arrangement. I politely turned it down and told her  er to tell Chandrika to keep both as I do not want to play the second fiddle any more particularly under anon professional I also told her by doing that I would be bringing disgrace to myself, the SLAS and the entire public service and I would rather go back work in my fathers paddy fields. Having said so that so, that day I came home. As I left her again she asked me not to retire as I she wishes to fix me somewhere else as I had few had few more years to go.

Thereafter she put me as a consultant at the Ministry of Cultural affairs hoping to appoint me as the Secretary to that Ministry when the incumbent retires in few months. But there again I decided to leave prematurely as Minister Jayakody had decided to appoint someone else as I had refused to pay a  faulty diesel claim of one of his catchers. In m retirement application I printed the words leaving public service in disgust’ in the cage where I had to give reasons for leaving prematurely.

On my return home I enrolled at the University Peradeniya for a post graduate degree a and end of the first term I was appointed as a Visiting Lecturer and Thanks to Chandrika I passed out with a PhD degree in Agriculture from my Alma mater.

From the first day I joined Public Service as a teacher until I retired after 35 years I am really proud to say I have never gone after a politician for any favour and I also have never taken any decision to satisfy a politician how big he was. I have said no to any politicians whether he is MP Minister or President and survived without any major casualties, of course once in a way having had the privilege of going to the pool with pleasure for up keeping the dignity and independence of Public Service and proved beyond all reasonable doubts that you can be an independent Public Servant if you really want to be so.

But of course one has to have some basic prerequisites to a chive that goal. In the first place you must know your subject thoroughly. Then you must be absolutely impartial, objective, fair and just in decision making. Also you must also know your sacred role as a public servant is to serve the public and not to be a subservient water carrier or firewood supplier of politicians. Once you have these basic qualities then you need to have the courage and the strength to speak and to do the correct thing to convince the  other party whether it is a politician or a member of the public. Once you establish your reputation no sensible politician will ask you to do a wrong thing.

One Response to “Why can’t we have an independent Public Service?”

  1. Nimal Says:

    Sudath
    My family and I very much known, associated and even related to the people mentioned above but sadly the only persons I could give respects is Mrs SWRD and Ricard Pathirana.I think latter is married to a very close relative of mine from the Kothalawala family. I think they run a business named DANCE LANKA in Kandy.I am personally out of touch with them.You didn’t mention a honest SLFPer name Piyasena Thenakoon who attends every funeral and very much in touch with the people. My parents like him but I and my burgher friends always ridiculed him and others for putting the country on to a revers gear with their silly national Ambude and giving up of the better infrastructure left behind by the colonials. He complained to my parents that we hooted when the Chines tried to ridicule the Buddhist faith by bringing in a supposed to be the tooth of the Buddha in the size of a wild boar. That was the time they tried to invade the temples of Tibet.The excuse for the tooth being so big they claimed that Lord Buddha was 60FT high and the evidence was his true size was displayed somewhere in Pollonaruwa.Rascals like us was properly beaten up not only by our parents but by teachers of every school we attended. Severest of the beating I got when a missionary from NZ who visited one of my schools I attended, the Christian Collage Kotte.He requested us to ask any question about the bible and I asked him if the first women on the planet name EVE, slept with her only surviving son to produce all the people on this planet. Two or three teachers took their turn to cane me, slap me etc. With all the nonsense being taught and practiced in all religions, I take them with a pinch of salt.
    Sadly people use religions to control, subjugate, make money and cheat people.Politricans are good at it.
    Most of the people mentioned above brought the standards down in our country.
    Illaganratne started one of the most corrupt enterprises, the CWC and it was headed by the brother of our collage driver one Banda,I think properly know as Navarathna Banda.He stole the rationed Maldive fish given to the Co Ops and was sold in the private black market. Tamara collected bribes to give jobs and I innocently accompanied a person twice to their house in Gampola.Others mentioned were charged with murders, sadly related to me and one threatened my 92 year brother with death. I too was badly injured in Kandy. Party has been hijacked by thugs and scoundrels.
    Mrs SWRD had little control of what was going around her where people like Felix Dias was revengeful and try to undermine one of the best Sinhalese companies we ever had by taking away the best profitable part of Cylinco,the life policies. I knew how hard the Justin Kotalawala and Justin Silva worked with only 18 people in the company. As a teenager I had my office in the same building controlling 4 factories and annoying the directors by parking my car in their car parks in front of the building.
    While the leftover of Cylinco was struggling to survive the newly formed Insurance corporation(in the same building) and their employee were just idling, some were never in their seats. I think they were put there by the politicians.
    Recently the we saw the sad sight of the Kothalawalas be remanded, their company was undermined by some clever people that ended up in the crash. While other finance companies were allowed to get away without a penalty,the all important and expanding Cylinco was brought down to the gutter. This situation was created by the all conniving the financial authority who never controlled any of the financial institutes that was doling out high rates of interests just to grab the people’s money and vanish out of the country. Why are they not prosecuted?
    I got caught to a such a company named Stambo and Stambo operating from Moratuwa and lost millions in 1989 where they use the JVP crisis to go bankrupt and I was told that the director looted the money and settled in UK.
    Compared to the terrorist VP our leaders are the worse enemies not only of the Sinhalese but of the hard working tax payers who happen to be from the minority community.
    London and Bristol Celebrated very proudly the appointments of ethnic minorities as their Mayors while SL being a Buddhist country preachers and practice some thing else. Remember the lands and houses and even the profitable dry Fish trade of the Sinhalese was decimated by our Ambude clad thieving polticans.I know one a very king Dry fish Mudalali from the had his shops in Colombo St Kandy committed Suicide after he was deprived of his supply of the dry fish from Maldives, though Tennakoon came to his funeral, for what?
    We are our own enemies and I say to people who blabber about history, culture and religion to get over there and try to make a living. One will notice a true divide and rule policy that is deliberately created by all theieving politicans for their own benifit.
    You will notice in Kandy,one can’t build a structure above the Maligawa or if that land is over 2000 ft sea level but the corrupt who have connections could and the innocent who have gone abroad ,earned money and brought properties to put ones home is not allowed and there are more restrictions daily for the people. Too depressing to go on and I have to make a honest living.

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