Douglas Wickremaratne is no more.
Posted on December 5th, 2021

Garvin Karunaratne  

I first met Douglas Wickremaratne  somewhere in 1984/85 when we were searching for a speaker for a debate on the ethnic problem to be held at the University of Cambridge.  I was then working in Cambridge and we Professor  Atula Ginige and a few others  were in charge of the Sinhala side to make a presentation. We heard about Douglas and called on him in London to invite him to speak on occasion. Douglas  readily agreed and also suggested another speaker Dr Cappie Kannangara, who was approached. Dr Cappie  too readily agreed. 

In the  morning of the day for the debate, It was a bad start as though Cappie came to Cambridge, he  had to get back as his brother in law Denzil Peries had suddenly died at a restaurant meal. Denzil was the Editor of the South, a journal  that had recently unearthed with photographic evidence  that Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India had established training camps for the LTTE cadres and this had been given prominence in the Issues of The South.  I had to step in place of Cappie and we were worried  as our team looked weak without Dr Cappie.  

However at the debate Douglas excelled in speaking. His speech was organized well and full of facts all rattled from memory without a scrap of paper. His was a store of knowledge of how the ethnic problem commenced, full of historical detail of how facts had been misrepresented. There was pin drop silence as he spoke. Douglas excelled in presenting facts- it was a flow that kept listeners mesmerised.  In  answering the questions raised, Douglas was on the ball with specific details of the carnage caused by LTTE attacks on unarmed civilians and even novice monks at Arantalawa. Douglas was always the winner in arguments. 

That occasion  brought us close together and whenever we wanted to discuss the ethnic problem we in South London always invited Douglas, who always came dead on time, at his expense.  

There were occasions when he would telephone me in the morning to join him in a few hours to be present in a Room at the Houses of Parliament where members of parliament were being briefed by LTTE supporters. Douglas as usual  always won the day whenever he spoke. He was then actually doing the task that should have been done  by the High Commission for Sri Lanka which was more in slumber than awake. 

Douglas was in many years requested to be present at Geneva at the UNHCR Sessions and I am aware that he accomplished himself creditably well on all those occasions.  

Douglas was a close admirer of Ven. Elle Gunawsansa Thera . 

His life was an innings well done, a glorious service to the Motherland he dearly loved. He dedicated his life for the country in every respect.  

My condolences are for his wife and children. 

May life be short in Samsara for Douglas. It has to be so for a personage who dedicated his time and energy, unreservedly,  for the cause of his Motherland 

Garvin Karunaratne  

5 th December 2021 

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