Hugh Fernando remembered

by S. K. J. Kurera Pamunugama Corr.

W. I. Hugh Fernando

The fourteenth death anniversary of W. I. Hugh Fernando, a former Speaker of Parliament fell on April 02.

When the controversial press bill to take over Lakehouse was presented in Parliament in 1964, Fernando as Speaker used his deciding vote against the government along with 14 government MPs, including Minister C. P. de Silva, which led to downfall of the Sirimavo Bandaranayake government.

Fernando who entered politics as chairman of Kammal Pattu village committee became MP for Nattandiya in the 1956 general election defeating Sir Albert F. Peiris, the then Speaker of Parliament.

He was appointed parliamentary secretary to the minister of Food and Agriculture. the late Phillip Gunawardena, who became popular because of his "Paddy Fields Bill," which was a blessing to paddy cultivators who did not own paddy fields.

He did not contest the 1965 elections, but he was appointed High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Pakistan by the UNP govt.

When Sir Albert died in 1968, Fernando was elected MP for Nattandiya again and appointed Minister of Trade and Commerce in the UNP cabinet.

In 1979 he left the UNP and he was appointed chief organiser of SLFP for Puttalam District.

An English trained teacher, he served on the staff of Joseph Vaz College, Wennappuwa.

A famous theatre actor he played the role of Pontius Pilate the Governor of Judea, who condemned Jesus Christ to death, cleverly and became very popular among the theatre fans.

He fell ill and died after admission to Ratnapura hospital while he was engaged in a protest March (Pada Yatra) against some undemocratic activities of the then UNP government, on April 02, 1993.


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