President’s farewell to ‘Dear friend’
"I came to know Jeyraj Fernandopulle as a law student 37 years back as an active and articulate student leader of the Law College. He became my closest associate and friend who always provided with me advice and assistance whenever my studies fell back. At this sad moment I remember him with gratitude and affection," President Mahinda Rajapaksa said in a condolence message addressed to a ‘Dear Friend who is bidding goodbye to the nation.’

The full text of the message read by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva:

"I recall how we did our studies together and how we spent the holidays at Medamulana or our trips in the Yal Devi in the north and the times we spent with our friends at Karainagar.

The second phase of our friendship started as members of parliament representing the same party that started during the most dangerous political period during the 80s and without considering the threat to his life how he sought to work so that others could live and without doubt Jeyraj set the foundation for a long and honourable future in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

The third phase of our friendship was working as cabinet colleagues of the same government in the decade of the 90s and though he was not given any specific responsibility how he did not get offended but continued to discharge his responsibility and protect the party. Had he lived he would I am certain not only protected the SLFP but also do everything possible to protect our country.

The fourth phase of our close friendship starts with my being given the responsibility of becoming the President. My wish then was that our friendship would continue for a long time but I never dreamed that it will be cut down in just a flash by the cruel separatist terrorists as he held two heavy responsibilities as the Leader of the House and the Minister of Highways.

His efficient service in building new roads and highways across the country touring every region of the country and his outstanding service like building flyovers has endeared him to the people.

As one of the leaders who firmly believed in peace he not only exercised utmost restraint and patience at the negotiation table and also was the first member of a minority to be given the responsibility of the treasurer of the SLFP and worked for strengthening its organizational structure.

He was not only a leader of the government and the SLFP but also was a citizen who did not shirk his responsibilities and my friend left an indelible mark on the political life of this country and I would like to call it the Jeyraj’s mark but at this moment when his services and assistance was needed by the country more than at any time the savage terrorists assassinated not only Jeyraj but the noble facets of democracy he unconditionally represented."

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