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Trinity College Board of Governors slams govt. over move against principal

Rt. Rev. Kumara Ilangasinghe Bishop of Kurunegala and Chairman Board of Governors of Trinity College, Kandy, has issued the following statement on the Governments cancellation of the vias of its Principal Mr. Rod Gilbert and his wife:

"The board of governors of Trinity College, Kandy remain dismayed over the abrupt cancellation of the visas of the Principal, Mr. Rod Gilbert, and his wife with effect from May 15 and the failure on the part of the authorities to furnish any credible reasons for this action.

"An appeal by us dated May 03, 2008, to the Controller General of Immigration & Emigration has elicited no response. Legal action on our part to stay the visa cancellation, in order to allow Mr. Gilbert and the Board more time to investigate and respond to any charge that may be behind this action, has been disallowed.

"The Board would like to emphasize that its own inquiries have revealed no evidence whatsoever of a national security threat to the government and people of Sri Lanka by the conduct of Mr. Rod Gilbert in whom the Board had full confidence. Mr. Gilbert was due to complete his term as Principal of Trinity at the end of this year and arrangements were already in progress for the recruitment of a new Principal. Mr. Gilbert has always acted with the full knowledge and authority of the Board and we would welcome a full and impartial inquiry into any aspect of the activities of the school.

"The Board of Governors would like to reassure the students (who are our primary concern), the staff, the parents, old boys and well-wishers that swift and effective action has been taken to arrange for the orderly administration and the welfare of its students despite this sudden and unfortunate development. The Board is aware that, in the absence of any official and reliable information of the reasons behind the cancellation of the visas of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert, approximately 7 months before they were due to expire, rumours and unsubstantiated allegations have been in circulation. These have the potential of tarnishing the reputation of a school which has been a leading educational institution in Sri Lanka for 136 years and has produced several generations of outstanding citizens who have served our country with distinction.

"It is correct that a member of the staff has been arrested and is in custody but no charges have been framed against him, as yet. The Board will continue to extend its total co-operation to the authorities toe ensure that the national security of our country is maintained but would appeal against actions being taken on the basis of rumour and prejudice.

"Trinity college has been a prestigious institution which has made a valuable contribution to the national life of Sri Lanka educating and nurturing students from all ethnic and religious groups without discrimination. It will continue to do so."

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