Name Nawalapitiya Sports Complex as R. E. Jayatilaka Sports Complex


We are indeed beholden to Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage, for having developed the Nawalapitiya Jayatilaka Sports complex with all facilities, which was declared open by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, recently.

The late R. E. Jayatilaka, studied at Richmond College, Galle and having qualified as a teacher, taught for sometime at S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia, and then took up duties as Principal of Anuruddha College, Kandy. Thereafter, he became a member of the Labour Party and was elected Chairman of the Nawalapitiya Urban Council.

Later, he was elected on the Labour Party as a member of the State Council, followed by Parliament.

In the State Council, he was a great supporter of the late C. W. W. Kannangara (later Doctorate ‘Honories Cuasa’) Minister of Education, in the State Council. Whenever Kannangara moved the Free Education bill, the Leader of the State Council, D. S. Senanayake, a keen opponent of free education, adjourned the House. R. E. Jayatilaka, as a Member of the State Council for Nawalapitiya, opposing the series of adjournments by D. S. Senanayake said: "I am wondering why the Hon. Leader wanted the House adjourned…Sir, we have been discussing many questions. But when it comes to an important question – the education of the poor of this country – we want to put it off. I wonder and I want to know whether it is the ‘old school tie brigade’ trying to torpedo this scheme, because it has been said that powerful influences are trying to torpedo these Education Proposals." (Hansard 1944 pp. 916-46). The Free Education bill was ultimately passed in the House when D. S. Senanayake was away in England negotiating for Independence. Thereafter, 50 central colleges were opened by Kannangara, all over the island.

There are three eminent Jayatilakas in the history of Sri Lanka: the late R. E. Jayatilleke, the late Sir D. B. Jayatilaka and the late Prof. K. N. Jayatilaka.

Naming the Nawalapitiya Sports Complex, as the Jayatilaka Sports Stadium, does not honour R. E. Jayatilaka.

This playground was established by R. E. Jayatilaka, when he was the Chairman of the Nawalapitiya Urban Council. It was then known as the Nawalapitiya Grounds. It was only after his death that the Urban Council named it the Jayatilaka Grounds. After being elected to the State Council, his wife, the late Mrs. Effie Jayatilaka (nee Effie Samarakkody, sister of LSSP leader, Edmund Samarakkody, nephew of D. S. Senanayake), was elected as the Chairman of the Urban Council. She was the first lady in Sri Lanka to head an Urban Council.

R. E. Jayatilaka, who was the Minister of Transport and Works in the W. Dahanayaka interim government, introduced the ‘Podi Menike’ express train to run between Hatton and Colombo, to serve both the Sinhalese and up-country Tamils.

In fact, his cremation was held at this ground and it is only fair to name this Sports Complex as the R. E. Jayatilaka Sports Stadium, as there are several Jayatilakas in Sri Lanka’s history.

A section of the public gallery should be named after Effie Jayatilaka.

Rohan L. Jayatilleke,


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