Credibity of a public servant

Living in my retired life in the backwoods of Batticaloa, I, as usual, on a Sunday morning avidly ‘tore’ through all the English Sunday papers and spotted the article in the Sunday Island on a reputed Government Agent, in the Batticaloa District Mr. H. C. Goonewardene for our good fortune.

I remember an incident, where at a time when the Parliament elections were on my elder brother was serving as D.R.O. and one day the wife of a Tamil Cabinet Minister, contesting the Kalkudah seat walked into his office, in a rage to accuse him that he was said to be helping one of the candidates contesting this seat other than her Cabinet Ministerial husband. In characteristic style, she walked into his office with ‘guns’ blazing.

My brother received her politely, and asked her whether she would take him in his car to any individuals who had made such an accusation, and my brother was well known as one who was incapable of partisan action.

She then climbed down, and said that her husband and our family were well known to each other, and she realised these rumours were to be confronted with such accusers. Then the time came when she had to leave, and she had to walk a distance either to the Kalkuda junction or the Valaichenai Junction and asked my brother whether he could drop her at one of these junctions, and the D.R.O. treating her with all courtesy declined to do so, for if he was seen taking this lady in his car, there would also be further accusations that he was working for her Cabinet Minister husband, and his party. Fuming and fretting the lady stalked out of his office, and in high dungeon complained of this treatment to her husband consequent to which wires hummed and an order came for the immediate transfer of the D.R.O. and at that time Mr. Goonewardene was in a key position in Colombo dealing in such matters and realising the background of this victimisation opposed carrying out of this political transfer, but finally had to carry out this order after, quite some time of resistance. I remember this great public servant who while serving as our G.A. in Batticaloa in the same guise as Mr. Dickson Nilaweera who functioned as our G.A. in the morning after the cyclone, where his official residence was also damaged was found walking our streets to personally assess the quantum of damage done to the citizens here. Today we hear of a glut of Sinhala doctors, nurses and other medical staff, shunted for working Batticaloa and where not allowing the language difficulty to mar their service are getting tributes of their service of loss, where while being an inmate of the Batticaloa Teaching Hospital, from the adjoining observed with pleasure a team which included Sinhala doctors and nurses engaged in a frantic struggle, to save the life of an elderly low economic level burgher patient, to continue tirelessly, for a long time struggling to render artificial respiration to bring his heart to life.

Prince Casinader


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