A J Ranasinghe, Accelerated Mahaweli Programme, Bellagio, British Council, Charlie Gamage, Construction Industry Training Project, David Woolger, Edward Wijemanne, English, Galkulama, Gam Udawa, Gill Juleff, Jeritza Macarter, John Keleher, John Payne, Marina Anandappa, Mirigama, Molina Jayaratne, Padmini Ratnam, Paru Nagasunderam, Pasdunrata College of Education, Ranil Wickremesinghe, Richard de Zoysa, Rudi Corens, Servants, Sue Maingay, Vocational Training Centres
The political situation then was sad enough when I got back from Bellagio in the June of 1993. But I also faced a sad personal loss, in the sudden death of David Woolger. Since the death of Richard de Zoysa in 1990, he had been I think my favourite companion and, in the last couple of years before he died, we had travelled frequently together outside Colombo, in addition to meeting regularly for work as well as food and drink at his house in Stratford Avenue.
I had first met him in 1984 soon after I had joined the British Council. One of my first big jobs was to take a film crew round the country, since Sri Lanka had been selected as one of the countries to feature in the anniversary programme the Council had commissioned for its I think 50th anniversary. I learnt a lot then about the development work of the Council, including the massive Construction Industry Training Project it administered up in Galkulama. The Jayewardene government had sensibly started this when it embarked on its massive construction programme round the country, both Premadsa’s Housing Programme and Gamini Dissanayake’s Accelerated Mahaweli Programme.
It was a great pity the Rajapaksa government did not do something similar when it started its construction programme in the North, for one constant complaint at my Reconciliation Committee meetings at Divisional Secretariats was that outsiders were brought in for all the jobs. I found indeed that the Vocational Training Centres in the North had very few students, so that now I have sought, as Chairman of the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission, to get special aid for the poorer Districts there to recruit more young people into the sector. Continue reading