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AGM of SUCCESS Sri Lanka with a Naval Hero as Chief Guest

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The annual General Meeting of the Society for the Upliftment of Conservation of Cultural, Economic and Social Standards (SUCCESS) was held at the International Buddhist Centre, Wellawatte, on April 5, 2021. The highlight of the event was the person selected to grace the occasion as Chief Guest: Navy Commando Chathura Gamage.

Immense help given

SUCCESS was inaugurated by Prof M B Ariyapala and others in 1995 and has continued doing much to promote the aim and vision of the organization. They work mostly in hamlets marked as threatened villagers during the civil war and these lie principally in Vavuniya, Ampara, Trincomalee and Welioya. The temples in the area are the centres for SUCCESS activities and thus, the villagers being too disadvantaged to do much for the temples, the Organization has helped greatly in reconstruction, expansion and installation of facilities. The village people are helped with frequent medical clinics, which Dr Anula Wijesundere, President of SUCCESS for 22 of its 27-year existence, leads. We know full well how selflessly and diligently she conducted health clinics in the poorest of poor villages, doubly suffering due to proximity to LTTE held areas; with like-minded medical and nursing volunteers.

Additionally, the supply of clean water for drinking and water for households and cultivated fields is a special concern of SUCCESS. Water pumps, containers, pipes and taps are supplied; also tube wells sunk. Children are supplied with school necessities and bicycles so they can attend school notwithstanding very poor bus services in most areas.

Choice of Chief Guest of 2021 AGM

Anula spoke on her choice of invitee to be chief guest which was unanimously approved by the Committee. “l first came to know of Chathura’s bravery when I read an article by Admiral Ravindran Wijegunaratne in the Sunday Island of May 26, 2020.” We all agree he is undoubtedly an admirable man, intrepid and loyal to this fellow sailors, and the country.

Just as Dr Wijesundere is well known due to her social service, her commitment to the country and support given to the armed forces, and being an excellent specialist physician; so also well known is Navy Hero Chathura Gamage.

On joining the Navy when the civil war was raging, he was selected with a few others for special training to man small boats that were seen to be more capable than larger vessels of hitting enemy craft the LTTE had successfully built. The trainees were selected for their stature, demonstrated fearlessness and determination. Thus the trained Commandos of the Special Boat Squadron did deadly damage to the LTTE at sea, moving silently into enemy territory at night. Excellent night vision was a requirement. They dealt severe blows to LTTE ships, particularly those smuggling in arms and ammunition. To cap it all, they were almost invisible and escaped detection, capture or being blown up at sea. Victories were many – in the Jaffna Lagoon, Pooneryn and Karainagar.

Unfortunately during a battle between Tamil Tiger ships and the Special Boat Squadron, , Chathura was injured and his boat began drifting to enemy territory. Some of his mates escaped and swam to safety; a few died; and Chathura decided to escape capture by risking his life attempting to swim with a grievous injury. He had been shot in the abdomen. Holding his protruding intestines, he swam two and a half hours until picked-up by a government boat. He spent nine months in hospitals in Trincomalee, Colombo and the Army Hospital. He was first operated on by surgeon Dr Thavendran in Trincomalee. Thereafter he had to undergo several surgeries by Dr S S Jayaratne and Dr Indrani Amarasinghe who performed specialized bowel surgery so he could take solid food after five years of being solely on liquid nourishment. These two doctors were at the SUCCESS AGM.

Another even harder blow was losing his best friend, Sudesh  Dalugama, in a sea battle. This was one reason why, when only partly recovered, he returned to the North and the Navy and worked administratively and as advisor. In his address at the AGM he thanked the doctors who saved his life and got him back to near normalcy, especially the skilled surgeons, both Tamil and Sinhalese.

Chathura harboured this one ambition from a very tender age to join the Armed Forces. Even now, though retired and living in Ratnapura, he gives of his know-how and experience as a Motivator to the SL Navy

Dr Anula Wijesundere presented the year’s work done by SUCCESS followed by a video on the assistance given to the S L Army. She delivered a citation on the Chief Guest which visibly moved him to tears. He then addressed those present, often turning emotional. After tumultuous applause for Chathura, the Ranaviru song. ‘Muhuda de be Karana’ was sung by all present. Chathura was almost mobbed with everyone, young and old, wanting to speak with him. Anula says: “No other chief Guest at our AGMs for the past 27 years received such warmth, affection and adulation.”

N P Wanasundera



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Prez to unveil plan on 13 A

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SJB, SLPP rebels to boycott opening of new parliamentary session

By Saman Indrajith

The main Opposition party, the SJB, and the dissident SLPP MPs have decided to boycott the ceremonial opening of the Fourth session of the Ninth Parliament by President Ranil Wickremessinghe today.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe declared, on January 26, that he would brief Parliament on his decision to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution fully.

MP Prof G.L. Peiris told the media that the FPC would boycott President Wickremesinghe’s speech, scheduled to take place today (08) when the Fourth session of the Parliament is ceremonially declared open.

Prof Peiris called the ceremonial opening of the new parliamentary session a mere show. “This is not acceptable. The people are fed up with policy statements. They need solutions instead,” he said.

Chief Opposition Whip and SJB Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella, addressing a press conference, at the Opposition Leader’s office in Colombo yesterday said that his party members too would boycott today’s ceremony.

Kiriella said that President Wickremesinghe was now speaking of economic development in 2048. “This he is promising to do while doing everything possible under the sun and the moon to deprive people of their democratic right to an election. Therefore, we have decided not to attend President’s ceremonial treading of the government policy statement which is another example of this makeshift government’s predilection for waste of money and time.”

All Ceylon Tamil Congress, led by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, too, has decided to boycott today’s sessions.

TNA spokesman, Jaffna District MP MA Sumanthiran, said that his party would attend Parliament sessions today.

Political party sources said that TNA, JVP, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and All Ceylon Makkal Congress, in the Opposition ranks, however, would attend Parliament today.

Following the ceremonial opening of the day’s session, the President is scheduled to present the Statement of Government Policy in Parliament, at 10 am, according to the powers vested in him, under Article 33 of the Constitution.

A rehearsal for the ceremonial opening was held Monday at the Parliament premises where many, including students of Presidents’ Girls College, Kotte, were present.

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MSC America belonging to largest shipping line calls at ECT

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Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and Master of the vessel, Capt. Matlin Alexander, exchanging plaques to mark the occasion (pic courtesy Ports, Shipping and Aviation Ministry

MSC America, the first container vessel under the business promotions programme to attract new lines to the Port of Colombo (POC), called at the East Container Terminal (ECT), owned by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority yesterday (07).

The latest programme to attract new shipping lines to the POC has been planned and implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Ports and Shipping, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT), South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT), Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents (CASA) and Sri Lanka Association of Vessel Owners (SLAVO) to effectively address strategic business promotions as a fruitful mean to overcome the prevailing economic crisis. Attracting more new lines to the POC, increasing operational efficiency, expediting naval services, efficiency in logistics and warehouse management and container and cargo transportation are among the objectives.

MSC America that called at the ECT, owned by the POC, will hereafter operate a weekly call to Colombo.

On the first call, yesterday, the vessel carried 2300TEUs to Colombo and is expected to carry 2500TEUs on a weekly basis. The vessel, with a length of 334m and a 7.5m draft, sails under the flag of Panama. The port rotation includes Singapore and South Africa.


MSC is the largest global shipping line, with a fleet of more than 775 TEU vessels for container transportation around the world. The shipping line that maintains long term operations with the POC has a collaborative business relationship of more than 10 years with SLPA. Since 2015, it is the prime shipping line of the POC with an annual operational capacity of 2.0m TEUs. It performs about 900 calls per annum at the POC.

The deep draft vessels, owned by MSC, call at the CICT of the POC, whilst calling the SLPA controlled JCT and ECT with more than 1.0m TEUS per annum, becoming the main customer of the SLPA.

According to MSC Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd., the local agents for MSC shipping lines, another new three shipping lines, under INGWE West Bound service, East Africa Express service and East Med Service, will be calling this month at the POC.

To mark MSC America’s first call at the POC, a special plaque exchange was held at the ECT of the SLPA between Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva, and the Master of the vessel, Capt. Matlin Alexander. Chairman of SLPA, Keith D Bernard, and several representatives of MSC Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd., also attended the occasion.

Expressing views at the occasion Minister de Silva said:

“With the deep draft of the East Container Terminal, there is ample potential for mega vessels to call at the port. The remaining development process of the terminal is expedited with an investment of Rs.5.9 billion. Today, a mega vessel of the MSC has contributed for container operations via the Port of Colombo. Similarly four new services will be added to increase the capacity of the POC. That will increase our revenue. This has further strengthened the credibility placed by the international shipping community on the Port of Colombo.”

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Remembering Upali Wijewardene, the founder of Upali Group

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The Upali Group of Companies, its employees, and sales agents countrywide, have made arrangements to invoke blessings on its founder, Upali Wijewardene, who disappeared in his Learjet, 40 years ago. Bodhi Pooja, Pahan Pooja and an alms-giving will be held, in his memory, on Feb. 13 (Monday).

A special Bodhi Pooja will be held at the Kelani Raja Maha Viharaya, at 6 p.m. on February 13 with the blessings of Prof. Ven. Kollupitiye Mahinda Sangarakkhitha Thera, the Chief Incumbent of Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya.

Arrangements have been made to offer alms to the Maha Sangha at the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya, and scholarships to 10 needy children, from the Helena Wijewardene Maha Vidyalaya, Kelaniya.

Alms-giving to the inmates of the Home for the Elders at Mulgampola, Kandy, Bodhi Pooja Pinkama and Kavi Bana Pinkama, from 4.30 p.m. onwards, at the Ceylon Chocolates factory premises.

Bodhipooja, Pahan Pooja and Kavibana deshana will be held at Vidya Niketha Piriven Viharaya, Sapugoda Kamburupitiya.

The employees of Upali Consumer Products have arranged an alms-giving lunch at the ‘Children’s Home’ at Ja-Ela.

Founder’s Day Programme on February 13, 2023.

9.00 a.m. – Holy Mass at Mattakkuliya Church.

10.00 a.m. – Offering of Buddhapooja at the ‘Dhathumandiriya’.

10.30 a.m. – Scholarships to 10 needy children from Helena Wijewardene Maha Vidyalaya, Kelaniya.

11.30 a.m. – Alms-giving for the Maha Sangha at Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya.

12 noon – Providing lunch for the Children’s Home, Ja-Ela, organized by the employees of Upali Trading Co. Ltd.

5.15 p.m. – Offering Gilanpasapooja (permissible drinks) for Dhathumandiraya.

6.00 p.m. – Bodhi Pooja and Pahan Pooja at Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya.

All these pinkamas (meritorious acts) are organized by Upali Group employees and newspaper, Kandos/Delta and soap agents.

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