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St. Mary’s College Negombo 150 years

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Year 2021 is historic for both St. Mary’s College, Negombo, and its affiliate the Old Boys’ Association (OBA). It marks the unique feat of attaining 150 years and 100 years in service, respectively. It also provides an opportunity to reflect on the past achievements of these great institutions as well as to introspect on the preparations to meet the challenges that lie ahead. This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime moment that all Maryites have been waiting for, which has finally dawned.

 St. Mary’s English Boys’ School had its early humble beginning as a grant-in-aid-school when Rev. Monsignor John Vistarini, the Missionary Priest of St. Mary’s Church- Grand Street, started it in the Mission House in 1871 for the benefit of the children of the Grand Street Mission. Later it became St. Mary’s English Boys’ High School in a new building behind the Mission House in 1872. Rev. Fr. Vistarini was a great visionary with a flair for preaching, education and social work. It was his passion for great humanitarian service that drove him to model the school as a provider of quality and affordable education.

 Throughout early history, St. Mary’s Church and St. Mary’s College were administered by the Priest in charge of Grand Street Mission and together has been a beacon of light guiding its children in the path of wisdom gained through knowledge, character and spirituality. These great institutions are deeply involved in helping people learn and work toward wholeness and better character.

 The motto of St. Mary’s College is “VIAM SAPIENTIAE MONSTRABO TIBI”; a Latin phrase which is taken from the biblical book of Proverbs (4:11) meaning “I WILL SHOW YOU THE WAY OF WISDOM” in English.

 The College has made significant strides under the management of the Catholic Church for almost a century since its beginning. Although it came under government control on 1st January 1969, the Church’s influence continued until 1981 when the Golden Era of Rectors ended. It has had a powerful and transformative impact on the students which is evident from its alumni consisting of a large number of Catholic Priests, Intellectuals, Professionals, Politicians, Businessmen, etc., who have excelled in their own chosen fields.

 Although education was the primary objective of the college, it went beyond the traditional framework into areas such as leadership, discipline, spirituality, etc., in order to produce well rounded citizens. The college has a reputation of producing a large number of catholic priests, if not the highest. A shining example is  Archbishop Emeritus Rt. Rev. Dr. Nicholas Marcus Fernando who was called to eternal rest on the 11th April 2019. Fr. Nicholas Marcus Fernando became the youngest, at the age of 44, and the first diocesan priest to be appointed Archbishop on March 30, 1977 and since then His Grace had spearheaded and guided the Catholic flock of Sri Lanka with admiration.

Today the college is being administered by Rector, Rev. Fr. Jayantha Wickremasinghe assisted by a faculty of able and qualified staff which has brought renewed hope of re-inventing the former glory.

 The Old Boys’ Association

 April 1906, was a turning point in the college history when Rev. Fr. Francis Lawrence Breton joined as Director of the school. Fr. Breton took immediate steps to recruit certificated teachers with the aim of preparing the students for Cambridge Senior and Junior Examinations. Boarding facilities were provided in the upper floor of the Main Building starting from October 1906 to encourage residential learning.

In what appears to be the first step in forming the Old Boys’ Association, Rev. Fr. Breton formed a Sports Club in 1907 with the help of many old boys. This initial step gradually developed into forming the Old Boys’ Association in December 1911 with a gathering of over 60 of the Negombo elite, organised by its Vice President Mr. R.F.P. Jayatilleke and Secretary Mr. R S Dalpadado, with a call from Rev.Fr. Breton to those who have not joined to join the association.

The OBA since then has played an important complementary role which has been instrumental in many of the infrastructure development that has taken place. Besides, its role in preserving and nurturing the age old traditions and culture are highly commendable. Such cooperation is critical to the smooth functioning and progress of these institutions. In this context, the OBA’s decision to celebrate this unique moment in their history is most opportune and praiseworthy.

The devastation caused by the pandemic across the world has not deterred the OBA from celebrating this all important milestone in a relatively subdued but no less in a solemn manner.

Accordingly, the OBA has organised “Centenary Dinner” with a view to sharing our joy and accomplishment with the Maryites fraternity on 3rd of December.

Nimal Mello

Immediate Past President and Chairman of Centenary Committee



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Keheliya turns down request for abolishing price control on medicine

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Industry leader has sought court intervention

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday (17) said that in spite of difficulties caused by the foreign currency crisis price control on imported medicines couldn’t be done away with.

Abolition of price control on drugs would heap an enormous burden on the vast majority of people, Minister Rambukwella said.

Lawmaker Rambukwella said so when The Island sought his response to the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) requesting the government to do away with price control. Claiming that the grouping imported over 80 percent of medicines into the country, the SLCPI recently warned of possible collapse of the industry unless remedial measures were taken swiftly.

Minister Rambukwella said that recently he met an SLCPI delegation at their request to discuss issues at hand. “Of course, I understand the difficulties experienced by all sectors, including the pharmaceutical trade. However, price control as regards medicine cannot be done away with,” Minister Rambukwella said.

The SLCPI has pointed out to the Minister that at the moment medicines were the only commodity under price control in the local market. The Health Minister asserted that it wouldn’t be fair to compare the medicine with other commodities.

Minister Rambukwella said that regardless of constrains, the government was trying to ensure uninterrupted supply of medicine and it wouldn’t be fair to do at this juncture.

In a statement sent to the media SLCPI asserted: “There is no solution to this dilemma than removing the price control of medicines and implement a fair and equitable pricing mechanism which will link the price of medicines to the dollar, inflation and direct costs such as raw material, fuel and freight charges, which will then make importing and marketing of medicines viable. As difficult as it may sound, the authorities will have to choose between having medicines at a cost and not having medicines at all.”

The SLCPI has already sought the intervention of the courts to establish what the grouping called a transparent pricing mechanism outside government price control.

Recently, Minister Rambukwella, at a meeting also attended by State Minister Dr. Channa Jayasumana called for a report on the requirement of medicines over the next six months. The Health Ministry declared that there was no shortage of drugs whereas SLCPI claimed some drugs were in short supply and the situation could get worse.

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Central Expressway: Rs 3 mn raked in within 12 hours

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Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said yesterday that about three million rupees had been earned by way of toll within the first 12 hours of the opening of the second phase of the Central Expressway.

Rs 2,805,100.00 had been paid by the expressway users during the first 12 hours from 12 noon to midnight Sunday (16) after its opening by the President and the Prime Minister on Saturday (15).

The Minister said that during the first 12 hours of the period of toll collection, a total of 13,583 vehicles had traversed the most  scenic road stretch in the country between Mirigama and Kurunegala. No traffic accidents had been reported during the 12 hour period.

Minister Fernando said that the newly opened road had been allowed to be used by the public free of charge for 12 hours from midnight Saturday (15) to Sunday (16) noon.

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President to inaugurate second session of Ninth Parliament today

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by Saman Indrajith

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is scheduled to commence the second session of the Ninth Parliament today at 10 am with his third Presidential policy statement (formerly Throne Speech).

He made his first ‘Throne Speech’ on Jan 3, 2020, opening the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament and the second on Aug 20, 2020 to open the First Session of the Ninth Parliament.

Secretary General of Parliament, Dhammika Dasanayake said that MPs have been requested to arrive at the parliamentary complex at 9.25 am the latest.

The MPs, if accompanied by their spouses will alight from their vehicles at the Staff Entrance of the parliamentary building, while all other MPs are requested to drive up to the Members’ Entrance.

To facilitate orderly arrival, the MPs are requested that the Car Label provided them with be pasted on the inside top left-hand corner of the windscreen of their vehicles. On arrival at Parliament, Members’ vehicles would be directed by the Police to the appropriate Car Park.

Thereafter the MPs are requested to enter the lobbies of Parliament and to remain there until the Quorum Bells are rung.

President Rajapaksa is scheduled to arrive at the Main Steps of the Parliament Building at 9.40 a.m. and he would be received by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and the Secretary-General of Parliament.

The President will be escorted by them to the Parliament Building. Thereafter, the Speaker and the Secretary-General of Parliament will escort the President to his Chambers.

At 9.55 a.m. the Quorum Bells will be rung for five minutes and all Members will take their seats in the Chamber of Parliament.

The President’s procession will leave for the Chamber of Parliament and will enter the Chamber at 10.00 am. On entering the Chamber the President’s arrival will be announced whereupon all Members will stand in their places until the President reaches the Chair and requests the Members to be seated.

Thereafter, the Proclamation proroguing the Parliament and Summoning the Meeting of Parliament will be read by the Secretary General of Parliament. Then, the President will address Parliament.

After his policy statement the President will adjourn the House until 1.00 p.m. on Wednesday (19).

Thereafter, the President will leave the Chamber escorted by the Speaker and the Secretary-General of Parliament.

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