The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe regime’s policy of helping friends and family appears to have spread to the Foreign Ministry with career diplomats being overlooked in favour of loyalists and their kin.
Last week Lal Wickremetunge, brother of Lasantha Wickremetunge, the slain Editor of the Sunday Leader, was made Consul General in Sydney. Also, Manoj Warnapala, the son-in-law of Austin Fernando, advisor and confidante of President Maithripala Sirisena and the Governor of the Eastern Province, was appointed yesterday as a consul in Sri Lankan High Commission in UK. Warnapala is a UK citizen.
One of the main pillars of the Maithripala Sirisena campaign was to de-politicize the Foreign Service which was filled with children and relatives of cronies by the previous Rajapaksa administration. Colombo Telegraph understands that key individuals of the Sri Lanka expatriate community are upset by this decision. They argue that it amounts to a continuation of the much-criticized nepotism of the Rajapaksa Era. Some of them, who were very vocal in their support for Maithipala Sirisena, point out that career diploamats continue to be sidelined just like during the Rajapaksa years.
Neither Lal Wickrematunge nor Manoj Warnapala have ever held a diplomatic post before nor do either one of them have any career training or experience in the diplomatic service.