14 July, 2024


The Thomian Pharisees Are Unrepentant: Why This Matters To All Sri Lankans

By Panini Edirisinhe

Panini Edirisinhe

Panini Edirisinhe

This is the third article on this subject published in five months on this Public Forum. The two earlier articles have drawn 227 comments. Quite a few are admittedly explanations by the author, but taken as a body, the comments clearly indicate that those who have learnt about the sad situation in these schools are very concerned.

The quality and balance of the comments is testimony to the fact that these schools still have a role to play in the future of our country. They are among the few that truly educate together a cross-section of the groups that make up the Sri Lankan community. Those who have commented are willing to learn; they are willing to listen, and to correct their faults. The charge most commonly held out against Thomians is that they are snobs, and elitist. There may be some truth in this, and we are not perfect, but the comments made here witness to our trying to do what we feel is right.

BaptismWithKebleThese schools have built for ourselves a great reputation for character formation and integrity and what has shocked readers is the fact that the Thomian Establishment is revealed as rotten. It is the system of administration and vested interests rather than individuals who are to blame, but the three guilty Pharisees deserve the flack that they are receiving. When people don’t respond to criticism is it not our duty to show that we will not allow these people to ruin the future of the younger generations of our country?

The earlier articles have set forth quite enough facts regarding the cheating that has taken place in the S. Thomas’ Schools in Bandarawela and Kollupitiya. The comments have brought in more facts. The correspondence with the Bishop had to be released because it was clear that he was merely playing for time, to later claim that it was too late to set things right.

Gratitude is owed to the many readers who have already stuck their necks out for the sake of Justice. Now, with the Annual General Meeting of the Bandrawela OBA due on Saturday, the 13th, August 2016, it is necessary for readers of Colombo Telegraph, whether Thomians or not, to demand that Educational Institutions be run transparently. It is our duty to transform this land for future generations.

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  • 7


    Pharisee means a self-righteous or hypocritical person.
    The name Pharisee in its Hebrew form means Separatists[oh no!not the LTTE!] OR THE SEPARATED ONES.
    They were also known as CHASIDIM,which means loyal to God-extremely ironic in view of the fact that by His time,they made themselves the most bitter,and deadly opponents of Jesus Christ and His message.

    The above is from the internet.
    I am with you Panini,to transform this land for future generations.
    I may also add that the Bishop of Colombo is not an old Thomian,like some of his predecessors.
    By the way,could you pl.name those in the Photo?

    • 4

      Dear Plato,

      Responding to your request: I’m not sure of the exact date (never bothered with it, but let’s say late 1948 – but can find out from church records). Outside the Church of the Ascension, Bandarawela, after an innocent infant (who’s now got totally disillusioned with the “Church of Ceylon”) was baptised in to the faith by Rev. Charlie Thomas, who isn’t in the photograph. Those in the photograph with the said infant are the parents and Godparents, and the elder sister, Damayanthi.

      Left to right: David Nicholas de Alwis Edirisinhe (well, just a bit of him), who died of a botched appendicitis operation on Feb. 18th, 1963. Next, Mita Lenis (nee Wijeratne-Dissanayake) who passed away on 14th December 2007, Panini Edirisinhe (being carried), Muriel A. Loewe (a Canadian nurse), William Thomas Keble, who also passed away in 1963, I think (can find out!) in Vancouver, Canada, R.H. (“Bobby”) Moses, who later became an institution at Trinity, before migrating to Perth, Australia, around 1984, living there for a long time, before passing away aged well over 90. And Damayanthi Edirisinhe, who still lives next door, a spinster.

      • 5


        Great. May the Keble spirit continue through your work. By the way do you know what became of Keble’s son (Antony I think)? Is he still around and is there a way of getting in touch with him? Not me personally but it would be nice if the schools can recognize him.

        • 2

          Oh, dear, I literally stayed up all night and typed in a long response which I obviously haven’t posted.

          Basically, I found that my Godmother had lived to the age of 96: didn’t hear from her after she passed 75:


          This may have been Mr Keble’s son:

          Anthony Keble
          203 Kimta Rd 212, Victoria BC, V9A6T5

          I had put in all sorts of details. Did that because I think that Plato, Spring Koha, Peace Lover and you are very nice people. Also sent an email to my brilliant pupil in Toronto, which he replied with:

          Time: 05:37

          Dear Sir,
          You dwell too much on trivial matters. I believe that it would be more valuable for you to contemplate on more profound matters in life. It would be a pursuit more worthy of your intellect.
          May you be well!
          Kindest regards

  • 2

    Oh no not again………

    Please note that t here is more to Sri Lanka than Royal or St Thomas’s Mr Edirisinghe!

    For all your talk of Thomians please note that one of the so called illustrious old boys in the form of SWRD Bandaranayake ruined Sri Lanka for whih we pay the price even now,Royal too produced its share of scoundrels like J R Jayawardene who fanned communal politics

    Sri Lanka has better things to look forward to and work on rather than be concerned about the agendas of people who aspire to be in the STC OBA

    btw,I’m a former student of that great man J S L Fernando @ Prep in cae you think i’m a Royalist lol

    • 10

      Peace Lover

      Seems like you have missed the point. Which is what most old boys seem to have done. No wonder the schools are in this state.

    • 4

      Peace lover, you are correct! SWRD set the ball rolling, throwing stones at a sleeping dog, Dudley was just a decent honest man who if given more time have led the nation to a higher level, St. Bridgets shut down the economy, JRJ who could easily have cleaned the place of this language issue (it was, after all JUST a language issue brought about by his school mate, SWRD) just sat there and allowed the cauldron to boil and the politicians to make hay, RP was neither from STC and RC nor “kandy Trinity” but you can see what he did, MR stopped the war but is accused of corruption and now we have another Royalist along with many of his class of 1950s, with the “village schoolboy” for whom I have much respect because of his GUTS! Its a Herculean task, and we need dedicated and INCORRUPTIBLE leaders. Can you think of ONE!!??

      • 4

        The language issue was originally brought about by JRJ himself, who first made the Sinhala-only suggestion in parliament in 1944. SWRD only used it to capitalise on his opponent politically, which of course ended up in disaster.

        • 3


          What about JRJ March from Kandy? Can you shed light on that?

          • 0

            [Edited out] Please write instead of posting links – CT

          • 1

            Amarasiri, When I made my comment last night, I wanted to ask Native Vedda and you to go back to my earlier post and see some of the comments. You will find my correspondence with the Bishop particularly interesting. Your incisive mind will be able to make many perceptive comments on it. But make them here – not many will go to the earlier blog.

            I’m sure that we owe the CT webmasters in London a great deal, but they’re still asleep there, it looks like. There was some confusion putting this blog on, but I guess this shortened version was best – except that I’ve not today kept to my resolution to refrain from commenting. The article was to give more details – of present goings on – not what I’ve told you here. I’ve done my bit, it’s up to the rest of Sri Lanka to wake up to the fact that I’m writing all this as a “gamey iskole mahattaya” writing about the school closest to him, where he has never been allowed to work. It had even been assumed by many that I didn’t know any English.

            I have referred in last night’s comment to a Tissa Liyanage. To the best of my knowledge, only he, and his classmate, Roshan Miskin, have ever sat A. Level English from the school founded by Keble – which then had classes only up to “Standard Five”. Both passed (in 1982), after being taught by me, before I entered the University.

            There was a two year gap after sitting my GAQ (after travelling down to Aquinas every Friday for two years, and getting back on Sunday evening). English was taught at Aquinas with great dedication and insight by M.I. Kuruwila who had a terrible tremor in his hands. Some days it was so bad he used to write on the board with his left hand, instead of his customary right hand. Western Classics was taught by Mrs Shona Moldrich, her daughter, (Daphne?), was reading English at Pera at the time, and Mrs M. herself was a visiting lecturer at Kelaniya and Pera. Kuru was on a monthly salary at Aquinas, but Molly was paid Rs 20/= per hour. Then the exam got postponed for a year; these two taught for free.

            My third subject was Philosophy. The Rector, Don Peter, refused to give us the subject, saying that there weren’t enough students. I got chased out of his office for daring to suggest that a Catholic Institution should offer us the subject even at a loss! Then Fr Harold Panditharatne (with two Doctorates – wonderful guy, unlike his brother, the Vice-Chancellor, Leslie, whom you know about) stopped doing his London A. Level classes at St Joseph’s, and consented to teach at Aquinas. There were three of us who were really keen on the subject and Fr Harold found us in his class of about ten students. He suggested that we read Hospers (a brilliant academic, but a horrible right wing politician who was one of those “also-rans” for President of the U.S.). I had already summarised the whole of a 1940s book by a guy called Titus, which I found in the excellent Aquinas library. This was apart from reading Bertrand Russel et al, for the Paper on “Problems of Philosophy”. The other paper was “Symbolic Logic”, which most were mortally scared of. Fr Harold focussed on that paper; he used to prepare thoroughly, and the lessons were brilliant, but he never got to know who the students were. When the three keen-as-mustard men suddenly left the class saying that they were sitting the December 1980 exam (called the 1979 GAQ by Pera Uni.) he was devastated – and soon after stopped turning up!

            There was little love lost between Don Peter, the Rector and any of the staff (that included Fr Harold). I think that I’d better write that story some other time!

            Anyway, while waiting two years for Pera to admit me, there were some people wanting me to teach “Elocution”, a subject I knew nothing of! So, back to the grind – travelling to Wendy Whatmore for ATCL classes. She was tickled no end by having a Bandarawela (for all that those Colombo guys knew, it may have been Bintenna) M.M.V. teacher showing more real knowledge than the Colombo elite. Then there were guys wanting me to regurgitate my Philosophy notes to them, since it was so difficult to find a teacher who could cover the syllabus in English. So a class of about six in the Borella home of Ravinatha Ariyasinghe (that’s right, the guy in Geneva now – how he completed his degree, I don’t know). But before getting to Borella, I used to borrow the best possible reference books for my two S. Thomas’ students (Kuru used to make suggestions) from the British Council Library.

            Tissa passed, but Roshan Miskin, who was brilliant, actually got a B. However, he never entered a University – instead got a job in a Dubai hotel, so as to support his elder brother who sat the same A. Level exam in 1982. So Hiran Miskin became a Mora architect. They are all in Toronto, Canada now; I can understand little of what they put on Facebook – things about “namo Buddaya”. Roshan, possibly the most brilliant student the school ever had, is an Accountant, and quite happy now with adult sons, I believe.

            These are the few “recent” memories that I have of a school that never allowed me to teach in it. Those two students came home; Roshan was taught for free. Even this year there were guys who said that I had no role to play in improving the English there.

            By the way, there had been a Prize Giving in the school on the 29th of July. I was told that the Chief Guest was a “Professor from Moratuwa”, who had been the most brilliant some of these Old Boys had ever heard (there was this boycott of school affairs by the OBA after the Ides of March fiasco which meant that nothing was normal). They didn’t know his name, and I had not been asked by Balraj to fund the “Peace Prize” that I’ve been donating for the past few years.

            Then at the AGM yesterday, the name came from Balraj:


            He was on the BoG for about two years – but almost never attended a meeting saying that it was “rather like a club”. He finally resigned in February 2016. He is kept very busy by all the consulting that is sought for transportation. I haven’t really kept him updated, but about two years ago I had told him that Balraj was an excellent man – an opinion that I must now revise. That may be why he came up – but I didn’t know, and in any case I happened to be in Maharagama.

            Amal also was one of my pupils! In Bandarawela M.M.V. He had started at STPS, Colpetty, then at Gurutalawa, his parents having bought a farm at Bogahakumbura, five miles away. Amal cycled to school every day – up to O. Levels (around 1974). Then he spent a year in Bandarawela M.M.V., until his father died. I had been asked to teach “more advanced English” to a group by the Principal who was wanting to show that our standards were higher than at S. Thomas’. Anyway, when Amal’s father died, his mother (who still answers the phone) sold the farm, and Amal entered the University from Mt Lavinia. He’s a committed Christian (Baptist). These are the people who could still save S. Thomas’, but the political operation of taming these Pharisees has to be undertaken by the public.

            So, Amarasiri, please go back to the previous blog and start planning your brilliant comments!

        • 0

          OK, I heard that too. Whats the difference?!

        • 1

          SWRD’s intention was make Sinhala the state language and Tamil a due place. But, Esmond Wickremasinghe, the farther of the current runner of SL, Ranil Wickremesinghe, published it through his Lake House newspapers as Sinhala “ONLY” act. What a shrewd man Esmond was? The irony is, still some people carry that crap and take no time to bash SWRD. History, will make the judgement.

  • 6

    Thanks to CT for publishing this and proving Viraj Kariyawasam and similar paid monkeys by the board wrong. That looks like Mr. WT Keble in the photograph.

    I have nothing to add other than to repaste the comment I made on the last article (because there are many comments) as I feel those interested must read. It is my reply to Panini clarifying the AGM meeting held by the OBU at Kollupitiya last month. Here is the reply I put for the last post. So far nobody has challenged it so unless you can show that the facts are incorrect then it is correct. I cant call Panini for few weeks as I am moving around for work but will do soon.


    The meeting was poorly organised and there seemed to be some chaos at the entrance. Normally we are given a detailed report book like an annual report but this year it was just some sheets of paper with a small write up of what has been done in the last year. looks like nothing much was done other than supporting a cheating headmaster. As mentioned there was a mail from Crishmal that morning stating what had happened and also that he wishes to withdraw from being nominated to be a vice president as there were apparantly more than three running (there are only three slots for vice presidents). He was not there at the meeting when it was brought up and one member said the election should go ahead as anyway a fifth old boy who was also running (a guy i have met before and seems pretty clueless but has been in the committee for a long time, was several years junior to me at school) refused to step down. The elections were a walkover with the confusion created by Crismals email (apparantly some people had not got it) and so very few voted for him as they were not sure whether he was still contesting. I blame him for not showing up at the meeting and explaining. Is this the time to stay away? The three who won the posts for vice president will definitely not be any challenge to the headmaster. one is the former headmaster JSL Fernandos son who will never challenge the headmaster. Another is known to all of us as a happy guy who doesnt get involved in these types of politics. The third is one who was named in the email as a supporter in the cheating saga and is of similar era to me in school. I was told by another old boy who was there that he was also campaigning openly for votes before the meeting. Therefore the headmaster has skilfully managed to put his supporters in the senior positions.

    I also found the new incoming secretary has a son in school which I think is disturbing and it is a conflict of interest. Any old boy of Prep will know what happened with the secretary who was there for more than 10 years under casies time who did nothing with the OBU because he was just there to ensure his son (in school) was successful. It is not fair to expect any senior OBU member to challenge the headmaster when their own son is in school – I will accept that I would be the same in that position. He also did not speak to explain his report and seemed content to let the headmaster run the show. I guess that’s how it will be and that’s what we old boys deserve for being so stupid. I also am told by people who know the crowd a bit better that the headmaster has brought other supporters into the team this time who will not challenge any move of his.

    The crowd at the meeting was less than before as was clear to me and those I know who attended. This year they did not inform the members by letter (only by email that I saw) and i wonder whether this was to make sure too many people did not show up and start asking questions.

    Now another interesting thing. There were number of members of staff present some who are known to me because they were there in my younger brother’s time in school or I have met them over the years at various events. Several of them have been asked to leave at the end of this year (althoug they are no where close to the retirement age) because the lower school head (Mallika who is mentioned in earlier comments) Bishops sister in law does not like them and has influenced the headmaster. I suggested they complain to the board or take the school to labour court but they are afraid to do it as they will lose any chance at the government pension. They also have no representative to speak to because the Headmaster has appointed an incompetent person as the senior school head (a man who has no qualification and cannot speak any english according to them) to do all his dirty work. They know that there is no chance the board will even bother to listen to them. They told me how the so called election happened, where the headmaster just came in and announced that Mallika and the unqualified upper school head would go and vote on behalf of the staff and no chance was given for objection. They also informed me that discipline at the school is at an all time low as the headmaster doesnt have any respect among the boys. My wife informs me that it is the same whenever she goes to school to pick up my son (she cannot meet the headmaster as he is forever in meetings with this Mallika) with boys just shouting in raw filth in sinhala. There are many other talks they had about robberies that take place in the office (not the headmaster who is clueless, but those around him are doing) and about staff who are just sitting without going to class. Headmaster is sleeping through all this.

    Finally I spoke to the headmaster with a few others. I was one who was very happy when he took over because my son has many more years to go and I could see how bad things were with the previous headmaster there. I dont know what I was thinking at the time. I can now clearly see that the man is completely clueless about how to run a school and he knows even less about financial management. All he was interested in was how many people can come in and bring funds for the building. This is not a bad thing except that he doesnt have any plan to spend it on increasing staff salaries or hiring better quality staff. There is terrible teaching quality in school now as any parent will tell you. And the new headmaster has done nothing to improve it.He has absolutely no plan on how to do anything to bring up the status of the school (I am not talking about putting up buildings which is not what is meant by a good school). Its clear he has agendas to get himself a high position in the church and the only way he can do this is to put up new buildings by hook or by crook. As to how he decides to spend this money, who appoints the contractors (there was some work being done over the last few months) or what qualification he has to decide on the prices I dont know. These are questions the old boys should ask but now we know they will never ask because he has put all his cronies in to the committee. A number of old boys with me were laughing saying that we have gone back to the casie chetty era but it is even worse now because now old boys with their own interests have also joined for the ride. Ask anyone who was at mount when he was temporary warden there few years back. They will tell you what a disaster he was.

    Panini I do not have any hope for the school any more nor for the other thomian institutions. Not with these criminals in charge and in the board. There seems to be very little you or I can do because there are enough people who are willing to deny any problem until one of the buildings collapses or until the standard of teaching is worse than in a rural village school and the standard of students with it. Very sadly I will need to think about whether I can keep my son in school any more. Not until this bishop and these priests are completely removed from this school will there be any benefit. Earlier we thought the Mrs Nirmalie who was at Ladies college will do something as she is school manager. Now I realise that the current headmaster is her parish priest.

    See the problems these religious people and so called holy men are causing. There is no hope I can see unless you will accept that this is all because of this criminal bishop who will ruin all four schools as the Old Boys happily support their nonsense. I hope you can do something about it. If I decide I have to make sure my son is no longer there then I will join you.

    God bless S. Thomas schools destroyed by the church. Esto Perpetua! “

  • 3

    Were the Anglican Church a strong institution, its leaders would be able to defend out in the open how they run their schools; there would be no need for cheating at elections to retain in authority mediocre persons who provide cover for poor standards. It applies to all churches that run schools and also state school system. These are no longer served by the complement of persons of character and intellect that once helped to maintain high standards – like STC Gurutalawa of Dr. Hayman and Canon Foster in their time. Many of our once renowned institutions have reached a point of nervousness where they keep at arm’s length high calibre persons who develop a desire to get into these institutions and raise standards.

    In the middle of the last century when opportunities were fewer, high calibre men and women with SSC’s and basic degrees got into teaching and frequently became outstanding. Now the schools are full of teachers who routinely have their MEd, but are unable motivate their students intellectually. The burden of exam coaching is borne by tutories.

    This is one area in which mission schools are well placed. If they make up their mind to offer quality, they have greater freedom in finding the resources to hire persons who would serve that end.

    I am sure this is what the author Panini Edirisinghe would like to see. Not challenging abuses is a safe way to keep one’s respectability and get into comfortable sinecures without letting others see one’s shortcomings. Panini has taken a whacking, and his decency and high intellectual calibre remind one of the rose wasting its sweetness in the desert air.

  • 5

    Mr. Edirisinhe

    Alarmingly, STC appears to be going down the narrow path of religious fervour in recent times . The head of school was seen kneeling in prayer on the playing field with the rugby team after a school game a few months ago . Furthermore , no sports team leaves College without being blessed by the chaplain . This could be construed to be undue coercion of children of other faiths who are at a vulnerable stage of their development .

    The school by the sea was always the jewel in the crown of the Anglican Church of Sri Lanka , and a shining example of religious tolerance and ethnic harmony .Sadly , the current trend does not sit well with the aspirations of the founders of the school who set out to provide a well rounded education to children of all backgrounds . They led by example with love,compassion and Christian charity towards all, without bias or bravado .

  • 4

    Hi Folks
    These elitist Schools were mainly for the Indian colonial parasites and their mates. There are similar schools with the same name and status in other Indian colonies of the British-Indian Empire, now the Indian Empire.

    • 2


      Exactly true! However, it was good Mother Theresa was in India to give shame to Hindus regarding their caste-systems. In Sri Lanka, however, there is nothing much Christians can teach us, other than to give Buddhists another perspective of Buddhism via Christianity.

  • 5

    Whole thing sounds like Hogwarts.

    Whenever an institution tries to be outstanding in the midst of the true nature of the masses, the potential for bewilderment and perturbation becomes too rampant.

    Christian parochial schools have to be under the auspices of the religion of the masses- Buddhism. Sinhala Buddhists needs to be part of the administrative team (preferably Buddhist priests).

    Otherwise, the whole set of schools will be at the mercy of notions too foreign for the average Lankan mindset, and a threat towards the normalcy of the Island.

    A Buddhist priest will be able to guide the body in the lost opportunities for healing the Motherland. A Buddhist priest will be able to guide the curriculum in what is best for the Buddhist tropical Island’s sustenance.

    Otherwise, such parochial institutions will be struggling to follow outdated colonial foundations, and become too delusional. This culture will proliferate the rest country (already happened), and the country will lose its team spirit and bonding, in trying to keep up with the irrelevancy.

    • 6

      Ramona Fernando

      I wish there is a nice way I could phrase to ask you to fly a kite, but I cannot be bothered.

      Buddhist priest? You mean of the variety who rapes young girls (and boys) when they come seeking help in order to release their pent up monastic frustrations, much like those Catholic priests?

      Mother Theresa? You mean the Albanian dwarf who claimed that the biggest evil on the planet was abortion (while living in a country that was sorely overpopulated) and did nothing for the empowerment of women? Who accepted money and then an award from the Duvalier family of Haiti who had plundered that entire country’s wealth leaving it the shell that it is today? Who accepted money from Charles Keating whilst the Lincoln Savings and Loan scandal wiped out the wealth of thousands? I gather from other posts that you live in America, so what would you care anyway?

      We don’t need priests – Buddhist, Hindu, Christian or Islamic- having anything to do with education in the 21st century. This is an age of science and reason, and the sooner we strip out this religious crap the sooner we can develop as a country.

      • 4


        Why, I on the other hand, welcome your comments. Then I can give you a different view on things.

        Priests of that nature that you speak of, are 0.1%.

        Mother Theresa of Calcutta did what she could, the only way she knew it. She couldn’t be everything at once.

        India is not overpopulated. Poor people are forced into certain areas due to lack of initiative by India to look after its poor people, using caste system as an escapism……actually using it in gross contemptuousness. Using abortion to justify society’s ills is an aberration to humanity! It is indeed a sorrowful thing.

        Empowerment of women was left to those who followed her. She couldn’t have done everything in one lifespan. She has either been reborn to continue on her noble deeds, or is in heaven facilitating the good deeds she started, from a higher vantage point.

        As a poor and hardworking nun, she wouldn’t have had time to understand the acceptance of money, but left it to her superiors to give her the go-ahead. Anyway, at that time, it was unclear whether the Duvaliers were plunderers, and if it was yet known at the time, there was still some hope that they would have used the country’s wealth to turn things around. Same with the Charles Keating time.

        Science and reason are fine, but there is a 4th dimensions of awareness that cannot be overlooked. That is why even Putin is a Russian Orthodox Christian, and Fidel Castro is a Catholic. And in Sri Lanka, the 4th Dimension is Buddhism, with other complementary religions!

        • 3

          Oi Ramona

          I resolved sometime ago to ignore/be entertained by the tosh you spew. However, I cannot let your ‘India is not overpopulated. Poor people are forced into…’ pass.

          You’re damn right, India is not overpopulated. It is however a fact that there are only about 796,000 toilets to serve the 1.4 billion mass. That is 1758 Indians to EACH toilet. Phew! What a stink. Paradoxical how anyone could procreate under those conditions.

      • 2

        Couldn’t agree with you more. These charlatans have got away with doing human kind real damage thanks to a bunch of ill-considered cheap publicity and the quicker they and their reputations are dispensed with, the better.
        As for Ramona Therese Fernando………………….what on earth can one say about one who, at best, can be considered devoid of anything resembling sanity

        • 4

          Well, you weren’t brave enough to secure your colonial authority vis-a-vis Buddhist rights, but when the Catholic saint was mentioned you took your chance…..

          • 6

            Well you weren’t brave enough to give up a cushy life of servility in America and come to Sri Lanka and put your money where your mouth is, but when an internet forum comes up you have a thousand (pointless) things to say.

            • 2

              Average Joe life and egalitarianism for me here in America. But tough life and servility will probably happen if I came back to Sri Lanka with exclusive school cliques holding the strings (monetary included) and refusing to let go to the masses.

              • 2

                You forget that 95 percent of the country’s businessmen and politicians are not from the ‘elite’ schools you mention. What have any of them ever done for the country? The masses don’t care about anything but themselves- you have never worked with or for the masses in Sri Lanka, so please dont make assumptions- the world is not Thomas More’s Utopia.

                • 2

                  We are talking about the 1-5% of the businessmen who screw the whole system……..and they are certainly from the Elite schools…..most of the Political Elite have also schooled at these places. We are not talking about the small time politician who walks the streets canvessing, or the small time businesman running local shops. Any money they handle or even mishandle, stay in the country. But for the Elite, it’s about offshore accounts, and sending children to the West to study. Hence the masses suffer in the ME, and their hard earned money, which comprise of 49% of GDP continually gets degraded due to Elite policies in business and/political arena.

  • 5

    Whatever you may say about STC the Royalists and Thomians have a bond which cannot be extinguished even though they are arch rivals.Their rivalry is of a friendly nature having a jibe at each other but if any of these two hallowed institutions come under attack the Royalists and Thomians combine together to defend them.
    My hats off to Rev Marc Billimoria the Warden of St Thomas when he resigned from the post of Vice president of the SLRFU schhols Rugby section for reasons that the Thomians protest on using the Royal Sports Complex for a semi final match was turned down by the SLRFU while a similar protest by Isipathana was consented.
    That shows he was a man of principle. Also he would have inherited that from his late Dad Nigel Billimoria my class mate at Royal. Another instance of the digs that old boys of the schools have at each other in good spirit

  • 2


    My guess is that Ramona Theresa Fernando is from a Tamil Hindu family converted to Christianity owing to caste discrimination and moved from south India to a costal area in Ceylon , then dropped speaking Tamil language and racial identity and became Sinhalese. After a while dropped Christianity and became a Buddhist. Converts are always become fanatics whichever religion they belongs to. Am I correct ?

    • 3

      Not at all.

  • 5

    Dear “An Prepite”, the tragic little figure of your son is ever before me, and with the comments stopped at eighteen, it seems obvious to me that you are waiting for a report on how things went. “Not badly,” I’d say, but as Plato, Motta Sima, Bagehot, Wild Buffalo, Pushpan, Thalassa, Emil, and Dayanath well know (although I don’t know the identity of any, save what EvdP has revealed to us of himself), it can never be easy to defeat the Pharisees. By the way, Plato, thanks for all that etymology!

    The first hour of the meeting (before an exceptional turnout, doubling the usual sixty) seemed to go according to Balraj’s plan, although I quietly suggested two additions to the Minutes to show that I had foreshadowed, on August 15th, 2015, some of the events that have followed the Ides of March. I badly failed to bring up the “Bi-lingual Education” mess up soon after the Headmaster’s report; when I took it up an hour later, under “Any Other Business” it was out of place.

    The fun began when a new EXCO had to be elected. You’ll have to take a quick look at the absurd Section 5 vi of http://stcboba.org/oba/constitution.php . That is made all the more absurd by Note 3 on the Nomination Form: “At least two (02) of the three (03) members involved in the nomination process should be present on the day of the AGM and if the Nominee is not present at the AGM a letter of excuse should be presented by the Proposer. Failure to comply will result in automatic disqualification of the nominee from the election process.”

    Only two (out of thirty) positions had been nominated for: Panini Edirisinhe as Vice-President, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhika_Kurukularatne as Committee Member in the over 60 group. Buddhika had sent a letter of excuse (instead of travelling up 3rd Class by train, as he usually does), and we hope that he defies his own prognostications and survives the year. Since at least the turn of the millennium this self-termed “Manda-Buddhikaya” (who has been using his one year each in Bandarawela and Gurutalawa to regale the country with yarns about my father and Dr Hayman) has enjoyed witnessing our shock at seeing him swallow fifteen tablets each with breakfast and supper.

    The Pharisee actually tried to disqualify me! My proposer, the honest (sic) lawyer, the ever-faithful Tissa Liyanage was there by my side after it had been possible for us to find his membership number two months ago. Actually, he was one of the heroes of the day! Spoke up, unlike others. But my seconder was the bulky (well, that would have been labelled an example of litotes by Oliver de Soysa, my English teacher at Gurutalawa) Theekshana. He was nowhere to be seen in the hall (explained later), and Balraj actually said that I was therefore disqualified. However, young Farook butted in, and nobody dared defy him!

    The day really belonged to A.F.M. Farook. They tried to get him to be Secretary (after a two year break). Farook knows what to say, when to say it, and how to say it – unlike yours truly. After he had demolished the ex-officio President, the Headmaster read out a prepared defence of himself (the printed minutes had already been scathing about him). I fear that the guy has a thicker hide than I had imagined. Well, the upshot was an attempt to elect a few members today – I think that we’ve ended with only about half a dozen, instead of thirty. The new Secretary is Preethi Wanasinghe, B.Sc.(Eng) 1st Class Hons , M.Sc.(Eng, Japan), MBA (Merit), FP(Harvard), Ph.D. (Calgary, Canada), Six Sigma Master Black Belt (Motorola University, USA).

    Under “Any Other Business” I startled all with a trilingual greeting and said that we should welcome the use of Sinhala and Tamil. I countered the protests by stating that although everybody present could use English, many never took on OBA membership because of the Kaduwa factor. I took up the fact that I was denied access to the school to find out, for Third Party Validation of the World Bank loan for Bilingual Education, how the programme was faring, and asked what the school was trying to hide. I should have taken up the matter much earlier – leaving this slot for the Staff Representative Cheating. That, he ruled could not be discussed at this forum. I roared out that he was a cheat – but we still have much to do, I fear.

    Lunch followed, and everybody snoozed after that; they must all be in the Bandarawela Hotel now (the Bishop won’t allow the dinner in the school because he says that a government regulation doesn’t allow liquor in a school). I’m seriously considering asking Chief Justice Shripavan to rule that Holy Communion Services be banned in all our college chapels. However, I got excused from the tamasha on the grounds that my presence depended on the band learning to play Mozart for me!

    So, dear “An Prepite”, that’s how it went.

    I had imagined that I would meet the admirable Nalindra, but he didn’t emerge. I’ve just been looking at some past comments and realise that I was unnecessarily harsh on “Kargi”. He obviously knows much – and we need all help possible to either reform or get rid of the Pharisee here. Also, we need the Alahakoons, and the Sylvia Haiks, and the Dr Rajasingham Narendrans, and the Izeth Hussains; this school now – yours next.

    Also, Peace Lover, Nathan, and Old Codger Redux: don’t you think that you should give up sulking because I cannot be your clone? You really have to accept other human beings (warts and all) as necessarily rather different from you, but being able to contribute their mite. That, I’m convinced, I’m doing. Dalit and Kumaran – no hope there: whatever the subject they will go on saying their own thing.
    What can one say of RTF, the “sophistical rhetorician, inebriated with the exuberance of her own verbosity, and gifted with an egotistical imagination that can at all times command an interminable and inconsistent series of arguments to malign an opponent and to glorify herself.” What will “the 4th Dimension in Sri Lanka” say of Harry Potter and Hogwarts, I wonder? Thanks for the comic relief. Why not, RTF, actually visit our “Land like no Other”?

    • 4

      Sinhala Man Panini Edirisinghe,

      While appreciating your good work that we are applauding from afar and circulating to our friends, I have one question that stands out for the members of the Bandarawela School (with which I am the least familiar): Who is this new secretary, Preethi Wanasinghe, B.Sc.(Eng) 1st Class Hons , M.Sc.(Eng, Japan), MBA (Merit), FP(Harvard), Ph.D. (Calgary, Canada), Six Sigma Master Black Belt (Motorola University, USA)? Is he another of the Headmaster’s catchers? I have seen him commenting on your articles before, and the only thing he appears to be interested in is flaunting his list of ‘qualifications’. I work in academia and interact regularly with people far more qualified than him, from far more prestigious institutions. Never have I seen a positive correlation with the desire to flaunt one’s qualifications and the level of intellect/integrity in the individual.

      Next, utilizing my access to academic databases in my academic institution in the USA, I looked up this chap Preethi Wanasinghe, B.Sc.(Eng) 1st Class Hons , M.Sc.(Eng, Japan), MBA (Merit), FP(Harvard), Ph.D. (Calgary, Canada), Six Sigma Master Black Belt (Motorola University, USA). I cannot find a single peer-reviewed journal article or publication (not even a PhD thesis) done by the chap.Not unsurprising, as I have met others of his ilk and urge and usually find the same result.

      So, my question is, who is this new secretary, The new Secretary is Preethi Wanasinghe, B.Sc.(Eng) 1st Class Hons , M.Sc.(Eng, Japan), MBA (Merit), FP(Harvard), Ph.D. (Calgary, Canada), Six Sigma Master Black Belt (Motorola University, USA)? Is he for real? Or another Doctor Mervyn Silva?

      You may choose to respond to this, or leave it as rhetorical – your choice.

      • 2

        Dear Old Codger Redux,

        Good to hear from you again. I met Preethi for the first time on Saturday, so he is a real living human being. Those who had been his class-mates vouch for the fact that he was given two double promotions. More than that, I don’t have personal knowledge.

        For three years now he’s had long phone chats with me; some of them lasting more than an hour. After the AGM strange things had happened at the Bandarawela Hotel (I was at home listening to Mozart), and after that he had said that he was resigning as Secretary. There’s a lot about this on many Facebook sites which are operated by Old Boys of STC, Bandarawela. I think that you’ll be able to access them.

        Yesterday, he suddenly called me and wanted Buddhika Kurukularatne’s phone numbers, because he says he’s still got responsibilities as Secretary, and Buddhika and I were the only two EXCO members properly elected.

        By any standards, Preethi is a remarkable man. For more details of what is happening, I suggest that you call me. By now you must have found my phone number.

        By the way, you must not insult Dr Mervyn Silva. He really has a PhD purchased from the Open International University founded by Lord Pandit Dr Sir Anton Jayasuriya: fuller details here:


        As far as I’m concerned I’m treating Preethi as a most intersting guy whom I have nothing against.

  • 1


    Sad that you are bitter. But Sri Lanka has to move away from exclusive cliques, especially in the education setting. It is undemocratic and embarrassing. Education has to be inclusive, egalitarian, country-wide, and a constantly evolving process. Last thing that is needed is an OBA holding onto outdated thinking modes, and resenting new waves of change. What looks like interference in your matters, is the rest of Sri Lankan society needing to merge or remove your exclusivity for the better functioning of Lankan society.

    • 4

      RTF, have you never been given a course in close reading? I do NOT represent “exclusivity”; I’m trying to usher change in to the school that is physically closest to me.

      However, standards have to be maintained; within the school system, I want levelling up, not levelling down! I don’t think that you know what you want!

      The reality is that this school is at around number 4 in the town, now. I know that the Old Boys have all sorts of ridiculous notions about the importance of this school. If you continue to write without committing yourself to living here, all that you will achieve is being the number 1 purveyor of comic entertainment for us.

      • 2

        Donno Edrisinghe……but to influence and make changes with dignity, one has to first develop mindfulness, be adaptable, and not end every piece of argument with jibes and taunts. In my case, it’s not my fault that I am not in my motherland. But from here, I certainly can see things from a wider vantage point.

      • 3

        PE, I only replied because you asked me to, in your comments in other articles.

        You probably want the best for the schools, but these are wild times. May your efforts be met with success.

        Previous sheltered Christian schools are probably not quite so exclusive anymore. Elite (from all races and all parts of the country, and especially those physically closest to the school-the wealthiest unfortunately), prefer the International schools, so their children can study further in the West (quite a drain on country money). Therefore funding must be a severe problem for St. Thomases, to keep up to the previous standards.

        Guess St. Thomas’ schools have to be partly nationalized. You’d find the same colonial standard being reduced somewhat, but at least St. Thomases will be teaching Lankan children the value of remaining with dignity in their own homeland, very much like the way you did.

        • 3

          pretty good pints that you have put forth though I wont agree with all of it Ramona ,however you say “teaching Lankan children the value of remaining with dignity in their own homeland” which is hypocritical as you yourself is living the so called evil west and talking bull!

          • 4

            RTF also seems to think that everyone who goes and studies abroad automatically remains abroad. What a fallacy! The corporate sector is full of people who study abroad (even the public sector has many). The reason people go abroad is because they see the local offering for what it is -outdated and full of crap. Unlike RTF though, they come back to help their country, or help it in other ways from outside without just talking BS on an online forum.

            • 0

              If the corporate sector, put their money into the local economy, instead of taking it out of Sri Lanka to study, Sri Lanka would be thriving.

              Instead they took out US$50,000- $100,000 per student (averaging RS 7.5 million), and built up Sri Lanka with foreign concepts, that put the masses at an even greater handicap.

              • 3

                Given that most corporates are not bankrupt, it’s safe to assume they made the country a whole lot more money than they took out. Do you not understand basic economics? Or is everything anyone does in Sri Lanka wrong unless it meets your approval that nobody cares about?

                • 0

                  yeah….with the foreign concepts, they certainly knew how to exploit the masses further.

            • 3

              An i’m proud to be one of them who returned after a post graduate degree in business mamnagment

              • 0

                guess some of you foreign degree holders did bring back some expertise to the Motherland…..can’t be that isolationist either.

          • 0

            Not my fault! Left when I was very young and always held back by commitments to family.

        • 4

          Thanks, RTF.

          You have correctly identified some of the major dilemmas facing us. There now are only 24,000 Anglicans in the entire country, and it is only by enrolling others (a vast majority in the Uva schools are now Buddhists) that these schools can be kept going.

          Yes, a considerable segment of them seek admission (still made seemingly a bit difficult in the case of Bandarawela) because they are considered prestigious. That could also be the reason for attracting some staff. We could nevertheless impart quality education if only the Establishment allowed it. But when you have this level of dishonesty, all inspiration goes.

          You are right about “International Schools”, draining of the country’s resources for foreign education etc, but with improved administration these schools could hold their own. The details you can know only if you actually live here. I feel you understand the paradoxes inherent in what you say. Good. Wish you well!

  • 6

    Thanks Panini.

    Dr.Keble is staring at you! Perhaps he has spotted a rebel; A rebel with a cause though!

  • 5

    Fascinating stuff!

    I have followed these chronicles with, I suppose, a sort of unbecoming curiosity. The stark truth is that the ‘Public schools’ of now, are hardly those of yore that we knew and admired. The gradual eroding of ethos and standards, coupled with the changing pupil background, has diluted and diminished the resultant output. Parents with money AND sense will now send their children to some of the (admittedly newer) ‘International’ schools that will deliver an altogether better product. The really smartest will, of course, send their children to an overseas school, over the sea.

    Preferably not one plagued with squabbling old pupils.

  • 0

    Ha.. Ha.. Ha…

    I just got to know about the Bandarawela AGM.

    Didn’t I tell you people that nothing is going to change just because a few of you scream. Those on the board are cozily settled and now have jumped the last hurdle at the Bandarawela AGM.

    The headmaster has been sufficiently coached and converted to take a tough stance,under any circumstances. I hear he generally is a soft man. Now you people should understand how powerful these folks are…

    Unless, you people can create huge support for your cause, as I have been always saying nothing is going to change.

    In any case, I am saddened when I was told that the Headmaster chose to dismiss a committee of energetic and enthusiastic gentlemen and replace it with some lunatics including the author of this article.

    Good luck to the Headmaster and the school in Bandarawela.

  • 0


    I thought you said that the manipulators will see stars after the AGM at Bandarawela. Who actually saw stars?????

    • 4


      ‘Who actually saw stars????’

      I hear it was Balraj’s catcher ‘secretary’ and one of his other thieves who actually saw stars when one of their drink-sodden classmates slapped them during the dinner afterwards for having disgraced the school through their filthy cheating. The new secretary didn’t ‘resign’, he was chased out. Someone can confirm this independently.

  • 4

    I am no Thomian or Anglican, and I fear I am putting my foot where no angel dares, due to Mr.Edirisinhe’s efforts to keep this seemingly parochial issue alive.
    At the heart of the matter, I believe, is the Anglican Church and its relevance in this country. It is a fascinating creature, this Church. It had its glory days as the favoured religion during British rule but now struggles to find its role. It doen’t preach fire-and-brimstone,(practically anything goes) and therefore it loses its adherents to the more colourful Catholic Church or the all-singing and-dancing evangelicals. It never was able to mark out any territories for itself, unlike the Catholics with Negombo, Madhu, etc.
    What is left are the schools, which were set up to groom the sons of the elites, and the peculiar way Anglican Sinhalese spell their names (Edirisinhe /Abeynaike/Wijenaike/Wijesinha) Therefore there still is some cachet attached to them, though some of their recent products like Sarath.N.Silva (Trinity) and the Rajapaksa sons (S. Thomas’) could give any goday ischool dropout a run for his money.As somebody mentioned, even SWRD was a Thomian.
    However, I think it would be a pity if these places took to Buddhism.That would make them only as good as you-know-which school.
    Stop squabbling and do your job, please.

  • 3


    “Stop squabbling and do your job, please.”

    As old codger has said quite rightly said stop squabbling and do your job please.

    Though a huge hue and cry was created since the BOG elections all have faded out now. The AGM at the prep school, though was disappointing to many, proved how things are done and how unfairness can be maintained if people are willing to be unfair.

    There was some hope from the Bandarawela school AGM, but, what happened? The mighty won the day and nobody could do anything.

    The fact now is the whole world knows that there were manipulations and those white robed men do cheat and lie, and they are also capable of putting down any resentment. How many are prepared to fight it out? May be a few, but is it enough to make changes?

    This is the way the world goes. The Bandarawela school is headed by a CHEAT and a LIAR. The entire school, parents, town community and the church community knows it well, but is this man ashamed of it? NO. He now is a shameless man in robes. But what can anybody do? He knows that and he doesn’t care. Only thing is that he now has to live a life of mistrust and by the looks of it he is prepared for that.

    So, the best is to do our jobs, as old codger has suggested but knowing very well that the Anglican Clergy from the Bishop downwards are rogues and shameless folks not worthy of serving the community.

    • 3

      Dear Kargi,

      Thanks for an extremely honest answer, but I disagree with you on some details. Also, I sometimes fear that what I’m doing may result in the baby being thrown out with the bath water. Yes, at the end of the day there are some things that are good about these schools – but I think that the Establishment is trying to blackmail us by playing on that fear that I have.

      Because irresponsible nastiness on my part could produce undesirable results, I want to avoid creating scenes. But I will quietly start calling the man Christopher – the name he was given, and so no insult. Yes, he is a liar and a cheat; I hope that my faults are rather more venial. Three years ago I didn’t know who the guy was; I have, since then, had a few relaxed private chats with him. He’s not ALL bad and evil. His conscience must be troubling him. Also, he’s pretty intelligent. On Good Friday 2016, he had held a Mirihana congregation spellbound for three hours. Before that, on January 1st 2016, he had impressed in the Maharagama Church. I was in Bandrawela, and, without any prompting he sent me this text message: “Good wishes to you for the New Year. God bless you. Unfortunately missed you at Maharagama in the newest church of our Diocese.” In the midst of all this present trouble, there had been a “Priests’ Conference” – about six weeks ago. The brilliance of his Bible Study had been commented on by the sophisticated intellectual, retired bishop Duleep de Chickera. My point is that he’s intelligent enough to know that a “life of mistrust” is NOT going to be fun. My personal feeling is that 80% of guys who have been clergy for more than 20 years have by then realised that much of what they’re talking is rubbish, but by then its too late for them to change their jobs.

      Kargi, I now see you as a good man, but too much a pessimist! Some laudable reform movements have succeeded. At this moment, I feel like taking the risks that are necessary: I’m old, and I have no job to do!

      Actually, “old codger” has found a way of sending me a message in which he says: “I am not accusing you in particular of squabbling, but current OBU members in general.” So you see, the guys who have been talking don’t really hate each other. However, there are some devillish people mixed up in all this who are keeping quiet for now. I really mean that!

      Most emphatically Christopher did NOT “win the day”. Please contrast with “An Prepite’s” account of the Kollupitiya AGM. My fear is that I may have bitten off more than I can chew, and that we may ruin what is valuable in the school.

      Kargi, my debate has focussed NOT on the trivial legal objections to the election of the OBA member, but on the outrageous cheating in relation to the Staff Representative. I just can’t work with people who are intellectually lazy. I offended one fellow a couple of hours ago when I told him that I couldn’t spoon-feed him! Can’t guys take a look at the “Rules of the Board of Governors” at the very least? I actually provided links to it in the bodies of my first two articles. If the Headmaster is the President of the OBA, he has to send the Senior Vice-President to be a member of the electoral college. Why? Because the Headmaster is only an employee. The BoG has to be ABOVE him in terms of administration, although we’ve often had Heads of schools who have been better regarded than certain members of the Board.

      Here’s something for you to confront the Bishop with. More than four years ago, he told me that it was very difficult to run the schools with Board Members getting selected by Headmasters. Yes, he actually said that!

      Let me explain that (and you will find it CONSISTENT with what I have written in my earlier articles). In 2012 also I put myself forward as a candidate for Staff Rep – against Merill Aluwihare who was then proud of having kept me out of S. Thomas’ for 25 years. Yes, many had wanted me to head one of the four schools (there was a realistic offer of each of the four at different times). I’m waiting for the scoffers to say that such an appointment would have been a disaster! Possible! My ego is not so big that I can’t accept that possibility. Many Board members knew that I was one of the few who had the “qualifications” – that needs luck more than ability – with Anglican antecedents being a sine qua non. Being an Old Boy helps, and the Education Department insists on a “University degree”, plus ten years’ teaching experience. It was only at Bandarawela that some well-meaning Old Boys proposed at the AGM in 1995 (the minutes are there to prove all this), that I be employed as an assistant teacher of English Literature. The Headmaster, Herathge knew the danger posed by the proposal and said that I was “over-qualified”. He actually said exactly that, but the Minutes have recorded slightly different words. Anyway, a few months of rancour later (our families were supposedly great friends), he frankly confessed that the reality was that no Head of an Anglican school would want a “Christian Graduate” on the staff. The Head would not then be indispensable. Elementary, isn’t it? I’ve not stressed this point much because I have FORGIVEN Aluwihare. I think that Merill Aluwihare is one of those Anglicans to whom it is unthinkable that his child should marry outside the fold, etc. There ARE quite a few such people. I’ve heard many a criticism of Chickera, 14th Bishop of Colombo – ON THOSE GROUNDS. I have criticised Chickera – but NEVER on such grounds. The 12th Bishop, Jabez Gnanapragasam, was the first who actually interviewed me (with Merill vetoing me). I sought an interview with the saintly Bishop Jabez; among other things, he told me that he knew of the “empire-building propensities of Headmasters”.

      Yes, I have known all Bishops, since the 8th – who confirmed me!

      Now, to get back to Dhilo’s difficulties in running the schools. On appointment he actually has told many of us that he knew he could handle the parishes; the schools were the problem. Dhilo’s dislike of L.A.M. Chandrasekera was well known – and the latter expected his throwing out to be the first act of the new episcopacy. But what happened? After L.A.M.C. was diagnosed with cancer (“sin, no”?) he was given 5 million rupees as gratuity. Dhilo’s money? No, money wrung from the hands of parents.

      Be that as it may, Dhilo disliked Chandrasekera. The latter and Cassie Chetty conspired to elect Merill – who is a pretty independent sort of guy whom Dhilo had problems with. Merill was actually suspended from the Board for a few months (by the way, not one of these strange statements that I make has been challenged – because they happen to be correct.) Ah, but Crishmal Warnasuriya pointed out “misrepresentations” by me. Yes! I immediately checked – and apologised. It’s there for you to see – 8th comment on the 13th of April 2016.

      And so, when Acting Headmaster, Ven. Philip Nesakumar docked Mrs Jennifer Chandrasekera’s salary for arriving late in school, and Merill came to her defence (I’ve not told Merill that I think that was not his business – and I hope he doesn’t read all this stuff – what’s the point?) Dhilo said this to ME!! If some mischief-maker conveys this to Merill, I just don’t care. Why? I think that NOW Merill and I understand each other. Actually, if you look back at all the earlier stuff, you’ll find that “Old Codger Redux” (whose identity I still don’t know) has been a sworn enemy of Merill. So WAS I!

      Merill made peace with me, by just saying that he didn’t understand me, but may God bless me! After years of feuding. But each of us is sincere – that’s how reconcilliation was possible. And reconcilliation is what we need in this country, between Sinhalese and Tamils, between Headmasters and Old Boys. But I’m not having any of it until I become convinced that there has been a genuine change of heart.

      What would the minimum requirement be for me to accept Christopher Balraj’s “change of heart”? I don’t know! For such things there are no formulae. I know that this comment has rambled, but I hope you see its purpose.

  • 1


    “Here’s something for you to confront the Bishop with. More than four years ago, he told me that it was very difficult to run the schools with Board Members getting selected by Headmasters. Yes, he actually said that!”

    If this is what the Bishop said more than four years ago, then why is he still allowing the Headmasters to manipulate to select the Board Members? If I am correct it is this same Bishop who was there when the manipulated elections took place in 2012 as well.

    To me, the biggest cheat and the liar in this whole drama is the Bishop himself. Quite a lot are of the opinion that the manipulations happened this time according to the needs of the Bishop himself. Why are they so scarred of straight forward people such as Chrismal Warnasuriya and Christopher Gonawela getting onto the BOG? What are they trying to hide from the society?

    It is common knowledge that the Anglican Church is one of the most corrupted compared to all other religious institutions in Sri Lanka but is it right for them to indulge in corrupt practices at the cost of thousands and thousands of students.

    When will we see an end to these disgusting actions?

    Panini, do you have any clear answers to these?

  • 2

    Yes, it is the same Bishop.

    How can I explain his inconsistencies? Ask him when he returns from Australia on the 8th of September.

    I wonder if you have seen the texts of the e-mails that I posted as a comment to my second article, the Whited Thomian Sepulchres . . .” As you will there discover, I’ve been trying to meet him, but he keeps telling me that he has no time. And why he seems to go abroad so often (at whose expense?), I don’t know either.

    Why don’t you try to meet him, and ask him whether there is any truth in these things that I have said? If you really intend following up, let me know, I will let you have his Office and Mobile telephone numbers, and may be even his official and personal e-mail addresses. I have put my contact details in many places, while challenging Viraj Kariawasam, for instance. Give me a missed call and I will respond.

    To provide you with what I know of this man: I think that you can start here:


    Those details seem to be correct. He was Parish Priest in Bandarawela for about four years around 1988 to 1993. I was in Oman and in the Maldives during most of that period, but I knew him reasonably well. I discovered that I had known his wife’s parents quite well – they had been in Bandarawela as Methodist priest and as conscientious village English teacher respectively in the early 1970s.

    I am officially an Anglican, but not a very regular church goer. Although I have learnt about other religions, I have never participated in any non-Christian religious practices. The current Board Member, on the other hand, was a Church Warden, and was regarded as the “deveni mahaththaya” in the Anglican school. My mother had, by this time, returned after ten years in Sydney, Australia, where one of my sisters lives. She was a very religious woman. Dhilo himself was the Acting Headmaster of the school for some time, after Mr Benjamin Welikala had run away from the school; it may have been after hearing that the Gurutalawa Headmaster and his wife were shot dead during the “JVP troubles”. Dhilo would have lived at this time in the very large old vicarage in the church premises.

    By the time Dhilo returned in 1997, I was once more working for the Ministry of Education, first as a teacher in the local Maha Vidyalaya, and later in various Education Offices. As Archdeacon for Nuwara Eliya, Dhilo lived in Bandarawela. Nothing wrong with that; he had to cover places as far apart as Talawakele and Batticaloa. An Archdeacon’s Palace and office were built on Kahaththewela Road, off Welimada Road, Bandarawela. He bought the adjoining land and he has constructed a solid three storey house on it. I consider that an eminently practical solution to the need for a home to retire to. Dhilo’s wife, Harshini, was a senior officer in the Hatton National Bank, Bandarawela, but she has now retired. I got to know them better during this period. In 2007, my Belgian neighbour and I “rescued” the Gurutalawa school, which then had only 164 students, and was going to be sold. Dhilo had little to do with that school although it was situated in the area covered by him. It is well known that Dhilo and then Bishop Duleep de Chickera, Chairman of the BoG, did not see eye to eye.

    There has never been any suggestion that either Dhilo or Duleep was dishonest with money. The other Anglican Bishop in Sri Lanka, however was utterly corrupt. Please see:


    Within that there is a link to:

    Bishop of Kurunegala resigns – statement from Lambeth Palace

    Tuesday 6th January 2015
    Statement from Lambeth Palace regarding the resignation of the Bishop of Kurunegala.

    “The visit by Bishop Shantha to Canterbury last week was to consider with him the various options for dealing with his position as a bishop who had voluntarily stood down following numerous complaints that he brought his Church and ministry into disrepute. A particular cause of concern was his involvement in unresolved criminal proceedings relating to misappropriated pension funds. Members of his own Diocesan Standing Committee had requested that he should resign, and he agreed to do so.

    “Any suggestion that the Church of Ceylon or Archbishop of Canterbury is seeking to influence the outcome of the forthcoming presidential election is categorically untrue.”

    Shantha Francis drew his mother-in-law’s pension for five years after she died, using forged papers. Neither of the Colombo Bishops has ever done something like that! Duleep is a highly sophisticated liberal intellectual, and a keen student of politics. We owe him a lot for the bold stands he took on ethnic affairs.

    Bishop Dhilo is a good preacher, but a simpler man – an evangelist. The Anglican Church today is very different from the Anglo-Catholic High Church that I knew as a school boy at Gurutalawa. The chaplain, Canon Arthur John Foster was a most erudite and cultured Englishman. Many Christians of all sorts are surprised when I tell them that we had to go for confession once a term to Father Foster. He knew Greek, and he imbued us with a love for the music of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. In the chapel we used the old Anglican ritual, and the 1549 Book of Common Prayer as well as the 1611 Authorised Version of the Bible. However, by 1963 or so, Fr Foster got quite enthusiastic about the New Testament of the New English Bible which had just come out. A mistake, I feel! It is so pedestrian and prosaic; it can hardly inspire.

    Today, you will not hear such music or sonorous English in the Church; there are lots of popular anthems and choruses; Sinhala and Tamil are widely used. I think that is necessary, given that few can understand Early Modern English – which they refer to as Old English. There is very little scholarship; lots of assertions! The greatest problem is that we, who were brought up to believe in “free will”, are given huge doses of “pre-determination”. The Anglican Church by now is convinced that fellows like me are headed for Hell, while the other 24,000 Anglicans try to convince themselves that there is a place reserved for them in Heaven. The only real difference from the Islamists appears to be that the latter expect 64 virgins to be provided whereas the “Christians” only think of the Streets of Heaven as being paved with Gold.

    I’m sorry; I don’t know how to reason with such people!

    Anyway, for the sake of the children in the Anglican schools, I met Dhilo many times during his last days in Bandarawela, and then attended his enthronement as Bishop. I told him as much as I could about the Anglican schools, and especially how they were controlled by mafias. The cheating at Elections for Branch School BoG representatives was a subject that I knew very well, and I gave him 25 very readable but disgusting pages of 1983 writing on the subject by one time sub-warden, Dr Rajiva Wijesinha. I have given it to many whose e-mail addresses I have, but it isn’t available on the Internet. Dhilo and Rajiva are thick pals now, and the former has put the latter on the BoG of Trinity College, Kandy.

    Thereafter, I attended the opening of Dhilo’s first Diocesan Council as “an observer” to see what message he had for the schools. Shortly thereafter, I attended the consecration of Ven. Philip Nesakumar as the new Archdeacon for Nuwara Eliya, and got to know him quite well before the Bandarawela Headmaster, Mr L.A.M. Chandrasekera fell sick. I had known Mr Chandrasekera for a long time, and his wife had taught my daughter Tamil at Gurutalawa. The thing that disgusted me most about that pair was the fact that in the Bandarawela school Mrs Jennifer Chandrasekera pretended that she knew no Tamil. I told this to Dhilo, and he said that he knew that to be the case.

    Before somebody else tells you that I’m a frustrated person let me tell you this: in the year 2000 there were three people seriously in the running to be appointed Headmasters of the two schools at Gurutalawa and Bandarawela. I was one of them, and when asked which school I would prefer, I unhesitatingly plumped for Gurutalawa because the current BoG member’s influence at Bandrawela was still strong. This is a subject that I don’t wish to discuss.

    However, at the second interview, Merill Aluwihare (today my good friend), accused me of being an atheist. Chandrasekera was asked by another Board Member, Ven. Chrishantha Mendis, then Archdeacon for Colombo, whether he had been confirmed. He had to say no. He was hurriedly confirmed and appointed to Bandarawela, but I still had nothing against him. He had been baptised before he married Jennifer Lawrence, a fellow teacher at Gurutalawa. Chickera looked hard at me at Chandrasekera’s installation, and asked who I was. When told, he said, “How nice of you to have come for this event”.

    As for Gurutalawa, go to:


    Please see if you can find 82 pages entitled,

    Men who touched our lives – A collection of snippets on STCG staff.

    There the ensuing period is described as follows:

    “13. MR.GEETHAL C. MENDIS (2001-2004)
    Mr Chandrasekera himself was transferred to St.Thomas’ Prep School, Bandarawela and Mr Geethal C.Mendis who had earlier taught at Gurutalawa for 7 years, starting from Mr Frank Jayasinghe’s time, and had moved to the Prep. School, Kollupitiya, and later been appointed Principal of the Deaf & Blind School Ratmalana, was appointed the new Headmaster, from September 2001, to face the early years of the new Millennium.

    With the change of Headmaster and of the Bishop, (Rt.Rev. Dulip de Chickera replacing Rt.Rev.Kenneth Fernando), the most significant development was the determination of the senior old boys to play a more proactive role in the management of the school. They have been fortunate that Mr Mendis has been most accommodative of this idea.

    {What is not stated is that there was a coup on the BoG; Clifford Ratwatte and BoG member, the late Upali Panditharatne were bundled out. A year ago, the brilliant and committed Bandu Wanigasekera told me that he couldn’t forgive Upali P. for having got “Disaster Mendis” appointed. Quite wrong: Upali wanted me! Upali went on to serve another term as Bandarawela nominee, and then died. It was this that led to the 2012 cheating – I’m sure that has got mentioned by now.}

    Battling the legacy of financial difficulties, the overall declining standards and the endemic indiscipline, he had been pragmatic to realize that the Old Boys Association had a positive role to play, not merely for much needed funds to rehabilitate the school buildings and infrastructure, which were in a sorry state of disrepair and neglect, but also to advise and assist and lend support in the management of the school. On the recommendation of a Report, commissioned by the OBA from a reputed firm of Chartered Accountants and Consultants, an Administrative Officer was appointed to assist the Headmaster. Also an old boy was appointed as the Farm Manager, and this stemmed the losses that were a drain on the limited resources of the College. The old boys also undertook various projects to rehabilitate the school buildings and infrastructure, particularly the staff quarters and one particular old boy restored the Senior Dormitories at a personal cost of over Rs.2 million. There is a perceptible improvement in the College at present and also hope for continued improvement, but there is always much to be done and a long way to go.”

    How then, was the school put up for sale in 2006? Neither my comprehensive article, nor my daughter’s better article, that appear in that “History” will ever be put on this website.

    From there those articles jump to Marc Billimoria. Mendis was a teacher when I was in my final year as a student, when I was the only boy in the senior dormitories not to join in a “serious breach of discipline” on the 22nd of February 1965. He still is “a nice guy” and he turned up for the Guru Day celebrations at Mt. Lavinia this year – just about two months ago. He was appointed, and he used to telephone me whenever he had to write a serious letter. I have not told this before, but how long can this nonsense go on? For hours and hours he used to read out letters for improvement. The last thing that these guys will do is concede that my Belgian Jewish neighbour and I saved the school, after taking over from Mr Gladwin Canagasabai in 2007. I have no idea why Canagasabai also is not eulogised. This is the practice. You get Headmasters in to these two branch schools, and have to pack them off after they have mysteriously managed to build themselves little palaces in their home towns. Then you praise them to the skies, while the neglected staff get more cynical by the day.

    By the time Marc was installed with great pomp and circumstance in May 2007, there were 550 students. He was not really suited for Gurutalawa, but is doing a good job at Mt Lavinia. I worked at Guru on a salary of less than Rs 20,000 per month for eighteen months. I’m tired now; make what you can of this history.

    • 2

      Very interesting. I should e-mail you some time. Or ask a person who has some information for you to e-mail you in my stead.

      In any case, do you assure confidentiality for such informers? Not even a bit of loose lip under the influence?

      Have you ever also considered writing a book about the schools you know much about?

  • 1


    Phew… That is a lot of stuff you’ve put on..

    As Bagehot has suggested above, why don’t you consider writing a book?

    Anyway where do we go from here is the question.

    You seem to suggest that that it was the Staff Rep election that was flawed and the OBA Rep election was only due to the carelessness of the OBAs. However quite a few people I spoke to, are quite furious with you for trying to undermine the serious flaw in the election of the OBA representative. In my view, the branch school OBAs have a clear cut case. Ideally, the person declared elected should prove that he is a gentleman by stepping down from his BOG position, but then again he too must be a character like your beloved brother, I mean greedy for positions and doesn’t give a damn about ethics.

    Their explanation was very clear as to why that election was the most flawed. It’s both illegal and unethical, I understand. Whereas the staff rep election is quite legal when compared with the Board rules but you seem to think otherwise.

    Can you clarify briefly as possible please. Try not to go offtrack coming out with your knowledge about history.

    • 1

      May I respond first to Bagehot? Although I’ve never been great at working things out secretively, I know how important it is that sources of information be kept confidential. And it is quite in order for you to request it; not everyone can afford to get embroiled in controversies as public as these have become. I’m a teetotaller, so you needn’t worry on that score. Nobody asked me to set things right in these schools, but now that I have taken such a task on, I know that I shouldn’t let down all who may have begun trusting me.

      Where do we go from here? Unclear still; Preethi is working as Secretary. He is his own man. What sort of guy? – read between the lines of my exchange of ideas with “old codger”.

      Kargi, about the elections: to a lawyer the “flaws” in the OBA Rep elections may seem serious, but all three schools wanted a Gurutalawa nominee. My knowledge of Prabath isn’t intimate, but apart from the sort of abstract reasoning you have outlined yourself, I have not heard anything adverse about Prabath – and do remember that I’m a guy who knows Gurutalawa well. In my view he is NOT seeking position. He is a good and successful engineer – let him contribute that expertise for the good of the four schools.

      “Ethical”? Ethics as a branch of Philosophy, I know something of, but Prabath won’t! And that’s precisely the sort of “offtrack” writing you don’t want from me.

      “Quite a few” furious with me? There are a couple of people – clever schemers they are – who will fault me, whatever I say. If I name them now, and speculate on their motives, I will make matters worse. I’m very sure now that you are sincere; phone me, please.

      “Carelessness” is the worst that can be said in relation to the flaws in the OBA elections. And Christopher Balraj was foolishly stubborn in not wanting to acknowledge his lapses.

      The Staff Rep Elections: My lawyer told me that the rules were so badly worded that there was no way a court could intervene. The rules were not made either by God, or by Parliament. Let’s get them changed. They can only be changed by the BoG, so let’s start. First get a sincere man on the Board. You can’t be sure about the sincerity of anybody, but if properly elected, at least he will be held accountable.

      Since the Rules are badly phrased, let’s apply common sense. Does the man covertly “elected” by two (out of three) Headmasters enjoy the support even of a sizable portion of the staff? I think not.

      Make no mistake: this “representing the staff” business isn’t going to be easy. All workers are conscious of rights, rarely of responsibilities. With teachers in Sri Lanka, it’s worse. Years of “so-called Socialism” will play havoc. Teacher calibre is low: it is a vicious circle. It is going to take years – we must start now, and I leave it to younger people to display results.

      “Phew” said you; – thanks for wading through all that! Write a book? – who will read it?

      • 3


        Thanks. There is a person who has wanted to get in touch with you. Will pass on their contact details, although they may take a few weeks to respond as I believe they work in a remote area.

        Wouldn’t mind reading such a book. History is important.

        I saw on the news recently a ‘viral’ clip of a schoolmaster who is teaching english in a rural school in Kurunegala through a 5.a.m. extra class. The children are all from low-income families, and parents are day-labourers. It had a clip of a debate between these students in English. I am amazed at the quality of their language, it is better than many of the teachers (even students!) I have met in the Thomian schools these days. With a little work on pronunciation, they will be excellent. Shows what a bit of perseverance can do? I’m sure you would agree: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSTh4Pefl8k

        My point is, perseverance is good. You have nothing to lose, no kids to put in school, no pension from the school to worry about. Others may not have this luxury, hence why they cannot openly support you. They can inform you, as some on this site have done. So hopefully you won’t give up the fight!

  • 0

    I really confused now.

    Which of these two election was actually flawed? Is it one, in that case, which one? or is it both?

    According to Panini, since all the three branch schools wanted the Gurutalawa nominee, then there’s nothing wrong with that election, even though the electoral college was improperly formed. He seems to justify the actions of the two headmasters at Colpetty and Bandarawela of not notifying the Ex-Co proper thus depriving the OBAs of their right to vote.

    Then what’s the the problem for the OBAs? Why are they making an issue? I understand that the Bandarawela OBA was able to get only about 5 nominated to the Ex-Co for the 30 odd positions. All those who had been in the earlier committee have flatly refused to serve in the new committee, I understand.

    Many old boys from both schools, I am touch with, argue very strongly that it was the OBA representative election that was flawed and not the Staff Representative election. They say that it is only the OBA representative that is illegal. If a re-election is to be held it should only be for the OBA representative.

    The staff representative election, when compared with the Board rules looks to be fully in conformity. Then what’s Panini’s problem? Why is he trying to make an unnecessary issue out of this?

    I would very much appreciate if some one could please clear this for me. Otherwise I see no point in showing any interest in this matter.

  • 2

    Dear Kargi, (This is from a Colombo bound bus)

    Never have I said that the OBA Rep Elections were without flaws, but I have said that the outcome was not affected. Your honest bewilderment makes me fear that a pretty long response dealing with motives (I wanted to avoid those) and events, which you may find tedious and the “majority” will find embarassing and thus provocative.

    The BoG is the apex of S. Thomas’. Are you willing to excuse clumsy and ambiguous formulation of Rules. That is what will make it difficult topple this election in Law Courts. Accepting this Teachers’ Rep election will result in the spread of cynicism.

    This message is meant only to tell you that I have seen your comment, and to acknowledge that you are on the right track.

    • 1

      Dear Mr.Edirisinhe,
      I am astounded how you manage to type coherent English on one of those finicky little touch screens in a BUS no less! What next?

  • 2


    Long responses are fine so long as it is on the subject matter.

    I think you should expose the motives so that many who have some sort of confusion can get a clearer picture. The motives have not been discussed yet and I think someone should come out with it to justify this agitation.

  • 2

    Having gone in to this a bit deeper, I gather the motive behind keeping the staff representative nominee a secret was to prevent either Christopher Gonawela and Chrishmal Warnasuriya getting on to the BOG. It certainly makes a lot of sense.

    But what I can’t understand is, why any manipulation was necessary with regard to the OBA representative as I am told that an agreement exists between the three OBAs to take turns and the turn this time was that of Gurutalawa.

    Why was it necessary to conduct an election wrongfully, totally unnecessarily?

    Panini, you had mentioned somewhere that this happened due to the carelessness of the OBAs. Could you please elaborate?

  • 2

    Dear Kargi,

    I find it a bit surprising that it was the other two candidates whom they were trying to stop! Christo Gonawela has already, acceptably, been on the Board for four years. Christo was my Upper Fourth pupil for six months in 1968. Many may be afraid of Chrishmal, whom I know only slightly. Perhaps Christo is right in saying that I was always considered too “non-U” to be on the Board.

    You say that it was the turn of Gurutalawa to have an OBA Representative on the BoG. That is what the Secretary told me when I asked him on the 15th of August 2015, at last year’s AGM. I asked who was going to represent us after March 2016. “It’s Gurutalawa’s turn,” I was told. I asked that it be included in the Minutes. It wasn’t.

    Please see the second paragraph of my report on this year’s AGM and this comment of mine:

    Panini Edirisinhe August 13, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    This year, I spoke to Acting Hony Secretary, Iranga Amilana, BEFORE the meeting, and, reminding him of my two e-mailed requests to him, (plus calls and text messages) and told him that I would be asking that my query, and another rectified omission, be included in the Minutes. And then, before the Minutes could be accepted as correct, I very quietly asked that these be added. Please scroll up there; many under-estimate me!

    The other omission related to Balraj NOT presenting a written report for the year; instead he gave us a “Power Point” presentation. I complained that we had to have a record that could be preserved. The silly fuddy-duddy who asked for something so pedestrian was told that this was the 21st Century. However, I must be honest. A month later he told me that he had asked the Secretary to display a copy of the factual Headmaster’s report of a month earlier on the website. Not done.

    Balraj is notorious for not maintaining the Headmaster’s email address, and even when things get delivered he doesn’t read them. In desperation, I have sent him 47 Dialog text messages, and he’s sent me 17.

    As I’ve said, I’ve kept sending sms messages; here’s one:

    “I hope you have read my e-mails. If you go unprepared for the EXCO meeting on the 14th, your corrupt classmates will know that you are deaf and blind; too heavenly to be of any earthly use.

    “This perception will spread willy nilly to the rest of the school. OBA day sermon about the Parable of the Talents! And you can’t do the job you are paid for. I will call you tonight and apologise if you manage to prove my insults unjustified. Please, please, wake up. You ARE a nice guy. Panini.”

    I really tried to help him, but now I’ve begun to feel that he’s neither nice nor heavenly.

    This Kargi is a “brief” response. What will follow in a few days will surprise you. I’m first writing to a few people asking for permission to quote etc. You blithely state that in 2016 it was the turn of Gurutalawa. No! I guess that you’re shocked. To prove that, I have to write at much greater length!! By now, I hope that those who have been following these chronicles realise that I don’t talk absolute rubbish.

    By the way, why don’t those who have other versions come out with them? It may be that Viraj Kariawasam has so much destroyed himself by saying so many contradictory things that others have begun to realise that that they can’t get away with distortions.

  • 3

    PANINI, I was shock to here the fraudulent nature of the present management of the school disgracing its reputation to be fair and transparent in all affairs.with this ,I suppose, it replicates governance of our state then and now. How can Thomian institute be an exception is my question. I think it is time to start a dialogue as to how lost values that Thomians cherished once be reconstructed.

  • 1

    Dear Kargi,

    Please see if this makes sense:

    The EXCO of the Bandarawela OBA that CEASED to hold office on the 13th August 2016, rightly put all blame on the Headmaster/President for not informing them of the date of the Ides of March Election. They are honourable and had worked very hard, but they wished to gloss over the fact that there had been what may euphemistically be termed “complications” in relation to the OBA election held on January 24th 2012. The Chandrasekera e-mail that appears below will make clear most of the facts, but it incorporates a LIE. It was Bandarawela that nominated the “Late Mr. Upali Panditharathna” in 2004, with Gurutalawa having nominated him in 2000. I think that the plot was hatched by the Late Mr L.A.M. Chandrasekera as soon as Upali Panditharathna passed away – which happened just before Dhilo became Bishop. I remember this because when I met Dhilo in Bishop’s house to make some suggestions about changes to the BoG Rules, he expressed shock at the death which he was up to then unaware of. The aim of the plot was to nominate an OBA Rep from Bandarawela in 2012 (instead of 2016), so that Mr Chandrasekera would have two Board Members arguing the granting of an extension to him after he reached the normal age of retirement.
    From: Headmaster, STC Bandarawela

    Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 3:04 PM

    To: Christo Gonawela; G. Parinathan; Rumi Reyal; Jayaseelan; Najeem M A; Punithan; Jeevaka Muthukuda; Sandanam Shankar; Ananda Galleaarachchi
    Dinesh.wijekannan; Gihan Perera; Shanthan Rasiah; Iranga Amilana; Vudyananda Sellahewa; Sumedha Herath; Kapila Gunawardena; Mithra Edirisinghe; Akhila Ellawela; Rukshan Dissanayake; Gehan Perera; Arulkumar Jebamani; Chandima Kumarasinghe; Balamurugan

    Cc: Merril Aluwihare

    Subject: Re: Election for selecting an OBA representative to the Board of Governors.

    Importance: High

    Dear All,

    I regret to note the false allegations made against me by Mr. Christo Gonawela without a sense of responsibility. All proposals for nominations to the Board of Governors were made in consultation with the relevant authorities of the OBA and members of the staff, and at present certain individuals are trying to upset the smooth functioning of the OBA to fulfill their personal agenda. I furnish the following for the information of all concerned.

    OBA Representatives:

    1996 – Late Mr. Clifford Rathwatte was nominated as OBA rep from STC Gurutalawa and elected.

    2000 – Late Mr. Upali Panditharathna was nominated as OBA rep from STC Bandarawela and elected.

    2004 – Late Mr. Panditharathna was nominated as OBA rep from STC Gurutalawa and elected

    2008 – Mr. Suren Gunawardena was nominated as OBA rep from STP Colpetty and elected.

    2012 – The present turn is of STC OBA Bandarawela as Gurutalawa has served their turns in 1996 & 2004 (and it would be unfair giving a third turn to Gurutalawa)

    Staff Representative:

    1996 – Late Mr. Ronney Weerakoon – was elected by STC Colpetty and STC Bandarawela

    2000 – Mr. Anomal de Zoysa – was proposed by STC Colpetty and elected

    2004 – Mr. Christo Gonawela – Proposed by STC Bandarawela and elected

    2008 – Mr. Merril Aluvihare – Proposed by STC Bandarawela and elected. STC Gurutalawa proposed Mr. Christo Gonawela and it was not even seconded by anybody.

    2012 – Mr. Merril Aluvihare – Proposed by STC Bandarawela and elected unanimously

    L.A.M. Chandrasekera
    S. Thomas’ College
    I have identified the serious lie, Kargi. Study that letter carefully, and if there is anything else in it that puzzles, please ask me. The other seeming contradictions can be explained by me, but are not of great importance.

    Now, of course, Mr Chandrasekera himself is dead, but I think that all those who received the e-mail are still very much alive. I think that Mr L.A.M.C. tried hereby to implicate all in the key falsification. I was NOT one of the original recipients but this mail came my way. I had sent this around to all EXCO members, with evidence contradicting the claims long ago, and nobody has challenged the authenticity of the letter.

    Many weeks before this, the following compromise had been arrived at:

    ANNEXE 1

    25 January 2012

    Mr.Rajan Asirwatham,
    Representative of the Board of Governors.

    We agree to this as a compromise agreement below in the prevailing circumstances in order that we do not sour our existing relationships but must maintain the Mr.Upali Panditharatne faction was removed from the Gurutalawa OBA in 2002 and therefore by no stretch of anyone’s imagination can it be construed that the 2004 Ex-Co would EVER have been nominated Mr.Panditharatne as submitted by our letter.

    ELECTION of OBA Reps of “affiliated schools” to Board of Governors:

    At the elections for the above held on January 24, 2012 at the Prep School in Colpetty, there was common consensus amongst the 6 representatives from all 3 schools, that the previously practiced “convention” of each school taking a “rotational turn” in office was at present in an unclear state; owing primarily to one Mr. Upali Panditharatne having served two terms between 2000 & 2008 representing BOTH Gurutalawa & Bandarawela; without a proper record as to WHICH of the 02 schools he was representing first in 2000.

    THUS the following decisions were unanimously adopted by ALL 6 Executive Committee Representatives of the respective schools, recorded as such by the Board Representative present (Mr. Asiriwatham) and to be recorded ALSO thereafter IN ALL 3 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE RECORDS at their next meeting; in order to clarify this issue once and for all and have it placed “of record” for future reference, in order to provide for the above representation in proper “Thomian Spirit” as opposed to an adversarial election amongst the fraternity:

    1. The next TWO TERMS on the Board (2012-2016 & 2016-2020) will be SHARED between Gurutalawa & Bandarawela in the following manner:

    This year’s nominee from STC, Bandarawela (Mr. Mithra Edirisinghe) will serve a two year term (2012~2014) and then step down, making room for this year’s nominee from STC, Gurutalawa (Mr. Nihal Wanniarachchi) to serve the remaining 2 years (2014~2016).

    In 2016 both STC, Bandarawela & STC Gurutalawa will nominate a candidate each, both of whom will once again SHARE and serve two year terms EACH, with the Bandarawela candidate serving from 2016~2018 and thereafter giving way to the Gurutalawa Rep to serve from 2018~2020.

    2. Prep School Colpetty will thereafter have their nominee serving its due slot from 2020~2024.

    3. THEREAFTER from 2024 onwards, a ROTATIONAL POLICY will be followed by all 3 schools for each 4 year term (SUBJECT TO any changes in representations or periods that may be adopted by the Board of Governors in the interim), commencing with a four year term served by STC Gurutalawa, who will nominate their candidate for the 2024~2028 term.

    The above are UNANIMOUS RESOLUTIONS of ALL 3 Executive Committees represented as follows:

    Proposed by – Mr. Chrishmal Warnasuriya (Secretary, STPS OBU)
    Seconded by – Mr. A F M Farook (Secretary, STCBW OBA)

    Ratified By:
    Mr. Maninda Wickremesinghe – Treasurer, STPS OBU
    Mr. S. Kaviharan – Secretary, STCG OBA
    Mr. T.M.Murthy Vice President, STCG OBA
    Mr. R Santhanakrishnan Vice President, STCBBW OBA

    Witnessed by:
    Mr. Rajan Asiriwathan – Board of Governors Rep
    Mr. G Parinathan Vice President, STCBBW OBA

    Secretary STCG.OBA.

    Copy: To:
    Chrishmal Warnasuriya
    A F M Farook
    PLEASE NOTE THAT even at this stage Gurutalawa had managed to get the following assertion incorporated in the statement:

    “Mr.Upali Panditharatne faction was removed from the Gurutalawa OBA in 2002 and therefore by no stretch of anyone’s imagination can it be construed that the 2004 Ex-Co would EVER have nominated Mr.Panditharatne as submitted by our letter.”

    In actual fact, Gurutalawa was so disappointed with Upali that they had, in 2004, nominated a candidate; I think it was Brig. Bandu Munasinghe (but I haven’t bothered to check this, the name being irrelevant). I was NOT aware of all this at the time; as I have already stated, it was the belief that Upali had been instrumental in appointing Mr G.C. Mendis as Headmaster that had led to Upali getting discredited. I’m sure, Kargi, that you remember my having said that it was I, Panini Edirisinhe, who was Upali’s choice.

    Some in the Bandarawela OBA tried later, in personal conversations and informal arguments in 2012, to use this Gurutalawa nomination to make out that Guru itself had scuttled the “turn-taking” agreement that Upali had put in place. Most in the Bandrawela OBA were unhappy with what was being done even in 2012. If you were to look back at Mr L.A.M.C’s letter, you will see that prior to 2004 Guru had had “extra representation”. Upali was an honest BoG Member (he was just one year junior to me, in three schools for 12 years or so). It must be noted that the Brig. Munasinghe nomination was only symbolic and Guru made no attempt to rally Kollupitiya against Upali. The “gentleman’s agreement” was acknowledged by Gurutalawa when the Electoral College met in 2004.

    Mr Mithra Edirisinhe submitted his resignation from the BoG in 2014, but it was known in advance that the Bishop would not accept it. So, Mr Nihal Wanniarachchi was never on the BoG. The EXCOs of both schools were disgusted; those in Bandarawela felt ashamed, and after the Ides of March, it turned to wrath – but directed mainly at the new Headmaster.

    The proof that Gurutalawa was looking for in January 2012 emerged later from Bandarawela itself. What I have is a PDF document, and it cannot be pasted on to this comment in a coherent form, but you may be able to figure out what it is from this excerpt from a word pad copy, where some spellings have got garbled. The four columns have got listed one below the other. So, you have, FIRSTLY serial numbers, SECONDLY the names of Bandarawela EXCO members who voted, THIRDLY, whom each voted for when asked to nominate a Board Member, and FOURTHLY, how and when the EXCO members responded. All responses were in March 2004. To save space, I have re-arranged the names of the 25 EXCO members, since all that matters in this context is who it was who knew that the Bandarawela OBA nominated an Old Boy Representative in 2004.

    Mr LAM Chandrasekera Mr Christo Gonawela Mr Upali Panditharatne* Mr G Parinathan Mr Saman Wliesekera, Mr Sandaruwan Perera, Mr Ravi Goonetilleke, Mr Gayan Horadagoda, Mr Dhakshitha Serasundera, Mr Mithra Edirisinghe, Mr Niranjan Fernando, Mr Ananda Gallearachchi, Mr Rohan Gardiarachchi, Mr Jaliya Gunatilleke, Mr Rohan Horadagoda, Mr Subash Kulasena, Mr Rohana Muhandiram, Mr M A Najeem, Mr Asoka Perera*, Mr Kesara Ranawaka, Mr Nalin Ratnayake, Mr R Sandanakrishnan, Mr N R Suresh Kumar*, Mr Vasantha Wijesekera, Mr M H Yassir

    3 EXCO members, marked* (with an asterisk) had not sent in a vote:

    The final tally:
    Mr. Upali Panditharatne – 17 ; Mr. Christo Gonawela – 5

    So, Upali Panditharatne became the Bandarawela OBA’s nominee for OBA Representative on the BoG, and the runner-up, Christo Gonawela, went forward to be the only Candidate to be Staff Representative, decided by the Old Boys, and he duly served on the BoG as “Staff Representative”of the “Branch Schools” from 2004 to 2008.

    I have the PDF document, and can send it to anybody as an email attachment. My address: paniniedirisinhe@gmail.com

    At Mt Lavinia in 2004, there was an election by Secret Ballot among the Staff between long standing Staff Representative, Mr Merill Aluwihare and Mr Mohan Abeynaike (brother of the late cricket commentator, Ranil), whose father, Orville, had been a stalwart on the Staff. Mohan won; Merill contested Christo for Branch School Staff Rep in 2008, and was elected by the Headmasters of Bandarawela and Kollupitiya – as already recounted. All elections at Mt Lavinia are conducted using ballot boxes, unless unanimous, as in the case of Mr Channa Asela de Silva, who was elected in January 2016 to represent the Staff there.

    If you have found all this difficult to understand, then, I think, you should realise that when a system that is in place is so complicated, it is bound to be exploited by those who lack scruples. Change the BoG Rules! Who gets elected is of secondary importance.

  • 0

    With all these questions being raised about the running of private schools, arising from the happenings at Uduvil,


    would it be possible for us to know what is happening now in these other private schools run by the Anglican Church?

    • 1


      “would it be possible for us to know what is happening now in these other private schools run by the Anglican Church?”

      I have found a bit more on Uduvil. Like Jaffna College UGC apparently has suffered and suffers from lack of funds for basic repairs and maintenance despite the funding from the Trustees for Jaffna College in USA.

      UGC is mentioned as having “Uduvil Girls College Building Project” by Global Ministries in the USA. This project means additional US missionary funding for UGC. It would be nice to know how many US dollars they receive and what the money is used for?


      The current situation has following description:

      “The old buildings are very much in need of repair and renovation.”

      Are all the Anglican schools like this or is there something wrong with the CSI administered schools Jaffna College and Uduvil Girls College in Jaffna? The CSI schools receive more money from the USA than they receive from fees.

  • 4

    Both the Catholic and Anglican Church in Sri Lanka have been infiltrated by people who have only their personal interests at play excluding the betterment of the church!!! The failure to manage church properties and funds that if managed and invested properly can be a huge source of income for the church is suspicious. A full investigation must be carried out and these corrupt individuals should be exposed as specially those who have positioned themselves in hi ranking positions (clergy included) in the church to plunder the assets of the Church. They have once again turned the house of God into a den of thieves! The international body of the relevant churches must be informed and with their assistance the members of the church must purge these corrupt elements so that the church and the schools that are under it may prosper and continue to be an asset to the people of our nation.

    • 2


      “A full investigation must be carried out and these corrupt individuals should be exposed as specially those who have positioned themselves in hi ranking positions (clergy included) in the church to plunder the assets of the Church.”

      I agree with you but who will investigate the churches? Are they audited by any authority?

      As you may have seen in the media Jaffna has a problematic Church of South India with branches in rest of the country. The JDCSI is a branch of an Indian church. Even after years of accusations of different malpractices in the church and the schools it controls nothing has been done.

      I believe that the only international school in Jaffna Angel International also is controlled by a protestant church possibly Pentecostal.

  • 5

    I know the bishop is regularly travelling abroad, as confirmed by Panini in his other posts and by several others.

    With whose funds and for what purpose? On what basis were dead bodies like Asirwatham appointed to the board of trustees? And why are the so called holy church goers silent on these matters and the disastrous running of the schools?

    • 2


      “With whose funds and for what purpose?”

      If there is an annual report the source of funds and the reason for traveling might be revealed.

    • 0

      He is in England right now.

      Will return next week, apparently, but cannot be met by the natives from the Province of the Veddahs. I remember how I sat in at the opening session of his first Diocesan Council, and he said that he wanted to be a “People’s Bishop”.

      What was it that was supposed to be paved with good intentions?

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