21 August, 2019

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Traveling To US With A ‘Young Man’ – Mangala Clarifies

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera today rejected the news reports that had been published in some news websites, which alleged he had spent time with a young man at a luxurious New York hotel during his recent trip to the US.

Mangala Samaraweera -Minister of External Affairs

Mangala Samaraweera -Minister of External Affairs

Responding to an inquiry made by the Colombo Telegraph, the Minister’s office has sent the following statement, concerning the reports in news sites that claim the ‘young man’ with whom he is having a relationship is his Public Relations Officer, Sameera Manahara.

Following is his statement on the matter:

“The forces of darkness, thought to have been defeated along with the Rajapaksa regime on the 8th of January, are beginning to raise their ugly heads again. A smear campaign against selected members of the Sirisena administration has started, and yet again I too have become a victim of such slander.

Therefore, I place the following facts regarding my recent visit to the United States on the public record.

1. I visited the United States of America for an official visit between the 10th and 13th of February. This visit was part of the new government’s strategy to win many of Sri Lanka’s friends in the international community who had been alienated as a result of the Rajapaksa regime’s disastrous foreign policy.

Hotell bill

Hotell bill

2. After meeting Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior U.S. officials of the Obama administration during a two and a half day whirlwind visit to Washington D.C., I arrived in New York by train on the early afternoon of the 13th. I had talks with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, that afternoon.

3. I also met the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, before departing from the hotel at around 6.30 pm to fly to New Delhi for the state visit of President Sirisena to India.

4. All hotels used during my official visits are booked by the relevant missions. And I have mentioned to the relevant officials not to book ostentatious and extravagant hotels like the Waldorf-Astoria in New York and the Dorchester in London where members of the Rajapaksa regime resided during their travels.

5. Having known the schedule in advance it is also a mystery why two nights were booked by the Sri Lankan mission in New York.

6. On my official trips abroad I take one member of my personal staff from the Minister’s Bureau. They travel economy class unless upgraded complementarily by the airline. During this visit the Public Relations Officer, Sameera Manahara, travelled with me .

7. Manahara was also my Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Ports and Aviation between 2004 and 2007. During my seven years in the Opposition he was one of my principal coordinators and campaign managers.

8. Manahara is the happily married father of a beautiful baby girl.

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Latest comments

  • 23
    15

    He seems to have a stayed in a luxury suite ($1550/day) away from rest of the team. Suite can accommodate more people and enjoy the luxury. He has been blaming the previous regime for waste of money. So now these dudes are in power and do the same. Unfortunately poor people of our country has to pay the bills. Hell with the politicians.

    • 26
      11

      These are the very same guys who had lauded repeatedly to tell us that only Rs.6000/- was spent on President’s inauguration so as to cut waste and save money on 9th Jan 2015.

      And now we hear Rs. 4,090,500/- was spent for the foreign minister to spend just two days in New York. And that is ‘Yahapalanaya’ only into 75 days. Imagine what it would be like in years to come. Mahinda at least done a job of work. These buggers spend all that to be with lovers and no return.

      • 11
        3

        the total cost for two night stay is USD 15150 * 133 = 2,014,950. not 4,090,500. Still it is quite high. Four seasons new york is a 5 star hotel, why cant they stay in a 3 star?. The mission should buy a house in new york and refurbish it modestly, so that it can be used by any member of govt or foreign mission who visit new york.

        • 8
          4

          BECAUSE my dear Hiran, if he invited the Diplomats he was meeting to a 3 star hotel Sri Lanka will always be viewed as a 3 star country. Please understand the ground realities in situations like these. Speak to corporates in Sri Lanka. Why do they send their Executives for business meetings and get them to stay in 5 star hotels? After all corporates also want to save money and make profits right? So why would they ‘waste’ it?

          They don’t. They’re just a little more intelligent than you are to realise the ground realities. So please shut up without sharing stupid comments!

          • 3
            0

            Exactly. However, why does the new President fly Economy Class? Why has Mangala Samaraweera himself has advised the relevant missions not to book expensive accommodation?

        • 3
          1

          I am not saying Mangala is a great character, but those who have access to internet should at least make their comments after some research..

          check out the prices of rooms in this hotel,

          http://www.booking.com/hotel/us/four-seasons-new-york.html?sid=849cae75d965c9a82d04a5ad29d16479;dcid=4;checkin_monthday=1;checkin_year_month=2015-5;checkout_monthday=3;checkout_year_month=2015-5;no_rooms=1;req_adults=1;req_children=0&

          It is understandable and productive to have a larger room for the minister to conduct any discussions (hopefully he used it for this purpose), meetings etc. Business centers in these hotels would be much expensive if booked separately..

      • 8
        7

        This they will investigate unlike the case had been under the Meeharaka Rajapkshe. Dont worry folks. If he did that, he has to face the consquences. Today each and everyone point the finger at anyone that goes wrong. It is not easy anyone to abuse the people s funds as had been the case under the rule of Megalomaniac Rajaapkshe

      • 1
        0

        I think you should UNDERSTAND the WORD – PROFOMA Bill- which is just an estimate ONLY. actual Bill was sent AFTER the visit. Minister arrived in NY on Feb:13th – THIS Bill is dated Feb:9th. So kindly don’t start criticizing people without ant facts & figures for the sake of putting people down. Very Sri Lankan way of thinking & displaying your ignorance.

  • 6
    5

    Mangala [Edited out] with tax payers money-Yahapalane

  • 16
    5

    Ha Ha Maheshi Colonne is back at it again.

    We all know how she looked after Sajin.

    She is a smart cookie and knows whom to look after and how to look after!!!

    Speak to some of the young diplomatic staff to get her credentials!!!

  • 19
    8

    The bill says proforma hence it is not an actual bill. I hope people understand the meaning of Proforma. I read in another website that a last moment reservation made to this person named sameera without a prior booking. If this bill is true then the news is a lie. Anyway I can see something is being cooked to defame the minister by some news sites who NEVER bothered to ‘see’ the 200 delegation to china, 120 delegation to India, 62 delegation to London so and so, by the former govt.

    • 10
      5

      Rahmath, if Mangala does not challenge the validity of the proforma invoice, why are you taking it upon yourself? Just try and answer the questions raised.

  • 4
    2

    Yahapalakaya must issue a directive on how much his ministers could spend on these jaunts, using his own inauguration ceremony or independence day celebration costs as a bench mark: say at 1% to 2% of inaguation ceremony costs for each trip. That way the we reduce waste and journalists would not harass you or your ministers on yahapalanaya issues.

  • 11
    3

    Suites very important for foreign ministers. All FMs use suite because they need for meetings with embassies and foreign officials. Cannot conduct confidential meeting in business center.

  • 8
    1

    For the other side to get hold of this Hotel Invoice, MR’s/Vass’s
    catchers, it is clear, are very much within the Mission and the Foreign Ministry. There is nothing wrong in having a few whistle-blowers around – to report the profligacy of what we called in school – as the perathayas. Watch out Mangala, you are just starting and you are known for living it up – at others expense.

    Horikadey

    • 7
      2

      “Watch out Mangala, you are just starting and you are known for living it up – at others expense. “

      Well said; Speaks volumes. No need for anymore words to sum up the patriotic intentions of this dubious character.

    • 3
      0

      For the other side to get hold of this Hotel Invoice, MR’s/Vass’s catchers, it is clear, are very much within the Mission and the Foreign Ministry.”
      Answer is very simple Horikadey. Remove aall existing employees and bring in your kiths and kins and friends and their family members who will worship the minister. Nothing untoward shall happen. What is good for mara shall be good under yahapalanaya :-)

  • 8
    2

    What does a ‘public relations officer’ do in a foreign country?
    He could have taken the Secretary of his ministry along, who with his/her expertise would have assisted him.
    Why did he not instruct the embassy beforehand to book rooms in the cheapest hotel, all to stay in similarly priced rooms?

  • 9
    2

    Mangala has a right to his private life so long as he does not mix
    this up with the demands and decorum of his public office.

    Mangala always had a habit of living extravagantly at the country’s
    expense. He must put a stop to this unnecessary and questionable habit. I was first put up at Waldorf-Astoria when I went there years ago on some business. There was a Conference on at that time which I had to attend. The next time I went there I stayed at a 4-star hotel (I forget the name now) – only a few yards away from the Waldorf – and at almost half the price.

    Fidel Castro and his delegation originally stayed at a 3-star hotel in lesser fashionable Harlem. But I guess that is Fidel, who had little time for ego, pomp and pageantry. And the world does not seem to like him any less.

    Backlash

  • 3
    2

    Why worry ur heads over the foreign minister? Investigate the corrupt diplomats who were recalled, Bandula Jayasekara for one and Yasara Abeynayake lived in expensive apartments in Sydney, and state money spent on entertaining and women, PR women and Bandula ;)

  • 5
    1

    Not a freak in U.S will recognize Mangala on the road or at a hotel or anywhere They have many friends and family in those countries. They should stay with them or at a hotel where you can get a room for $ 500.00 per night or less in NY. There are many good hotels in that price range…his staff should go to priceline.com or expedia.com and book their hotels :-) Mangala is giving all BS stories now…I see J.C Weliammune also gone on these trips…This guy is [Edited out]

  • 7
    0

    Why should anyone spend in a hotel room that cost more than 4,000 dollars a night. It is appalling considering that an average man’s daily wages in Sri Lanka is only about 400 rupees a day. These people don’t even sleep in their rooms, they go and squander vast sums for nothing, just to show off their power. Sri Lanka is a poor country and I don’t believe that a suite in even in a 5-Star hotel in US/ Washington/ New York costs that much. These people go and live in palaces just to experience it and brag, when all their countrymen are suffering and getting hurt under the burden of ever increasing taxation. STOP this despicable Squandering of money by jet setting ministers and their hanger-on entourages.

    • 4
      1

      Thrisu,
      I also raise the question immediately I read this. I travel through Europe, I would not want to spend more than 200 Euro/night. In london also we spent much less. Switzerland is in general very expensive. But you have got hotels for 400 CHF/night. We the ones from developing countries should see it even more than any others would do… even 2000 dollars/night is too much. I think lanken missions in NY could have found them cheaper hotels. We dont need to follow up others if we really love country and nation, whereever we travel should to spend much less. In that way only you coud do a better service to the nation and country.
      Before coming forward to do politics, they should have to learn who they really are. We are srilankens – majority’s average wages would be not even 5 dollars a day.

  • 0
    1

    MRs gang proved themselves once again they are famous and posses uncomparable skills in throughing mud against their opponents and making citizen Perera’s and Silva’s fools. Compared with luxorious planes used by MR princess (forged to be gifted by one Ratnam) and luxorious cars each worth of 40million rupees (all lifted out of the country) and the millions of US $ through away by the notorious robbers (as Rajuva / king) (MR regime) on state visits, and paid millions and finally checkout of hotels through backyards (for the shame to face the lobby crowd of the Hotel,) this foreign minister’s US Expences is nothing but peanuts. These ‘ Panthang Karayo’ want the Yahapalanyas to go on foreign duty trips and sleep under the trees and bushes and beg for food in the street boutiques. Lanka minishu modaiyo nevey yak kola, to believe this cooked up storieS.
    Mangala lodged a strong court case against the Game mudalali (MR) on the 8th night political scandal prepared along with Mohan Peries (CS J), Gammanpihila, Gotta, et al.. To hide this fear, shame, psychological threats and night mares these hired commentators come out with this kind bull shits. During the last ten years we heard enough bull shits. Enough is enough.
    Be prepared to face the court cases after formal and proper investigations under the yahapanaya procedures. Don’t be fear of white vans, Greese devils, BBS, et al. Only the rule of law will take care of the robbers and looters of state resources , murduerers, sex maniocs, and violators of the true values of this sacred nation though polluted by the criminal family and pandang Karayo.

  • 3
    1

    So, so, Mangy has gone to town at state expense AGAIN! This time with a buddy for funtimes.

  • 3
    0

    My father used to relate a nice story when we were kids. He used to tell us laughingly of course, that when W Dahanayake was appointed caretaker Prime Minister, he just rolled his mat, put it under his arm and walked into Temple Trees. Well, those were the days and they were genuine politicians with some sense of humility and patriotism in them. Todays politicos only want to increase the girth of their stomachs and pockets at state expense.

  • 4
    5

    We don’t expect the Minister of Foreign Affairs to lodge at the Woldof Astoria. But where do you expect him to stay ay the tea shop or a budget B&B. Some dignity must be maintained. A lot of rubbish has been written here. I am not defending anybody, but maintain the dignity of the office must be maintained.

  • 1
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out] Mangala.

  • 2
    2

    I don’t see what this big fuss is all about! When the previous regime was taking plane-loads of hangers-on, including wives, mistresses and girl-friends, hiring luxury lios, and staying in the best hotels world-wide, there wasn’t a peep of protest. As far as I’m concerned, Mangala is quite entitled to take whoever he wants on a trip, as hes opnely stated he’s gay anyway!!

    • 0
      0

      This is the fundamental problem-idiots keep comparing what is done now and what was done before. The government is all about good governance then they must set the bar very high.From Mahandran being better than Cabraal all this does is to justify the lesser evil.

      We are a poor country that is asking for aid from all these countries – the posher the address and the amount spent, the despotic spoilt brat angle gets bigger.

  • 2
    0

    With the current technology in digital media and video conferencing, there is no need for personal in any foreign service to visit dignitaries and their counterparts in other countries. They can cut the unwanted trips, tamashas, wasteful meetings, excessive travel time and colossal expenditure such as this hotel bill and etc by 90% if they would sit behind a TV screen in state of the art video conferencing facility in the local country. If President Sirisena could Skype to wish our Cricket team, then what has Mangala achieved by going face to face? These are all a bunch of jokers who are plundering our nations wealth at tax payer’s expense. It is time we demand accountability or form our own tax payers unions and disbar taxes to the state in return for proper governance.

  • 0
    0

    Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s defence of his taking a young man with him to New York was entertaining, but it was also very sad. Instead of concentrating on the problem of public funds being spent on private predilections, he engaged in a defence of what he evidently thought was a slur, if not on his character, on that of the young man in question. As a defence to charges he evidently took seriously, even if they had not been articulated, he claimed that the person in question was happily married and had a beautiful daughter.

    This seems to imply that, had the youth not been married, or had he been married but childless, there would have been legitimate grounds for worry. But in thus diverting attention to what should be an irrelevancy, the Minister ignored the fundamental problem, which is that public money is spent on private convenience. This should not be acceptable, even when the person involved is a wife (whether with or without beautiful children)”
    Source: https://rajivawijesinha.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/good-governance-9-ministerial-perks/#more-8051

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