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Expats brief GL on transfer muddle at SLHC in UK

A group of Sri Lankan expatriates briefed External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris on the “unfortunate developments at the Sri Lankan High Commission in London”, during his visit to the UK last week to speak at the 30th International Symposium of Economic Crime at the Cambridge University.A key issue that was raised was the abrupt transfer of Deputy High Commissioner M. R. K. Lenagala before the end of his tenure, “without any acceptable reason”. He was promoted Deputy HC just six months before he was suddenly moved out.The expatriates told the Minister that this diplomat had won the hearts and minds of all Sri Lankans in the UK and earned immense respect for his outstanding work and achievements as one of the most talented, efficient and dedicated envoys.”With the scale of global challenges we are facing today as an emerging nation after defeating terrorism, the country needs desperately a successful diplomat like Lenagala who was well established in this strategically important place”, they said.Such unexplained, abrupt transfers of senior career diplomats will only help the pro-LTTE lobby in the UK, they pointed out. “This trend should be reversed”.Replacing a Deputy HC with a veteran journalist is not the answer as the latter is more suitable as a politically-appointed media officer, they noted.The group also referred to the transfer P. M. Amza, another career diplomat, who rendered exceptional service as Deputy and Acting High Commissioner (HC). Another HC official, M. K. Padmanathan (Minister – Public Affairs), who was instrumental in counteracting LTTE activities, was also transferred prematurely without any justifiable reason. He was one of the main pillars of winning hearts and minds of the Tamil and Muslim communities and countering LTTE propaganda in the UK, the group said.This kind of approach to diplomacy is appalling, they protested. “Political appointees are edging out career diplomats”.”We briefed the Minister on the situation”, a spokesperson for the group said. “He gave us a patient hearing”.Prof. Peiris promised to discuss the matter with the Cabinet and evolve a solution, the spokesperson said.The group of expats who called themselves ‘Sri Lanka Diaspora in the UK’ also comprised the UK branches of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and United National Party (UNP).

Author: TELO Admin