Saturday, 15 February 2003  
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Rupa did yeoman service to district, electorate, and Motherland - PM

From Richmond Wijesekera, Bentota Group Correspondent

"Rupa Karunatilake is a very good friend of mine for a long time, who did a yeoman service to the Bentara-Elpitiya electorate, Galle district and to our Motherland, as a MP, Deputy Minister, District Minister and Minister. I am very happy to attend this felicitation ceremony today at Elpitiya" said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The Prime Minister said so at a meeting held at Ananda Maha Vidyalaya, Elpitiya to felicitate Rupa Karunatilake who has now being designated as the Sri Lanka Ambassador to the Netherlands.

This ceremony was organised by the Galle district MP and UNP Media Spokesman Gayantha Karunatilake and Felicitation Committee.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said, "I came to know Rupa Karunatilake in 1970. Those days he was living adjoining my house. Therefore I used to meet him very often. In 1970 he contested Bentara-Elpitiya seat as a UNP candidate and was defeated for the first time. In 1977 he contested the same seat and won by a very large majority and became the Galle district Minister in the J. R. Jayawardene Cabinet. At that time I was the Minister of Eduction. During that period I have visited Bentara-Elpitiya electorate several times with Minister Rupa Karunatilake and our Government managed to do a yeoman service not only to Bentara-Elpitiya, but to the whole Galle district".

The Prime Minister also said, "Till 1994 we served as Cabinet Ministers under President J. R. Jayawardene, President Ranasinghe Premadasa and President D. B. Wijetunga. In 1994 Rupa said that he wanted to retire from politics and did not contest. Though he retired, he served as the Deputy Chairman of the UNP and did a yeoman service to the Party until he was appointed as the "Sri Lanka Ambassador to the Netherlands.

He said our Government has a big program in developing Galle district, with the help of Netherlands. Today before I came to Elpitiya I discussed about that program with Ministers Vajira Abeywardene and Hemakumara Nanayakkara. As now our new Ambassador is there we can get the full support from him and can implement our program very easily and successfully. During his period as a Ambassador Rupa can do a yeoman service to our Motherland, again.

The Speaker of the Parliament Joseph Michel Perera said that Rupa Karunatilake was a very honest and gentleman politician. He did his job very well. He is a example to some of our politicians. He did not come to politics to earn money. I wish him all the best to do a yeoman service to Sri Lanka again as a Ambassador".

Ambassador to the Netherlands Rupa karunatilake said that he was invited to contest Bentara-Elpitiya electorate in 1970 by the late Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake and accepted his invitation and contested and was defeated.

When I came to politics my first promise was to keep my two hands clean during my political career. Today after 33 years I am very happy to say that I kept my promise as I promised in 1970. I take this opportunity to thank all the residents of Bentara-Elpitiya electorate.

As the Ambassador I will do my best for the development of my motherland".

Minister of Lands Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Mass Communication Imitiyas Bakeer Markar, Minister of Women's Affairs Amara Piyaseeli Ratnayake, Minister Irrigation and Water Resources Jayawickrema Perera, Galle district M. P. Gayantha Karunatilake, Galle district MP Richard Pathirana, SPC members Gamini Abeywardene, Jayasiri Nanayakkara, Elpitiya PS Chairman Sudath Devapriya also spoke while Ministers Vajira Abeywardene, Hemakumara Nanayakkara several former Ministers and MPs and SPC members also participated.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presented a souvenir to the new Ambassador Rupa Karunatilake. The ceremony ended with a fireworks display and a musical show.

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