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Minister Prof G L Peiris: Birthday tribute:

Gentleman politician

The appointment of a strong character like Prof G L Peiris MP, as External Affairs Minister is one more example of the erudite diplomacy possessed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has displayed his Statesmanship amidst various foreign dignitaries while at the same time preserving the independence, sovereignty and pride of the Nation.


Minister Prof G L Peiris

External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris, who takes pride in being a Sinhala Buddhist is a humanitarian who possesses an exemplary character not wavering in both applause and disgrace.

He was a great teacher, University Professor and a beacon of light for thousands of students. He displayed his abilities as an administrator while being an exemplary Vice Chancellor. He was a great scholar and a true intellectual of the highest calibre.

New political culture

He is a gentleman politician playing his role as a prominent personality in introducing a new political culture to the Sri Lankan community fed up with abject terrorism and thuggery.

He performs his duties as a great leader both as a layman and as a politician. He has shown his aspiration that he wants to create a superior Sri Lankan nation by being a successful and intelligent politician.

The beloved father of Prof G L Peiris, MP was Glanville Peiris, an intellectual, who had created a name for him by being a great Ambassador of Sri Lanka in various countries of the world. Lakshmi Chandrika Peiris was his beloved mother. His grandmother was Louis Margret Salgado. Not only the parents but also the grandparents of Prof Peiris had influenced a lot in shaping his life, upbringing and character moulding.

The reputed politician of Horana Wilmot A Perera who pioneered the establishment of Sri Palee College in Horana was a close relative of Prof GL Peiris. Another reputed politician of the past Sir Susantha de Fonseka was an uncle of Prof G L Peirisís grandfather, Walter Salgado.

They rendered yeoman service to Buddhist education in the country. Colombo Visakha Vidyalaya and Sumangala Vidyalaya in Panadura which are leading lights of present day Buddhist education in Sri Lanka were creations of these philanthropists.

Born on August 13, 1946 Prof G L Peiris was the only male offspring of the Peiris family. He had his primary education at S Thomasí College, Mt Lavinia. Being a bright and exemplary student, G L Peiris won immense reputation for his alma mater. He was placed first in both GCE Ordinary Level and Advanced Level Examinations.

Having entered Peradeniya University in 1964 in the Arts stream he was able to get entry into the Law Faculty of the Colombo University in the following year due to high proficiency he had shown in the General Arts Qualifying Examination.

He won the Mudliyar Edmond Peiris award as well at Colombo University and at the final examination in the Law Faculty in 1967 he passed the examination securing the highest marks.

Due to the high proficiency he had shown in his studies he was awarded a Doctorate in laws and thereafter held the posts of Professor in Laws, the Dean of the Faculty of Laws, as well as the Vice Chancellor of the University.

Youth problems

The analytical knowledge and the clear mode of expression he possessed amply demonstrated his acumen. Many publications he had published both in English as well as in Sinhala are textbooks in the subject resorted to by law students eagerly even today. Thus he rendered yeoman service to the Law Education of the country. Having being appointed to the Presidential Commission on Youth Unrest he got the opportunity of going into the depth of the youth problems of the country.

The Youth Commission was able to propose far reaching recommendations on youth aspirations as well as other problems of the youth thanks to the painstaking deliberations held by the Youth Commissioners including Prof G L Peiris.

They forwarded practical solutions to the problems of the youth. Moreover, he was a member of the Education Commission as well.

The contemporary issues faced by the educated youth of the day and far-reaching solutions for those problems were recommended by the Commissioners including Prof G L Peiris.

He entered Parliamentary politics in 1994 as he though that it would be very important to offer his share of experience to the wellbeing of the country through the main legislature of the country.

He wished to enter politics to find solutions for the grave situation faced by the country at the time due to the separatist terrorism in the North and the youth unrest in the South.

SLFP

Since he was able to identify problems and offer solutions for same he was really an asset to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. While others benefitted from the Party Prof Peiris was a strong pillar that helped to brighten the prospects of the Party.

Many intellectuals and educationist of the day began to rally round the SLFP due to the part played by Prof Peiris in the development of the Party.

He turned his attention to the building of the future through social consensus. His analysis of the day-to-day problems of the country attracted the attention of the general membership.

In preparing the election manifesto of the Peopleís Alliance in 1994 Prof Peiris played a major role. Due to his far-reaching knowledge about the national and international issues he was able to recommend a set of people friendly proposals to the Peopleís Alliance. People eagerly accepted those policies and rallied round the Alliance to lead it to victory in the 1994 General Elections.

Political knowledge

In the 1994 Cabinet of Ministers, Prof G L Peiris held the post of External Trade, Justice and Constitutional Affairs as well as the post of Deputy Finance Minister. He presented a record number of Budgets as well as a number of successful reforms in the spheres of Law and Constitution.

He paid special attention to preserve and upgrade the fundamental rights of the children and represented Sri Lanka in seminars and conferences abroad.

As a representative of Sri Lanka he distinguished himself in Commonwealth Ministerial Summits as well, highlighting his talents and political acumen.

Prof G L Peiris has successfully faced the challenges of the day due to his traditional family background, deep political knowledge about national and international issues and the discipline he shows on the strength of his patriotism.

In the light of these talents and strength displayed by Prof Peiris, he has become a great asset to President Mahinda Rjapaksa and his Government. The country is really proud of such sons of the soil. He is presently facing bravely the challenges posed by the international community to Sri Lanka specially in the sphere of external affairs.

We earnestly pray that he may live long, healthily and strongly in order to render service to the country as well as to the world at large for many more years.

The writer is the Secretary to the Chief Government Whip of Parliament

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