J.R. Jayewardene remembers : Lalith - His Vision and Statesmanship | Sunday Observer

J.R. Jayewardene remembers : Lalith - His Vision and Statesmanship

29 April, 2018

When I first saw Lalith he was a very young boy. He visited me at 'Braemar', with his father, D.D. Athulathmudali who was a fellow State Councillor.

I next heard about him from my son Ravi, who was a fellow Royalist of the same age, and a school friend.

He left for the United Kingdom, to enter Oxford University, and I was aware by then of his exceptional abilities.

It was after his return, having established his reputation as a scholar and an orator, that people began to speak of him, as an able lawyer and a future political leader.

When, in 1973, I became the leader of the United National Party, and was choosing young men with education, both, National and Western, to be future Members of Parliament, I thought of Lalith. I invited him to join the United National Party. He did so, and wished to be appointed as a Party organizer in the Ratmalana Electorate. This I did.

Thereafter, he commenced his public career as a Member of Parliament and as a Minister. His life and achievements since then are well-known.

I found him loyal to the Party and to its Leader. In the Legislature he was one of our best speakers, in Sinhala and English.

As a Minister he performed his tasks diligently and efficiently.

He was above any corruption, and there was never a complaint about him either.

These qualities helped him to become one of the leaders of our Party and then of the Country.

There was no political goal that he could not have reached. His life was cruelly taken away, when the fulfilment of the golden promise of his youth was about to be achieved. Such is life.