[APPRECIATIONS - (05-08-2019)] | Daily News


[APPRECIATIONS - (05-08-2019)]

S.M. Thennakoon

Simple and soft-spoken gentleman

How great you were, sir, as a senior public officer who served in the Central Province, with integrity and dignity in all your assignments.

Reference to the profile of S.M. Thennakoon, a senior officer in the administrative sector who entered the Ceylon Civil Service and was later absorbed to the Sri Lanka Administrative Service—and who served in high offices within the Central Province and other government institutions—reflects to all of us, from the grassroots level to the higher levels in our community, his great vision gained through academic and professional experiences to handle all responsibilities with great dignity.

His most an important way of thinking, as well as his lifestyle, was not to use his family’s influence either politically or in the public service. As a dedicated senior administrator in the district and provincial public service, Thennakoon will always be in the hearts of all those who loved him as a teacher, friend, advisor, consultant, head of the department, and district administrator. But, most of all, we all will remember him as a religious, soft-spoken, simple, and open-minded individual.

Along with the endeavours he had taken for Buddhist development activities in the province, Thennakoon had also entrusted special tasks to the cultural officers; to look into the development activities and the needs of the Sil Matha in the Kandy District. It was a privilege being able to serve under him as a junior officer in the public service with confidence to support his untiring efforts during his tenure as the Government Agent of Kandy, as well as the first Chief Secretary of the Central Province, after the provincial administration system was established in accordance to the 13th Amendment of the Constitution in 1987.

It was also remarkable that I received the opportunity to congratulate his appointment as the first Chief Secretary of the Central Province from abroad, where I was assigned to serve at the Sri Lankan Mission in London, UK. Thennakoon served as the Central Province Chief Secretary from 1989 to 1996 until his retirement. Prior to his appointment in Kandy, he had also served as the Government Agent of the Matale District as well. After my term at the Sri Lankan Mission in London ended, I had the privilege, once again, to serve under Thennakoon at the provincial council administration.

At the time, I was attached to the Administration Division of the Kandy District Secretariat. I was later called upon by him to serve his personal assistant, to scope up his important documents. With the work he entrusted me with, I had to bear a lot of responsibility during the 1983 riots. At that time, he was appointed the District Coordinating Secretary, in addition to his other position; but he rendered a yeoman service for the district, with the support of the army and the police.

Tennakoon bore the responsibility to convey day-to-day progress reports to the Colombo Joint Operation Centre established by the then government to maintain the law and order in the country. Thennakoon, as a District Secretary, entrusted me with some of the main tasks; to handle the information collected from the then Army Commander and the Kandy DIG.

Even though he had to later take up the position of the Secretary to the Mahaweli Ministry in Colombo, he served with confidence for that limited period. He had also once been appointed the Divisional Commissioner of the Police Commission in Kandy.

Before I end this appreciation, I must mention that S.M. Thennakoon’s influence still guides me to this day. He has given me the knowledge and courage to reach the position I am in today in the Central Provincial Council.

May he attain the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana!

S.G.C. Peiris

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