Cyril Mathew was a powerful minister in the J.R. Jayawardene government of 1977. He was one of J.R.’s most trustworthy politicians, and he played a critical role in propelling J.R. to the UNP leadership and to power in the 1977 general election.
However due to his connections with 1983 July riots Indian government expressed their displeasure about him. Without considering the close association J.R. had with him considering Indian displeasure Cyril Mathew was immediately removed from the minister ship. After Cyril Mathiew if there is a minister who was disliked by a foreign country is Nimal Siripala de Silva. Opposition leader on July 05th mentioned in parliament one minister has requested a bribe from Japanese Taisei corporation to carryout light railway project.
Opposition leader said then president Gotabaya should conduct an investigation about this immediately. Media reports indicated even by then Japanese ambassador has already informed the president Gotabaya about this. Gotabaya requested the minister Nimal Siripalade Silva who was in charge of that project to resign from ministerial position. Subsequently Goabaya appointed a committee on this matter.
Gotabaya had to leave presidency due to ‘aragalaya’. Nimal Siripala before his resignation made tireless efforts to make Ranil the prime minister, and also after Gota left he worked very hard to get SLFP support to Ranil to become the president. Consequently when Ranil became president he appointed a new committee to investigate about Nimal Siripala. Committee released their report in few days and said Nimal Siripala is not guilty from the accusations made against him. Immediately after receiving the report, Ranil appointed him as the Minister related to the accused project. It is like a slap in the face of the Japanese ambassador who made the complaint against Nimal Siripala.
One of Ranil’s promises to Gotabha to get the position of Prime Minister was that he could get US $ 6 billion as aid from Japan. The Japanese ambassador went to Japan as soon as Ranil became the prime minister, and Ranil’s media said that the Japanese ambassador had gone to Japan to discuss getting the aid. But JVP leader Anura Kumara said that he had come to know from the Japanese embassy that the Japanese ambassador had gone abroad to attend his to his personal matter.
Ranil went to Japan to attend the funeral of the former Prime Minister of Japan after his inauguration. Even after that visit, Japanese companies announced that they would cancel projects in Sri Lanka, and Japan rejected Ranil’s statement in Parliament that Japan had agreed to hold a debt conference for Sri Lanka. Now Ranil has again gone to Japan to attend the Nikkei Forum in Japan. Ranil’s uncle’s newspaper ‘Daily Mirror’ mentioned that it was Nimal Siripala, who was accused by the Japanese ambassador is on this trip with Ranil. But the announcement of the Presidential Media Division did not mention the name of Nimal Siripala in the delegation accompanying the President.
Ranil, may have planned to take Nimal Siripala to Japan to whitewash Nimal from the allegations in Japan. It is not clear whether Nimal Siripala will go with Ranil or not. But instead of taking Nimal Siripala to Japan and whitewashing him, if Nimal Siripala was given another ministry that has nothing to do with the Japanese project, there would be no heartache in Japan. Keeping Nimal Siripala and winning over Japan is not an easy task. He should learn that from his uncle JR.