Former Speaker and renowned politician, Mr. Karu Jayasuriya received the “Sri Lankabhimanya” Honorary Award, at a ceremony held at the President’s House in Colombo under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, this morning (03).
This honour was bestowed on Mr. Karu Jayasuriya in recognition of the services rendered to the country by him.
Mr. Karu Jayasuriya was presented with the medal and award by President Ranil Wickremesinghe.
During the ceremony, Mr. Karu Jayasuriya presented the President with a commemorative book containing a collection of photographs, a retrospective of his life’s journey.
This event was organized in line with the 75th Anniversary of Independence.
The once-in-a-lifetime “Sri Lankabhimanya” Honorary Award is the highest national award given by the Government of Sri Lanka to a Sri Lankan citizen or non-Sri Lankan individual.
Only five Sri Lankans can hold this honor at the same time, which means that if five recipients of the award are alive, the award cannot be given to a sixth person. However, the award can also be given posthumously.
The award was presented most recently in 2017 to W.D. Amaradeva for his contribution to the Sri Lankan music industry. In addition, the Sri Lankabhimanya award was also bestowed on former presidents Ranasinghe Premadasa and D.B. Wijetunga, scientist Arthur C. Clarke, Laxman Kadirgamer, A.T. Ariyaratne, Lester James Peiris and Christopher Weeramantri.
Mr. Karu Jayasuriya, addressing the ceremony said that what should be done at this point of time is not the struggle of racism, but to work to create national harmony.
He also requested all parties and opposition parties to join hands to ensure that the next generation would be handed over a glorious country having rectified the shortcomings that have occurred over the past 75 years.
Mr Jayasuriya pointed out that at no time in his political career had he criticized or offended anyone and said that he had never engaged in any illegal activities.
He said that as a result of an effort to create a new political culture, on the advice of the Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera, he had dedicated his political career for justice and fairness and this National Award is a tribute to the policies he followed.
Mr. Jayasuriya recalled that he entered politics on the invitation of the current President Ranil Wickremesinghe after he became the leader of the United National Party and said that he is happy to work in close contact with the people.
He also stated that during his tenure as the Mayor, he was able to create a new culture in the Colombo Municipal Council and its success was even recognized internationally.
Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Secretary to the President Mr Saman Ekanayake, Presidential Senior Adviser on National Security, Chief of Presidential Staff Mr Sagala Ratnayake, Government and Opposition Ministers, and Mr. Karu Jayasuriya’s family members participated in this event.