Sri Lanka High Commission in London commemorates 68th Independence Day
The Sri Lanka High Commission in London commemorated the 68th Independence Day of Sri Lanka on 4th February with the hoisting of the national flag and recital of the national anthem followed by a two-minute silence to remember all those who sacrificed their lives in the defence of the country. Religious observances were conducted by the Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka Thero, Sivasri Supramaniyak Kurukkal, Rev. Fr. Daya Perera, and Moulavi Mohamed Anas, respectively. The event was attended by a wide cross-section of members of the Sri Lankan community in the UK.
Acting High Commissioner, Sugeeshwara Gunaratna while reading out excerpts from the independence day messages of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that the Government was engaged in the twin tasks of building a lasting peace between our communities through ongoing reconciliation efforts while at the same time engaging in a concerted development drive aimed at restructuring the economy, attracting investment and boosting exports. The end vision of both the reconciliation and development drives was the creation of a prosperous, modern democracy based on good governance, rule of law and a truly meaningful parliamentary system. He requested the Sri Lankan community members in the UK to extend their hands to the efforts of the government to consolidate on the hard won peace and freedom achieved and in taking the country forward.
On 5th February, the Acting High Commissioner hosted a reception for the members of the diplomatic corps, Lords and Members of the House of Commons, representatives of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, representatives of international organizations in London, Mayors and Councillors, academics and the business community with interests in Sri Lanka.
Acting High Commissioner Sugeeshwara Gunaratna during his welcoming address highlighted the enhanced bilateral relations between UK and Sri Lanka and briefed the invitees about the developments in Sri Lanka including Sri Lanka’s achievements during the last 68 years, especially in the area of human development. While encouraging those present to strengthen linkages with Sri Lanka, he noted that in many ways it was an exciting time to be in Sri Lanka and a number of travellers’ magazines have rated Sri Lanka quite highly. He highlighted the fact that the Association of British Travel Agents has included Sri Lanka as one of the 12 destinations expected to capture consumers’ imagination in 2016. UK’s Harper’s Bazaar Magazine has put Sri Lanka at No. 3 in tourism hot spots around the world, Condé Nast Travellers Magazine has put Sri Lanka at No. 2 while Lonely Planet has put Sri Lanka among the Dream Trips for 2016. He ended his short address with a toast to the good health of Her Majesty The Queen while Her Majesty’s Marshall Alistair Harrison raised a toast to the good health of His Excellency The President of Sri Lanka.
The guests were entertained to a variety of Sri Lankan cuisine, Kandyan dance and oriental music.