Jun 25 2020. view 1293
Today on the Buzz I have a new entry into front line politics. He is a proud old boy who attended S. Thomas’ Prep and Mount Lavinia and made his mark in athletics and rugby. He is a 3rd generation businessman and the shift seemed interesting. What I wanted to know is, why take up a seat in parliament, what he does and what he hopes to do for Colombo and the youth. Today he speaks about his life and his passion for this country.
They say politics is a dirty game, how do you see it?
Over the past 30 years, politicians have been viewed as unreliable, full of rhetoric, and corrupt with no vision for the development of the country. I feel this came about due to the voting pattern being changed from electoral to the preferential system which means no elected member has an electorate of his or her own but represents a District with a host of others which warrants no direct responsibility by any one person
How have things changed from when you were in school to today for the youth? Do you feel they have more opportunities now?
I went to school in the ’70s when we had a closed economy. The rest of the world had a television but we in Sri Lanka did not even have this. So yes things have changed drastically for today’s youth where the Internet has brought the world to their fingertips. So yes they have tremendous exposure and opportunities. Working from home is a good example
We always say the “youth is the future for our country” what do you hope to say to them about the importance of casting their votes?
Youth are very important in nation-building. The President in his Policy statement which was called - VISTAS OF PROSPERITY & SPLENDOUR - gave priority in its agenda to education and youth. My message to the youth is please elect a candidate who can carry out the vision of the President
Tell me about your school days? How was it and what did you hope to be when you were growing up?
I went to S.Thomas’ Prep Colpetty and then to S.Thomas’ Mt Lavinia. I took part in Athletics and Rugby. It was a very enjoyable period of my life. As I come from a third generation of a business family my interest was in business. Therefore I pursued Accountancy which helps one in the business field
Who is that one person you can talk to about just anything?
During my youth, it was my father and now it is my wife.
Disposable income is a luxury today even to have a relaxed evening once a month, what would you say will boost back the economy so we can have a balanced life?
We are now in post-COVID times where economies around the world have taken a hit. We need to encourage entrepreneurship SME’s home industries and local produce to boost a family’s income which in turn will have a spillover effect. Currently, HE The President is encouraging this via state institutions and Banks to help start-ups.
Who were your political heroes? What was it about them that inspired you?
Mr. Lalith Athulathmudali and Mr. Gamini Dissanayake. I worked very closely with these two gentlemen who were great visionaries. What I admired most was their love for the country, sense of discipline and great leadership
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My grandfather Mudaliyar B J Fernando who was known as the father of the omnibus industry in this country.
Tell me about life at home, how would you describe your “perfect Sunday”?
Ideally, I go to church and then spend time at home and work at the Anura Fernando Foundation for the underprivileged.
What’s the one thing you would like to change about yourself?
To be of a greater disposition to help the underprivileged.
What’s the one thing you will change about “COLOMBO” if elected?
To get back to the position of 6 years ago - The fastest developing City in Asia. In order to do this provide better housing, address and manage the issues of traffic congestion, improve public transport garbage disposal and make it a Green City as stated in the Viyath Maga policy statement.
What makes you feel accomplished?
In the past 4-5 years, we met all the stakeholders in the development of the City and formulated policy proposals for the Government, therefore I am confident I can carry out this mission.
What is a relationship deal-breaker for you? What do you look out for in a person?
Loyalty and honesty.
Your thoughts on “political favours” and using influence?
We have always been against this thought process. That is why a 5-year policy plan was initiated to put a long term system in place that will not warrant favours and influence.
Politician's kids misbehaving and feeling entitled has been seen and discussed in many places in Colombo, what are your thoughts on this matter?
This was evident during the period of the war. As parents who were politicians feared for the safety of their children. This was then abused. However, the current President has very clearly stipulated those entitled to security and I am sure you will agree the situation is much better now.
What would you say to the people of Sri Lanka to regain faith in political leaders?
Appoint people who love the country and professionals who know their job.
What is the greatest struggle you’ve overcome?
Post education years the building up of my own business.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I think I have evolved into the person I want to be.
Should there be a basic requirement of education before entering politics?
Yes. I think at least a basic high school degree.
What is your hope for Colombo?
To make it the Most Developed Green City in Asia.