Part 5 of "The Canteen Story" written by late Professor E.F. Bartholomeusz is published today. Use the link below to access previously published instalments.
Part 1: Birth of an idea
Part 2: Opening moves - research and report
Part 3. The first Canteen Committee (C.C.)
Part 4: The Inner Circle
Part 5. Financial practices
As a matter of routine, daily sales records of tea and cigarettes and of food items provided by selected private suppliers were maintained by Mr Manniyangama and were used to confirm cash returns at the close of each day. At each weekend these daily accounts and cash collections were submitted to the Chairman for checking and acceptance. In all my years as chairman, I can recall but one instance where a discrepancy of a minor kind surfaced in the course of this exercise, whereat the deficiency was promptly made good by personal contribution. On confirmation of these weekly accounts, the cash collected was approved for depositing in a 'Canteen Account' in the Bank of Ceylon across the river.
On the last day of each month, all suppliers of canteen foods were given detailed records of their supplies in that month complemented by cash in full settlement of dues and a brief accompanying note of thanks. A few days later a meeting of the full committee was called, at which a comprehensive balance sheet setting out the current financial state of the canteen was tabled and questions of policy and practice arising from it were discussed and ratified for implementation.
These financial initiatives sewed to provide the C.C. with a capability of surprising sensitivity and flexibility, and furthermore, endowed it with a growing confidence in the use of its regulatory powers.