Monday, July 21, 2014

Canteen Story - Part 4: The Inner Circle

Part 4 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

While matters of broad policy were reserved for the full C.C.,  the day to day affairs of the committee were controlled by an inner executive of three, comprising the chairman (Professor E.F. Bartholomeusz), the secretary (Mr H. Somapala), and the treasurer (Mr P. Manniyangama) . In enterprises like this the contributions of the treasurer and secretary are pivotal to success. The first committee was singularly fortunate in its choices of the late Mr P. Manniyangama as its treasurer, and Mr H. Somapala as its secretary who were both to continue in these roles well into the future.

Mr Manniyangama, with his wide-ranging background in book keeping and accountancy brought a valuable and sorely needed expertise into financial management within the committee. He discharged these duties with despatch, meticulousness, and unflagging zeal, setting standards of performance that were truly noteworthy. He will, no doubt, reappear as my story unfolds.

Mr Somapala, positioned as he was at the very heart of the committee, was its central executive officer and the custodian of its memory. He too served the committee with distinction freely bestowing on it the benefits of his considerable electro-mechanical skills - his ingenious mains-powered push-button substitute for the 'lamp and paper' cigarette lighter of pre-C.C. times was just one example of this.

Individually it may be said of them, each excelled in his own special way; working together in harmony as they did, they were simply unbeatable.

The chairman's role in this executive was by and large a supervisory one, invested with the delegated adjudicatory authority of the C.C..

In special situations assistance whether in work or in views, solicited from the parent committee was readily forthcoming. In such instances the services Dr Milton Amaratunga, Mr W. Dahanayake, and in particular Dr S. Naguleswaran merit special mention.

Continued: Part 5: Financial practices

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