Cabinet spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, was put in the spotlight at he weekly post cabinet press briefing today after he said that Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Britain Dr. Chris Nonis had resigned from his post over a “personal dispute” with a Government Parliamentarian, but later withdrew that statement.
The Minister was asked by reporters to comment on reports that Dr. Chris Nonis had resigned after he was allegedly assaulted by External Affairs Monitoring MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena at a function in the US recently.
Rambukwella, who initially said that Dr. Nonis had tendered his resignation, later asked one of his officials to telephone External Affairs Minister, Professor G.L Peiris to clarify if the resignation letter was received after journalists at the press briefing continued to press the Minister on the issue.
After speaking to Professor G.L Peiris, Minister Rambukwella withdrew his earlier statement and said that the External Affairs Ministry had not received a resignation letter from Dr. Nonis.
Rambukwella apologized to the media and said he based his initial comment on Dr. Nonis on media reports but later found that the External Affairs Ministry had not received a letter of resignation from him.
Journalists then questioned how a Government spokesman could make such a mistake to which the Minister responded by saying it was a genuine mistake on his part.
Rambukwella also said he was not aware if the issue on Dr. Nonis was discussed at today’s cabinet meeting as he had arrived late for the meeting following another official function.
However after speaking to Professor G.L Peiris, Minister Rambukwella said that the reports on Dr. Nonis resigning from his post had not been raised at today’s cabinet briefing.
Initial – High Commissioner Dr Chris Nonis Resigns
Update 01 – President rejects resignation by Dr Chris Nonis
Update 02 – Keheliya says yes and then no on Dr Nonis
Update 03 – Would continue to work in the UK High commission only if Sajin Vass is punished
Update 04 – Letter of Resignation accepted – says Doctor Chris Nonis