PM overrules John despite President’s okay; tourism appointments deferred

By Charindra Chandrasena

The appointment of heads to key tourism bodies, which was scheduled to take place today at 11am, was deferred by two days due to a last minute intervention by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The appointments of Chairmen to Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) and Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) were scheduled to be formally announced at SLITHM auditorium.

However, reporters who were present at the venue to cover the appointments were given a rude shock when they were informed that the event had been cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances. Upon further investigation it emerged that the cancellation was due to PM Wickremesinghe requesting a meeting at the last minute with the tourism heads.

Speaking to The Sunday Morning Business Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife & Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga said, “Prime Minister also wants to have a look at the appointments, even though the President has approved it.”

Earlier, prominent corporate leader Kishu Gomes was tipped to take over as the new Chairman of SLTPB while travel industry veteran Ranjit De Silva was expected to be appointed Chairman of SLTDA. The immediate past heads of SLCB and SLITHM Kumar de Silva and Dilip de Silva were expected to be reappointed to their positions.