PM’s office has tsunami year mixed up in letter to UN

By Easwaran Rutnam

The Prime Minister’s office has mixed up the year of the devastating tsunami which hit Sri Lanka, saying it took place in December, 2005 when it actually occurred in December, 2004.

The mess was in an official letter sent to António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, with regards to the demise of former Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The letter by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe, a copy of which was sent to the media today together with a Sinhalese translation, notes that Kofi Annan visited Sri Lanka following the devastation caused by the December, 2005 Tsunami.

The tsunami took place in December, 2004 and Annan visited Sri Lanka in January, 2005.

While being a small error, the matter however draws attention as it is an official letter sent out with the signature of the Prime Minister.

The letter goes on to say:

“ We all recall with much gratitude, His Excellency Kofi Annan’s visit to Sri Lanka following the devastation caused by the December 2005 Tsunami. His compassion, sense of empathy, and calm demeanour soothed many who were grieving and in pain. Similarly, the work he carried out throughout his life brought peace and comfort to many around the world.

He served the United Nations with distinction. Calling himself an eternal optimist, he devoted his entire life to work towards peace among nations, peoples and communities, and achieve the noble goals of the United Nations towards achieving better living conditions and a fairer and just world for all.

He was a man of wisdom. His moral voice and guidance will be deeply missed at this time when the world seems to need his presence most.

While Kofi Annan will forever remain in the hearts of the people that he touched, may his memory continue to inspire and guide all of us to continue our journey of working for peace, justice, democracy, rule of law, and human rights for all.

Please accept Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.”