Former speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday (03) received the ‘Sri Lankabhimanya’ honorary title at a ceremony at President’s House in Colombo.
This once-in-a-lifetime highest honorary award was bestowed on Jayasuriya by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in recognition of his services to the country.
Only five Sri Lankans can hold this honour at the same time, which means that if five recipients are alive, the award cannot be given to a sixth person.
The award can also be given posthumously.
The past recipients are music maestro W.D. Amaradeva, former presidents Ranasinghe Premadasa and D.B. Wijetunga, scientist Arthur C. Clarke, late minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, Sarvodaya leader A.T. Ariyaratne, filmmaker Lester James Peiris and justice Christopher Weeramantri.
At the ceremony, Jayasuriya presented the president with a commemorative book containing a collection of photographs, a retrospective of his life’s journey.
This event was organised in line with the 75th anniversary of Independence.
Speaking on the occasion, Jayasuriya said that what should be done at this point of time is not a struggle of racism, but to work to create national harmony.
He requested all parties to join hands to ensure that the next generation would be given a glorious country having corrected the shortcomings of the past 75 years.
Jayasuriya pointed out that at no time in his political career had he criticised or offended anyone and said that he had never engaged in any unlawful activities.
He said that as a result of an effort to create a new political culture, he has dedicated his career for justice and fairness and this national award is a tribute to the policies he followed.
Prime minister Dinesh Gunawardena, speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, former president Chandrika Kumaratunga and Karu Jayasuriya’s family members participated.