|Inoka Himali Rathnaweera
Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) this week unveiled the SMS voting platform for the public to select the People’s Choice Award winner from amongst the five Integrity Icons for 2020, the campaign to ‘name and fame’ honest public officials. The biographical videos of the Icons, detailing their work can be viewed on IntegrityIcon.lk.
Integrity Icon seeks to recognise those who go above and beyond the call of duty to serve the public with integrity. Over 100 nominations were received for Integrity Icon 2020 from across all 25 districts during the nomination period from June to August 2020. These nominations were then painstakingly reviewed by an independent panel of five judges who, following interviews selected the five icons.
The panel of judges chaired by retired Deputy Auditor General M.D.A. Harold also comprised Member of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka and former Commissioner General of Elections M.M. Mohammed, former Deputy Commissioner of Local Government (Western Province) Dharmasiri Nanayakkara, CEO of the Federation of Sri Lankan Local Government Authorities Hemanthi Goonasekera and Senior Journalist and Media Trainer M.S. Thevagowry.
A key element of the Integrity Icon campaign is public engagement from the nominations period through to the selection of the winner of Integrity Icon 2020. The public can now vote for their favourite Icon via SMS.
Type Icon <space> Candidate Number and send to 011 588 26 26. Voting will be open from 12 noon on 12 January to 12 noon on 22 January. SMS voting is restricted to one vote per SIM and multiple votes from the same number will not be counted.
1. Chamila Athapaththu
Co-operative societies are an aspect of the public service that is closely bonded with the day to day lives of many Sri Lankans. Maintaining the highest standards of transparency and efficiency are crucial in this sector, which is a boon for many low-income families. As the Commissioner of Co-operatives Development and Registrar of Co-operative Societies in the Central Province Chamila Athapaththu, has provided a yeoman service by implementing information technology solutions to mitigate corruption and irregularities. She has been instrumental in providing leadership to deliver a productive and efficient service by ensuring proper regulation and diversification in co-operative societies. By working closely with officials at the community level Athapaththu has also been able to expose major incidents of fraud and has steadfastly withstood external pressures to cover up these issues.
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2. Chaminda Aththanayaka
Sri Lanka is home to unique ecosystems and flora and fauna which are an invaluable resource. Against a backdrop where forests around the world are under threat, Chaminda Aththanayaka, a Wildlife Ranger Assistant at the Yala National Park, stands on the frontlines defending our country’s most valuable natural resources. Facing near insurmountable challenges and pressures both externally and internally, Aththanayaka has played a crucial role in enforcing the law against poachers and stymying the illegal trade in elephant tusks. Going beyond the confines of his official duties, Aththanayaka has proactively sought to increase public awareness on the importance of wildlife conservation through his YouTube channel and other social media platforms, public awareness programs and community-based tree planting campaigns. Through this work, Aththanayaka hopes to bring forth new conservationists from amongst the broader community and educate the public on the importance of preserving and nurturing our environment.
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3. Sudath Masinghe
The role of Senior Superintendent of Police, the primary enforcers of the law and keepers of the peace in a country, is a duty that carries immense responsibility and comes with a myriad of challenges. The SSP for Kandy, Sudath Masinghe who fulfills this duty impeccably maintaining the highest standards of integrity, is a role model for all police officers in the country. Courageously facing life-threatening risks in tackling some of the most infamous criminal figures in the country, SSP Masinghe has a zero-tolerance approach to corruption and has enforced the law without fear or favour. Building public trust in the Sri Lanka Police, SSP Masinghe’s approach has unsurprisingly repeatedly placed him in the crosshairs of political authorities and both external and internal forces. However, he has remained steadfast in enforcing the law to the letter and has even gone beyond his official duties to conduct youth engagement programs and programs for school students.
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4. Inoka Himali Rathnaweera
The Divisional Secretariat is a public office that all citizens are familiar with and it is an institution that is usually the first point of contact between the public and the public service. Every day, members of the public flock to their Divisional Secretariat offices to access a myriad of public services. In this crucial institution, the Divisional Secretary for Four-Gravets in Galle, Inoka Himali Rathnaweera has been successful in maintaining public trust and confidence by ensuring timely and efficient public service delivery by embracing modern technology and by mitigating bribery and corruption. A notable intervention carried out by Rathnaweera was the tackling of fraudulent voter registration lists used to enroll children in public schools. By training and appointing new Grama Niladharis for the affected areas, Rathnaweera was able to arrest this practice and ensure equal treatment for all citizens in her division. Working closely with the public, Rathnaweera has been lauded for her efficiency and diligence in dealing with natural disasters including in the fair distribution of Government allocated relief. Her integrity and ideals in such situations have often made her the victim of political pressure, threats and intimidation but in all such instances Rathnaweera has stood by the public serving as a role model for officials everywhere.
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5. Sambasivam Sutharsan
A Divisional Secretariat deals with many public services that a citizen requires from the time of their birth to the time of their passing. Facing seemingly insurmountable odds at times, the Divisional Secretary for Jaffna, Sambasivam Sutharsan has adopted a zero-tolerance policy towards bribery and corruption, committing himself and his office towards providing the best possible service to the people. An honest official in every sense, Sudarshan has played an instrumental role in leading his team to rebuild communities under his charge who were battered by the 30-year-long civil war. In the current COVID-19 pandemic too, Sutharsan has been able to ensure fair distribution of Government relief amongst the communities under his purview, withstanding political pressures to undermine the service. Sutharsan is well known amongst the community as an official who does not confine himself to his desk, walking amongst the public and working with them to ensure a better service for all. Sutharsan has also played an instrumental role in introducing a range of social service and community development projects in the Jaffna District.
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