The government for the first time conceded that the marriage proposal made by Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanetham Pillay was indecent. Admitting that such a proposition should not have been directed at a top UN diplomat, the government expressed its regret at the remarks made in poor taste.
Youth Services and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahappaeruma addressing the weekly news briefing of the UPFA at the SLFP Headquarters told the media yesterday that he was disappointed and regretted the utterances of Minister Silva, as it went against the norms of cultural and religious values of the country.
“Ms Pillay is only two years younger than my mother; how would I feel if someone made a similar suggestion to my mother? We are a highly civilised and disciplined nation with a great culture and civilisation. Therefore, I apologise for his mischief on behalf of the Cabinet,” Minister Alahapperuma said.
This was the first time the government responded to this issue, as Ministers at various press briefings declined to comment or give a direct answer when journalists pressed them for the government’s response.
The Daily Mirror on August 28, reported the marriage proposal made by Minister Silva to Ms Pillay who was on a week-long fact-finding mission in the country.
“I urge her to join me on a trip around the country. I would teach her the history of Sri Lanka - I would tell her about Maha Ravana. It was us who gave Kuveni in marriage to Prince Vijaya and if Madam Pillay is agreeable I am ready to marry her even tomorrow,” Minister Silva had reportedly said. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)