On September 26, 2015, the 79th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Ceylon Planter’s Society will be held under the patronage of Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayaka and Watawala Plantations former Chief Executive Officer Dr. Dan Seevaratnam as the guest of honour at Waters Edge, starting at 10:00 a.m.
The society has invited many distinguished people such as former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Labour Minister W.P.J. Seneviratna, Plantation Industries Junior Minister Laxaman Wasantha Perera, USA Ambassador Atul Keshap, Plantation Industries Secretary Upali Marasinghe, Labour Secretary Gotabaya Jayaratna and ILO Country Head Donglin Li, a few to mention.
From the time the society was launched up to now it has never resorted to any direct trade union action but the office bearers have been able to negotiate and obtained many benefits to the members.
In the process of obtaining these benefits to our members, we should not forget the services rendered by former Secretary A.R. Rajendram for nearly 43 years out of the 79 years.
The Planter’s Society will continue to uphold those traditions it was formed to protect. Although the total membership of working planters in our society is small, the responsibility they bear on the country’s economy, tens and thousands of persons who live on the plantations and village around, in the discharge of their daily duties are so much and it has no parallel in any other industrial or services organisation on the island.
I am sharing my thoughts with you, whilst acknowledging the contribution made by the past and present office bearers and the members in propelling our cherished organisation to the forefront amongst professional organisations in Sri Lanka. I believe that more could be done to elevate our industry to sustain the progress already achieved to-date and to achieve a greater degree of excellence, which I think has no limits.
It is opportune that we examine the position of this vital industry in the pre nationalization era, nationalized era and present private sector.
With nationalization came the drastic change where the planter was transferred from pillar to post, harassed and humiliated on the whims and fancies of politicians and or politically-powerful trade unions.
The society could well look back at its past activities and achievements with satisfaction and draw encouragement for its future strategies aimed at further enhancing the progress of the industry and the wellbeing of its members.
The society since its inception has done much to improve the image of the working planter. The planter is looked upon as a multifaceted asset, an integral component resource, which leads the country to economic prosperity.
The successes so far achieved are in no small measure due to the respect, unstinted co-operation and ready assistance extended to the society by the managements, employers and plantation companies, which the society acknowledges with gratitude.
We appeal to all members to maintain the highest levels of ‘integrity’, ‘dedication’ and ‘hard work’, extending the fullest cooperation and loyalty to the respective managing agents.
May the elected office bearers continue to play their part in the coming years as well and may the industry, planters and workers flourish.
(Lalin I. De Silva is the former Editor of Ceylon Planters’ Society Bulletin)