In mid-2014, one of the richest businessmen in Sri Lanka, Harry Jaywardena made a prediction to Dr. Chris Nonis, a business colleague and the then high commissioner to the UK. The occasion was a dinner party hosted by Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president at the time, at Temple Trees. All Sri Lankan media had been describing Chris as ‘CNN hero’, but disregarding all that, Harry told him, “Chris, are you mad? For what purpose did you leave Mcwoods Company built by your grandfather and mother and accept a high commissioner position? The other thing is, aren’t you ashamed to whitewash a government like this? Do not be a fool. Throw away the high commissioner position and return to your family business before they kick you on your backside and dump you. For god’s sake, mind your own business. Or else, you will lose everything.”
Less than six month later, just like Harry predicted, Mahinda’s henchman Sajin Vaas slapped Chris in the face and kicked him out of the high commissioner job. In the end, Christ returned to the chairmanship of Mcwoods Company, but by that time, the business was in a total mess. He had to go to court against his sister to resolve the business dispute.
Chris kept on avoiding Harry intentionally, but they met at Bishop’s House in Colombo by chance. Harry did not utter a word, but kept looking at Chris. Avoiding him, Chris said, “Harry, you don’t have to say a word. Your look tells everything. But, I am too late.”
The fate that befell Dr. Chris Nonis is a good lesson to Sri Lankan businessmen who forget their businesses and run after politicians. Incidentally, Chris marked his 52nd birthday yesterday (07).