Ms. Aruni Wijewardane who was in retirement was brought back from retirement by the then President Gotabaya Rajapakse and appointed as the Foreign Secretary on the recommendation of a politician . She assumed duties as Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 22 May 2022. She was a career diplomat . So much was expected from her as Foreign Secretary .
But according to several retired and serving officers. She is frequently embarking on foreign trips ( In September alone- Cuba, US now Germany) whilst the foreign ministry is sinking . She does not share the travel opportunities with other officers. We don’t want to list out the trips she has undertaken so far and the cost to the tax payer at a time when the country needs to preserve the foreign exchange. They noted she loves travel, the media and likes to be pictured with the president overseas with world leaders. What value has her trips had for the government and the people of Sri Lanka? Talk of one grant she got for Sri Lanka? A parliamentarian suggested that a debate is required at the way the foreign ministry is currently run. The secretary has been out of the country for over weeks.
The work of the ministry, (leave alone the cost of her overseas travel) is in a mess they noted. Several missions have no heads . Further they note she travels with a huge contingent of protocol officers . Again we refrain publishing the numbers. They told LNW one person is assigned to make sure of her seating and arrival, rooms etc are in order. She is acting as though she is the Minister , given that the Minister is new to diplomacy. This was evident in his recent outburst with regard to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada . Bankrupt Sri Lanka does not need any disputes with any nation at this time. A kindergarten child would tell you this. The Administration in the foreign ministry when it comes to appointments is done at her whims and fancy. Moreover she is not a good at administration. Those not in favor with her are not given good postings. She is a law unto herself, some noted . The biggest drawback, there is very little economic diplomacy they noted .
She is focused on foreign visits and meeting foreign dignitaries. The foreign ministry needs according to some observers a high caliber young officer who understands global trends and technology . Someone who understands commerce and business given Sri Lanka’s sorry economic plight. President Wickramasinghe will do himself a big favor they noted if he focuses more on the efficiency of the ministry and the missions Sri Lanka has globally, that sucks up the millions of USD that our hard working house maids keep remitting for our half baked diplomats to sip wine in cocktail circles and ride in Mercedes and BMWs and educate their children overseas. The country badly needs demonstrable results and to prune costs as the IMF put it bluntly at a press conference this week.