Here are some details of how Presdent Mahinda Rajapaksa was promoting Sri Lanka during his visit to the USA.
yes heres how Punnakku Rala Promoted SL in the US.
Royal treatment for the PUNNAKKU Raja!! :) MILLIONS come to listen to the so called 'GREAT SPEECH of the Punnakku Raja' :)
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and first lady Shiranthi, who arrived at the Kennedy International Airport in New York were not received by anyone from the United Nations, the United States Government or even by a local authority representative. This was the case when they arrived in Los Angeles too. Instead on hand to receive them were Sri Lankan diplomatic staff and their families in both cities.
The delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was pruned down to just one in order to accommodate others. Most of the members of the Sri Lanka delegation (around 65 at the last count) failed to show up at the UN. They were out on private jaunts ? to Niagara Falls, Atlantic City casinos, visiting long lost friends, relatives, keeping appointments for medical checks or simply going on sight seeing tours ? all at taxpayer?s expens
When he was asked at the UN press conference about the strength of the Sri Lankan delegation, Foreign Minister, Rohita Bogollagama cut it down to 39. ?Do you think it is too high?, he asked an American reporter who fired the question at him. Still, Bogollagama unwittingly gave the whoe show away. ?When I walked down the corridors of the UN,? he told the reporter, I was thinking we were invisible in this environment.? No truer words were spoken. Yes, the Sri Lankan delegation was ?invisible? because most of the so-called delegates who came on the junket never turned up at the UN at all. Visibility was thus zero.
This was clearly evident when President Rajapaksa spoke as there were a very high number of ?blue? (empty) seats.
While much is said about the expenses in NY, LA too has cost a thumping sum but without any official significance. In New York, it was carnival time at the Ritz Carlton Hotel where the 65 delegates were holed up. Despite a handsome per diem allowance by the Government everyone was told they could charge their meals, phone calls, laundry and entertainment to the room bill. This naturally facilitated the delegates to pocket their allowances (which are meant for incidental expenses). A couple flew in from London at the eleventh hour to join the delegation could not find accommodation at the Hotel.
Edited By - anizam - 2 Oct 2007 14:27:40 GMT