Jayantha Egodawela

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Background

Jayantha Egodawela (Image 1) is the president of the All Ceylon Cigarette Tobacco Barn Owners' Association (Barn Owners’ Association), the association of the registered barn owners of Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC). CTC, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco (BAT), holds the monopoly of cigarette manufacturing and sales in Sri Lanka. CTC use locally cultivated tobacco to manufacture their cigarettes.[1] (Please see the Tobacco Industry Country Profile – Sri Lanka for more details).

Egodawela has a history in Sri Lankan politics. He was a Member of the Provincial Council of the Central province in the year 2002, representing the United National Party (UNP).[2][3] UNP, the ruling party of the Sri Lankan government since 2015, is the main right-wing political party in Sri Lanka.

Image 1: Jayantha Egodawela at the media briefing organized by the Barn Owners’ Association[4]

Tobacco Related Activities

In 2016, the Sri Lankan government announced a plan to eliminate tobacco cultivation in Sri Lanka by the year 2020. Egodawela played a lead role in objections against the plan as listed below:

Attempting to Influence Political Leaders

Jayantha Egodawela communicated the interests of the tobacco industry to the President, Prime Minister and Ministers of Finance at several occasions as the president of the All Ceylon Cigarette Tobacco Barn Owner’s Association.

Letters to the President of Sri Lanka

  • Date: 29th November 2015
  • Date: 12th September 2016
  • Recipient: Maithripala Sirisena - President of Sri Lanka (2015 – to date)
  • Content: Re-objected to the government’s plan to eliminate tobacco cultivation. He further stated that he supported the President in the presidential elections and worked hard to get him appointed. The statistics on tobacco cultivation mentioned in the letter (Image 2) to justify the objection to the tobacco cultivation ban, matched the data reported by the Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC), but were overestimates of the Department of Agriculture data on the same.[2]
Image 2: Letter from Jayantha Egodawela to the President, Miatheepala Sirisena [5]


A Letter to the Prime Minister

  • Date: 09th August 2017
    Recipient: Ranil Wickremasinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (2015 to date)
    Content: Objected to the government’s plan to eliminate tobacco cultivation.[6]

Meeting the Ministers of Finance

  • Minister Ravi Karunanayakae - Egodawela and the members of the Barn Owners’ Association met the Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake in March 2017 to object the government’s plan to eliminate tobacco cultivation (Image 3).[7]
Image 3: The newspaper report on Jayantha Egodawela and the members of the Barn Owner’s Association meeting Minister Ravi Karunanayake [7]
  • Minister Mangala Samaraweera - A year later, on 22nd March 2018, the Barn Owners’ Association handed over an appeal to the Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera regarding the proposed tobacco cultivation ban. The appeal was published in the state-owned national newspaper ‘’Dinamina’’, stating Jayantha Egodawela as the author (Image 3).[8]
Image 3: Dinamina news paper reporting the appeal by the Barn Owners’ Association to the Minister of Finance [8]

Objections to the National Forum on Tobacco Cultivation Elimination

The All Ceylon Cigarette Tobacco Barn Owner’s Association organised a press briefing on 16th March 2018 as a response to the government decision on banning tobacco cultivation. This was following the National forum on “Tobacco Cultivation in Sri Lanka- Past, Present and the Future” conducted by the Centre for Combating Tobacco (CCT) on 27th February 2018. The image of Jayantha Egodawela pointing out the newspaper report on the National Forum (Image 1) was highlighted by the majority of newspapers that covered the press briefing.[4][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

A Bodhi Pooja against the Tobacco Cultivation Ban

Egodawela led the “Bodhi Pooja” organised in October 2017 by the All Ceylon Cigarette Tobacco Barn Owner’s Association as a protest to the tobacco cultivation elimination plan.[17][18][19] For more details visit our page A Bodhi Pooja against the Tobacco Cultivation Ban.

TobaccoUnmasked Resources

Other relevant TobaccoUnmasked pages

Notes

  1. Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC. Annual Report 2016, 2017, accessed May 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jayantha Egodawela. Letter from barn owners association All Ceylon Cigarette Tobacco Barn owners Association to the president TobaccoUnmasked Archive, 12 September 2016, Accessed January 2019
  3. C. Wimalasurendre. Provincial Council passes interim vote, The Island, 2 June 2002, Accessed February 2019
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sunday Leader. urged to withdraw proposed ban on tobacco cultivation, 18 March 2018, Accessed December 2018
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jayantha Egodawela. Letter from barn owners association All Ceylon Cigarette Tobacco Barn owners Association to the president, TobaccoUnmasked Archive, 29 November 2015, Accessed January 2019
  6. Jayantha Egodawela. Letter from All Ceylon Cigarette Tobacco Barn owners Association to the Prime Minister, TobaccoUnmasked Archive, 9 August 2017, Accessed January 2019
  7. 7.0 7.1 Daily FT. [://web.archive.org/web/20181231051546/http://www.ft.lk/business/all-ceylon-cigarette-tobacco-barn-owners-take-plightto-ravi-k/34-606854 All Ceylon Cigarette Tobacco Barn Owners take plight to Ravi K] 31 March 2017, Accessed December 2018
  8. 8.0 8.1 Jayantha Egoadawela. සිගරට් දුම් උදුන් හිමි සංගමයෙන් මුදල් ඇමැතිට අභියාචනයක්, Dinamina, 22 March 2018
  9. Daily FT [1] 20March 2018, Accessed December 2018
  10. C. Wettasingha. Looming ban on tobacco cultivation fast-tracked, accuse farmers, Daily Mirror, 19 March 2018, Accessed December 2018
  11. S. Dias. Govt. on drive to snuff out tobacco, cigarette puff Sunday Times, 18 March 2018, Accessed December 2018
  12. Ada Derana. Ceylon Cigarette Tobacco Barn Owner’s Association implores Government to withdraw proposed immediate ban on tobacco cultivation 19 March 2018,Accessed December 2018
  13. Daily News. Livelihood of over 300,000 tobacco farmer community in jeopardy 19 March 2018, Accessed January 2019
  14. Tobacco Reporter. Cultivation ban opposed 19 March 2018], Accessed January 2019
  15. LankaWeb. Cultivation ban opposed 19 March 2018, Accessed January 2019
  16. The business Times. All Ceylon Cigarette Tobacco Barn Owner’s Association implores Government to withdraw proposed immediate ban on tobacco cultivation, 20 March 2018, Accessed January 2019
  17. Ceylon Today. Tobacco farmers seek divine assistance to avert imminent tobacco cultivation ban, 20 October 2017, accessed March 2018
  18. Sri Lanka Mirror. Tobacco Farmers seek Religious Blessings, 18 October 2018, accessed March 2018
  19. Interviewslk. දුම්කොළ ගොවීන්ට බෝධි පුජා පවත්වන්න සිද්ධ වුනේඇයි?, You Tube, 19 October 2017, Accessed March 2018