An Interview with Duminda Attygalle, UNP Candidate for the Colombo Municipal Council – Cinnamon Gardens Ward
- What makes you want to go into politics?
I draw inspiration from my late grand uncle, Upali Wijewardene. Upali Seeya founded the Upali Group and Chaired the Greater Colombo Economic Commission (BOI’s predecessor), but was always principled and helpful to communities in need. He was about to enter politics when he was suddenly lost in a plane crash in February 1983. I oftenwondered how this educated and ethical man could have influenced Sri Lanka if he had remained with us. Likewise, I look up to other members of my family who have served this country, like the Hon Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
These are big shoes to fill, but I hope that by starting now, I will also one day make a difference in the lives of many Sri Lankans. My main goal in entering politics is to serve the people of Colombo, and one day, the country.
- Tell us a little bit about your background.
I am a proud Old Boy of Royal College, where I had my primary and secondary education and was a College Prefect. I obtained a BSc in Marketing and Management from the Edith Cowen University (ACBT Campus) and am currently studying for a MBA at Anglia Ruskin University (BSC Campus). I also gained invaluable work experience in leadingblue chip companies.
- What is most memorable about your time at College?
I treasure the memories I created while playing for the Royal Rugby team. I was privileged to be selected as Under 13 and Under 15 captains, and to play for the 1st XIV for four years from 2007 to 2010. I was the youngest player to be awarded colours in 2007, and played in the Sri Lanka Under 19 squad in 2009. In 2010, I had the honour of leading the Royal 1st XIV to a Bradby win. Yet what I most value from those years are my teammates, who are stillsome of my closest and most loyal friends.
- What is your “vision” as a new candidate?
My vision is to develop Colombo into a vibrant, eco-friendly smart city in which all residents can enjoy equal opportunities and better living standards, while encouraging ethical, community-minded youth to enter politics and public service.
- On which policies would you focus if you were elected to the CMC?
My focus is ensuringthe smooth functioning of systems that impact our day-to-day-lives: fighting dengue, streamlining garbage collection, lighting streets, clearing drains, systematizing parking, maintaining roads, and building play areas and public bathrooms. I hope to focus on groups such as women (empowering females heading households), children (establishing more pre-schools), and under-served settlements (improving services and infrastructure). I am keen to drive innovations that work in the digital age, by using ICT to increase the speed and transparency with which citizens deal with the council.
- You are a new, young candidate compared to those running against you. How do you think your youth will impact the election?
I consider my youth an advantage, for myself as well as the people I hope to serve. In terms of policy, I am in touch with what my generation looks for in government – simplicity, digitization, and zero corruption. Moreover, I think of this as first step in my journey to serve Sri Lanka’s citizens, so my youth gives me more opportunity to learn how best to govern. I hope that I can encourage a new wave of youthful, energetic politicians who aim to serve the people.