Neville Jayaweera

The inauguration of the Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation on 5th January 1967


Vernon Corea had enormous respect for Sri Lanka’s top civil servant of the 1960s, Mr. Neville Jayaweera who was Director-General of Radio Ceylon and masterminded the station changing into a Corporation – it was subsequently known as the Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation, changing to the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation when the country became a republic in 1972. Vernon Corea and Neville Jayaweera became close friends in the United Kingdom.

When Vernon Corea passed away in September 2002 Neville Jayaweera wrote about his valuable contribution to broadcasting in Sri Lanka. Here are excerpts of his tribute to Vernon Corea:

‘In many respects Vernon represented a dying culture. In the best sense of the term he was essentially a Public School boy, a typical product of Royal College of the pre-56 vintage. His sense of loyalty to his management and to his profession and his compassion and concern for those who worked under him were exemplary. I recall many instances when he would intercede on behalf some hapless subordinate who had fallen foul of the management without ever flinching from his loyalty to the latter. He typified the moral qualities of his schooling, viz. integrity, loyalty and professional excellence. There were certain things which he considered as simply “not done” and which he was incapable of doing. He was incapable of disloyalty to the traditions of his school, of disloyalty to his superiors or of disloyalty towards his subordinates and it was the special quality of his personality that he managed to balance these contradictory impulses with consummate ease and humour.

Vernon went on to distinguish himself at Radio Worldwide and within a few years was invited by the BBC to head their new, ” Ethnic Minorities Unit” where he worked till retirement with great distinction.

No tribute to Vernon Corea can be complete without a reference to his religious convictions. The eldest son of the Rev Ivan Corea and brother of Ernest Corea, who was one time Editor of the Daily news and later Ambassador to Washington, Vernon was a man of deep religious convictions. It will be correct to say that in addressing whatever task that confronted him Vernon’s first impulse was to turn to God. He seemed to look on every circumstance as, in some rationally unexplainable way, as God’s inexorable will for him. In a sense this was the source of his strength, the strength that enabled him to weather circumstances that would normally have crushed others. His faith in Jesus Christ was non-negotiable and indestructible.

In a real sense Vernon’s passing is also a reminder that the curtain is falling rapidly on an era. That era has long since been moved to the sidelines and is now being completely dismantled. Vernon was one of its few surviving representatives.’

Information on Neville Jayaweera from Wikipedia:

Neville Jayaweera addresses a meeting in the boardroom of Radio Ceylon
Born Sri Lanka
Nationality Sri Lankan
Occupation broadcasting executive
Employer The Government of Sri Lanka
Known for spearheading the change over of Radio Ceylon to a public corporation
Title Chairman and Director-General of Radio Ceylon/Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation

Chairman and Director-General of Radio Ceylon

Neville Jayaweera is a distinguished civil servant of Sri Lanka. He was handpicked by the Prime Minister of Ceylon, Dudley Senanayake and the Cabinet Minister of Broadcasting, Ranasinghe Premadasa to be both Chairman and Director-General of Radio Ceylon and subsequently the Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in 1967.

Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation

Under his leadership the brand name of the Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation was strengthened. The name of the CBC underwent yet another name change in 1972 when Ceylon became the republic of Sri Lanka. The CBC is now known as the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.

Chairman and Director General of the CBC Neville Jayaweera with the Prime Minister of Ceylon, Dudley Senanayake.

The SLBC is the oldest radio station in South Asia and enjoyed the title ‘King of the Airwaves’ in South Asia from the 1950s-1970s.

Shrī Lankā Guvan Viduli Sansthāva, Tamil: இலங்கை ஒலிபரப்புக் கூட்டுத்தாபனம், Ilangkai Oliparappuk Kūṭṭuttāpaṉam) came into existence on January 5, 1967 when Radio Ceylon became a public corporation. Dudley Senanayake who was the Prime Minister of Ceylon in 1967 ceremonially opened the newly established Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation along with Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa and the Director-General of the CBC, Neville Jayaweera.The first board of Directors of CBC consisted of Mr. Neville Jayaweera (CCS), Mr.A.L.M.Hashim , Mr.Dharmasiri Kuruppu , Mr. K.A.G. Perera , and Mr. Devar Surya Sena . After the first board meeting it was decided unanimously to appoint the chairman , Mr.Jayaweera , to the post of Director General.


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