By Abdul Malik Bangura
Sierra Leone Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, His Excellency Omrie Michael Golley has averred that his main aim is to serve the Government and People of Sierra Leone.
Ambassador Golley made this passionate statement on Monday 11th September, 2017, during a phone call interview with this writer to delve into the massive assistances to Sierra Leone by the Republic of Korea in the aftermath of our August 14th mudslide and flooding disaster that claimed the lives of more than five hundred (500) people, displaced more than three thousands (3000) people and left hundreds more still missing.
Whilst elaborating on the assistance of the Korean people to Sierra Leone, Ambassador Omrie Golley said he was able to get Sierra Leone to be among twenty two (22) countries that were officially invited by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of the Government of the Republic of Korea, to the recently concluded Global Infrastructural Cooperation Conference (GICC) held in Seoul from the 4-6 September 2017.
He said, the GICC Conference had last been held in Seoul, the South Korean Capital since 2013, and this year’s theme centered on showcasing Korea’s competitiveness in its construction and infrastructure development skills, as well as its financial assistance policy tools for construction projects undertaken overseas, utilising Korean technology and workmanship. Thus, he said he saw the conference as an opportunity to get Sierra Leone involved in it, so that through the country’s Ministry of Works, Housing and Infrastructure, Sierra Leone would be able to present a case for more Korean support in the construction of low cost houses for affected victims of the August 14th mudslide and flooding disaster.
Ambassador Omrie Golley further added that the conference was attended by Korean Government institutions, as well as construction companies, financial houses including banks in the public and private sector, and NGO’s.
In addition, Ambassador Omrie Goley confirmed that after the conference, he was able to organize a meeting on Tuesday 5th September 2017, between the Korean Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Hyunmee Kim and the Sierra Leone Works Housing and Infrastructure Minister, Hon. Alhaji Ibrahim Kemoh Sesay. At that meeting, His Excellency Ambassador Omrie Golley confirmed that Hon. Alhaji Kemoh Sesay recounted the unfortunate mudslide and flooding tragedy that hit Freetown of the 14th August 2017 and made an urgent appeal to his Korean counterpart for support for the construction of low cost housing units for the displaced.
Deliberation on other assistance made by the Government and People of South Korea to Sierra Leone with regards to the August 14th mudslide and flooding disaster, Ambassador Omrie Golley said that on Thursday 17th August 2017, a Korean Church humanitarian relief team, departed from Seoul to Freetown to join in the relief effort of the mudslides and flooding disaster in Freetown. Already, he confirmed that the Korean team are now in Freetown and are doing all they could to help in the relief effort.
Further narrating, Ambassador Omrie Golley confirmed that at a meeting, which was convened to discuss the recent mudslide and flooding disaster in Freetown, Chairman Mr. Lee Joong Keun and Senior officials of the Construction Conglomerate Booyoung Group presented Sierra Leone Embassy in Seoul with a donation of 114,150,000 Korean Won (one hundred and fourteen million, one hundred and fifty thousand Korean Won ), amounting to $100,000 ( one hundred thousand United States Dollars ) to assist the Government and people of Sierra Leone recover from this unfortunate tragedy. He also confirmed that the donation was received on 21st August 2017, and had been transferred by electronic wire transfer to the Government Disaster Relief Fund in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
In addition to that, the Sierra Leone Ambassador in the Republic of Korea said “the Government of the Republic of Korea, did also announce its intention to join the international community’s efforts to support Sierra Leone in the wake of the mudslide and flooding disaster of the 14th August 2017, by providing $300,000 (Three hundred thousand United States Dollars’) worth of humanitarian assistance.” He said, on Saturday 19th August 2017, the Director-General of the Development Cooperation Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Jeong Jin-Kyu, informed him of his deepest condolences and sympathy to the Government and people of Sierra Leone.
A senior government official who also spoke to this writer acknowledged that the dedicated and patriotic work of Ambassador Omrie Golley in serving the Government and People of Sierra Leone has been very outstanding. He added that apart from the fact that he was the first Ambassador from Sierra Leone to South Korea, “but also the Ambassador has been able to navigate through all the difficulties of setting-up a new mission. Just like the mudslide and flooding disaster, we also saw massive efforts from our Korean counterparts during the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak, all due to the hardwork and dedicated service of Ambassador Omrie Golley in ensuring that President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma delivers in his Agenda for Prosperity.”
His Excellency Omrie Michael Golley, Sierra Leone Ambassador to the Republic of Korea