The Outreach Coordinator of the Ministry of Information and Communications, Mr. Abdulai Bayraytay has been engaging Sierra Leoneans in the United Kingdom on the political events and the Ebola situation back home. At 20 Govan Road in Glasgow, Mr. Bayraytay addressed the Sierra Leone Union in Scotland in a program facilitated by one of the executive members of the organization, Mr. John Kalokoh.
From London, Bayraytay talked with COCORIOKO about the substance of the meeting :
BAYRAYTAY ADDRESSING THE SIERRA LEONEANS IN SCOTLAND
COCORIOKO : MR. BAYRAYTAY, WE LEARNT YOU HAVE BEEN MEETING WITH SIERRA LEONEANS IN SCOTLAND. WHAT DID YOU DISCUSS WITH THEM ?
“I articulated the issue of the constitution. I told them that we are relying on Section 1 24 which says that “The Supreme Court shall, save as otherwise provided in section 122 of this Constitution, have original jurisdiction, to the exclusion of all other Courts— a. in all matters relating to the enforcement or interpretation of any provision of this Constitution; and b. where any question arises whether an enactment was made in excess of the power conferred upon Parliament or any other authority or person by law or under this Constitution . I also told them that we are not against contrary views , but we want everybody to depend on the Supreme Court to resolve constitutional issues. ”
COCORIOKO : WHAT ABOUT THE EBOLA ISSUE ?
“With regards to Post-Ebola recovery, I told them that we are not waiting for Ebola to end. President Koroma and the other Mano River Union Heads of State went to Brussels to articulate the post-ebola economc recovery program for the subregion. President Koroma also hosted a forum where he said we have lost over $900 million in revenue and the good thing is that we continue to enjoy the confidence of the IMF, the World Bank and other multilateral financial institutions . They praise us for continuing to handle the economy well and for paying salaries.They believe we need more government officials to come out and engage the social media and correct misleading information being circulated there. As everybody knows, there is a lot of misinformation in the social media. For instance , in Glasgow, there was news already that the army had intervened in Sierra Leone. I had to correct that misinformation “.
“About the Ebola fight , I told them where we stand now in the Ebola fight. We take Kailahun very seriously because it was the hardest hit by Ebola. However, the district has now gone 115 days without any new case of Ebola. Recently, we had a report about one case .We immediately deployed the Ebola quick response team known as the Ebola Management Team ( EMT ) , the CDC, WHO , the Ministry of Health etc. who conducted a thorough investigation and found out that the kid in question had not died of ebola after all, which brought relief to us and all concerned . We were relieved because President Koroma is determined that by April 15, we must be at zero level , as was also agreed by the other hardest hit countries in the MRU. We have signed a memorandum of understanding with Guinea and Liberia to monitor our borders and to deploy contact tracers in the event we have any case of Ebola. ”
COCORIOKO REPORT :
At the end of the meeting, Mr. John Kalokoh, talking on behalf of the Sierra Leoneans in Scotland, expressed satisfaction with the performance of President Koroma , the Chief social mobilizer ,and for the fact that the government was on top of the situation. They pledged to continue helping the government not only in the ebola fight but in the post-ebola economic recovery. Some of the Sierra Leoneans said they were tired of living abroad and were determined to return home to invest and take advantage of the local content policy. Had it not been for ebola, many of them said they would have returned home long ago , encouraged by the great work President Koroma had done with the economy , which made Sierra Leone to have one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Giving the vote of thanks, Ms. Mariama Jarai Dumbuya expressed the appreciation of the group for the outreach to the international community by Mr. Bayraytay. She said that by reaching out to Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora, the government has made them feel relevant to the country. She prayed for God’s blessings on President Koroma and the country and noted that it was the first time an outreach has been made to Sierra Leoneans in Nottingham, Derby and Scotland.