Published on August 18, 2010 by Cocorioko News · No Comments
Written by Wilfred Leeroy Kabs-Kanu
Monday, 07 April 2008 :
Sierra Leone’s Vice-President , His Excellency Samuel Sam -Sumana, yesterday made a passionate plea to Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora to return home and help the new All People’s Congress ( APC) government change the face of Sierra Leone.
Addressing a thrilling town meeting at the Imperial Hotel Hall in Somerset, New Jersey last evening , the Vice-President said that Sierra Leone had enormous potentials for growth and development and the government was determined to change the face of the country within 36 months but he confessed that the government needed the efforts of Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora to be able to achieve that goal.
The Vice-President said that with the human and material potentials the country was endowed with, there was no need for Sierra Leone to be poor but he blamed past governments for their poor and uninspiring leadership . He however assured his attentive audience that things were about to change for the better because this new government was determined to harness all the country’s human and material resources for the betterment of every Sierra Leonean.
Speaking with cool precision and demonstrating remarkable dexterity with words, the Vice-President told the rapt audience that Sierra Leone, under the dynamic leadership of President Ernest Koroma and himself, was heading for a positive and progressive direction and the government had already demonstrated that it was serious with its commitment to change the face of the country by successfully restoring electricity in the capital, Freetown , which had been in darkness for over 11 years.
The government, he went on, was determined to also complete the Bumbuna Hydro-Electricity Project by the end of this year to provide electricity throughout the country. In addition to that, the Vice-President went on, the government was determined to create self-sufficiency in food production in Sierra Leone. The Vice-President also spoke of plans by the government to improve the living conditions of the people but he emphasized the fact that the help of all Sierra Leoneans was needed to achieve that objective.
Mr. Sam Sumana regretted the high cost of living in the country but he stated that it was a world-wide phenomenon . He said that most of the problems people were complaining about were created by the previous administration
Re-echoing the Vice-President’s appeal, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Bockarie Stevens, amplified the importance of Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora in helping to rebuild the country. As if to create a personal touch with the audience in front of him, the Ambassador appealed to them to consider returning home to help bring socio-economic and political developments to the country. Mr.Stevens emphasized that America hosts the highest number of Sierra Leoneans in the world. America, he continued, also hosts the richest Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora . “If we all put our resources together , we will change the face of the country in 36 months “, he declared.
Both the Vice-President and the Ambassador dispelled the erroneous perception held by Sierra Leoneans that they needed huge capital to invest profitably in Sierra Leone. The Ambassador said that with modest capital, he returned home and set up an internet cafe ( Before the elections ) and now it is reaping rich benefits for him. Hon. Sam Sumana also narrated how people thought that he was crazy when he decided to return to Sierra Leone to help rebuild the country.He also stated that with modest capital, he was able to invest in the economy and he received good dividends.
Mr. Sumana said that the interest of Sierra Leone should be the most paramount issue to Sierra Leoneans at this time. Stating that this was the time for all Sierra Leoneans to put their resources in place to help rebuild their country , the VP said that it did not matter whether one belonged to the SLPP, APC or PMDC. What mattered, he said, was the interest of Sierra Leone and he implored every Sierra Leonean to put their political affiliations aside and seek the interest of the nation.
The town meeting was attended by a cross-section of Sierra Leonean citizens not only in New Jersey but other parts of America . People travelled from Boston, Texas, California, New York, Philadephia and Washington DC to partake in the program. There was also a galaxy of VIPs from the society, including APC party stalwarts , teachers, clergymen, nurses, pharmacists , lawyers , bankers, policemen from the Franklin Township Police Department , prospective investors and stakeholders. Also present were Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representatives to the UN Mission in New York , Ambassadors Allieu Kanu and Joe Pemangbi , the first secretary Mr. Kpukumu and the head of Chancery of the Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington DC. Christian prayers were offered by Bishop Sam Boyabei of the fast-growing CHAMPIONS MINISTRY , while Alhaji Savage offered the muslim prayers. The Protocol Officer in the VP’s Office, Mr. James Caulker, introduced members of the Vice-President’s delegation while Mr. Alex Mansaray introduced members of the APC and some leading supporters in New Jersey.The Chairman of the occasion , Mr. Bockarie Stevens was introduced by Mr. Dauda Bangura, the Secretary General of the APC New Jersey while the vote of thanks was given by Mr. Foday Mansaray, the APC North America Public Relations Officer. Mr. Leonard Balogun Koroma, the Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office, also took part in the program .
Fascinated by the Vice-President and the Ambassador’s declarations of the government’s commitment to rebuild Sierra Leone and the fervent expressions of the plight of the people of Sierra Leone by people in the audience who asked questions, some of the foreign guests pledged to help the country in divers ways.
The Deputy Chief of Police of the Franklin Police Department , Lt. Larry Roberts , who along with other top police brass, has a brilliant working relationship with Sierra Leonean activists Alex Mansaray and Foday Mansaray, received earsplitting applause when he took the podium and pledged the FPD’s commitment to help the Sierra Leone Police Force.He said that the Franklin Police by April next year will provide communications assessories and system to the Sierra Leone Police Force, especially radios, as “The Police’s radio is his lifeline”. Chief Roberts also promised bullet-proof vests for the Police. He recognized the importance of the VP’s ADC, Mr. Sahr Senessie, who was clad in his full uniform, emphasizing that it did not matter what country a policeman came from . “As long as you are a cop, whether you come from another country or the U.S, you are a cop, ” he stated.
The audience also applauded when stakeholder, Mr.Donald Sweeney , Co-founder of the Community First Bank (Where Foday Mansaray is one of the Vice-Presidents ) also stated his willingness to invest in Sierra Leone. Mr. Sweeney , who went to the meeting with another Co-founder of the bank, Mr. Robert Flenegan, said that if all goes well the bank will invest in medium-sized and credit and investment banks and small industries in Sierra Leone .
Sierra Leoneans asked questions which were well handled by the Vice-President of Sierra Leone , no doubt a clever and perceptive young man who understood the issues so well he quoted statistics of head .WE WILL BRING YOU REPORTS OF THE QUESTION-AND-ANSWER SESSION IN A SEPARATE ARTICLE .
COCORIOKO PUBLISHER AND EDITOR, Rev. W.L. Kabs-Kanu , also had an exclusive interview with Vice-President Sam Sumana in his hotel in Somerset, New Jersey, in the presence of the Minister of State, Mr. Balogun Koroma and Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the U.S, Mr. Bockarie Stevens. The report on the interview, pictures of the program and the Editor’s honest assessment of Vice-President Sumana will follow later.