The Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations and Coordinator of the Committee of 10 African States on the UN Security Council Reform, Hon. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu , was the Grand Chief Patron during the 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations Dance in New Jersey last Saturday April 21, 2011.
In the biggest dance to have been held in New Jersey in living memory with about 2, 000 guests estimated to have jammed the Chinese Community Cultural Centre on Elizabeth Avenue in Somerset , NJ to celebrate their country’s golden jubilee, charismatic nurse and former educator in Sierra Leone, Mrs. Martina Kabba was given the honour to introduce the Grand Chief Patron. The community activist , a 1980s graduate of the then Milton Margai Teachers College ( MMTC) , numerated Minister Kabs-Kanu’s numerous contribution to the New Jersey community as a religious leader , journalist and diplomat and said that the organizers of Sierra Leone’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations were delighted to have him at the occasion.
In his address, the Minister Plenipotentiary thanked the New Jersey community for the honor accorded him to make him the Grand Chief Patron of such an auspicious occasion. He praised New Jersey for staging what he said could be described as one of the best jubilee anniversary events, starting from the parade and picnic held earlier during the day. He noted that if there was any doubt that Sierra Lweoneans loved their country, “ that notion was destroyed today by the exceptional patriotism you demonstrated during the picnic and parade and this dance “. Mr. Kabs-Kanu said he was deeply moved and fascinated by the patriotic sacrifices made by Sierra Leoneans in New Jersey to make such a grand jubilee ceremony . He admonished them to contining loving Sierra Leone , their motherland .
The Minister Plenipotentiary advised Sierra Leoneans to however move beyond love for their nation by loving one another. He stated that if Sierra Leoneans love their country this much, they must show a corresponding love for one another. He said that Sierra Leoneans were one people united by the green-white-and-blue flag and there was no reason for the petty squabbles often seen in their midst. He called on them to learn to forgive one another . “I want to use this occasion to appeal to you all for national unity . ”
The Minister said he will not burden the guests with a long speech and called on one and all to go on and enjoy themselves. The crowd cheered the short speech and many residents mounted the stage to shake the minister’s hand for his thoughtful admonition.
The New Jersey Parade, picnic and Dance are still being praised as one of the best ceremonies during the jubilee celebrations .The occasion also helped to bring the community together and organizers are planning to make it a yearly event.
Earlier in the week during a majestic flag raising ceremony at the City Hall Rotunda, 920 Broad Street, Newark, attended by distinguished New Jerseyans Sierra eone’s Ambassador to the United States , H.E. Bockarie Kortu Stevens, Minister Kabs-Kanu, who is also a Reverend, prayed for Sierra Leone and President Ernest Bai Koroma , members of the government, the diplomatic staff and all Sierra Leoneans.
During the flag raising ceremony , Ambassador Stevens and New Jersey Community activist, Mr. Foday Mansaray, were honored for their contribution to society.