Published on August 14, 2010 by Cocorioko News · 4 Comments
While it is true that by the nature of their busy schedules they cannot always attend all functions they are invited to, we think that all ambassadors and diplomats posted by H.E.President Ernest Bai Koroma to the United States should be respected by Sierra Leonean organizations, old footballers, cultural , political , intellectual or economic organizations.
Recently, a Sierra Leone organization in New York staged a football competition in the heart of the Big Apple to which different football teams from allover the continental U.S. were invited. According to reports received, the competition was very thrilling and exciting . There are diplomats assigned to the United Nations in New York who would have loved to attend the soccer competition to identify themselves with a Sierra Leonean event and to grace a worthy occasion staged by citizens of their country . But they had no knowledge of the event .
One of the diplomats, the Minister Plenipotentiary , has in fact been engaged in providing top-flight and quality publicity for Sierra Leone former soccer stars free of charge through his newspaper, the famous Cocorioko. He was an avid sports fan and sports writer in Sierra Leone and stars like Sentu Johnson, Patrick Dangawallie (Two people who even played for his favourite team, Old Ewardians ) , Brima Mazzola Kamara, Aki Noah, Leslie Allen were among his heroes. In fact, some years back, before he became a diplomat , the minister and former soccer legends Aki Noah, Brima Mazolla Kamara and a Mr. Hamuday or Mr. Weaver , a sports promoter, planned to establish an organization to help promote the welfare of old and retired Sierra Leone footballers.
There are other diplomats in New York , like Deputy Permanent Representative for Political Affairs Rupert Davies and Counselor Mannah Kpukumu , who have patronized events staged by Sierra Leone footballers before . Deputy Permanent Representative for Legal Affairs, Ambassador Osman Keh Kamara, another sports lover, really wanted to attend the event. The Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Shekou Toure , has always expressed the importance of diplomats in New York identifying themselves with Sierra Leonean organizations . Sadly though, no diplomat from the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations was invited to the soccer competition. I think this is a matter that Messrs Patrick Dangawallie , Sentu Johnson, Leslie Allen , Hamuday, Mohamed Ahmed and others should address. It does no credit to the footballers or the organization that they came to New York to stage such a competition and not a single member of the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone was informed. What if, the Lord forbid, chaos or any misfortune (Which are common happenstances at sporting events ) had occured during the event? How would it have sounded if the ambassadors assigned to the UN in New York had said that they had no knowledge of the event ? What message would that have given out to Sierra Leoneans back home and the world at large ? One does not know the implications of certain oversights until something terribly goes wrong. Then critical questions start being asked. If the organizers did not want to invite anybody from the Mission, they should have at least, for respect’s sake, informed the ambassadors that such an event was being organized in their city of assignment, for the records.
The footballers and organizers should be aware that they too are diplomats of Sierra Leone and their contributions to the welfare and development of sports in Sierra Leone are highly appreciated. This is why they receive free publicity whenever they need it. Sports is an international and national preoccupation ; it is non-political and FIFA,the world soccer controlling body , works diligently day and night to keep politics out of sports.
Two former ambassadors–Excellencies James Jonah and Sylvester Rowe –also live in New York and though they are no longer officially in the service, they still voluntarily give their hands to some committees in the UN. They too should have been invited , once the event is being staged in their location or area of operation. In fact, this would have embellished their list of dignitaries who attended the event .
The organizers did a remarkable job by inviting the Sierra Leone Ambassador to the U.S, His Excellency Mr. Bockarie Stevens and for that we extend thanks to them and the footballers.We also appreciate the role given Ambassador Stevens to take the kickoff . The event was given more significance and respect by the invitation of Ambassador Stevens. We also thank Ambassador Stevens for taking time out of his busy schedule to attend. We share the sentiments expressed by Patrick Dangawallie about Bockarie Stevens that he is always available to attend Sierra Leonean functions. This reinforces what we once said that Stevens is perhaps the best and the most proactive Ambassador to have ever served the Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington. He gets more invited to occasions , rightfully, because he is the Ambassador representing the country to the WHOLE United States . However, since the event was being staged in New York, the Permanent Representative, H.E. Shekou Toure, should have at least been informed .If it was not possible for him to have attended, he could have assigned his deputies or the Minister Plenipotentiary or one of the counselors to be there. But not to have informed anybody in the Mission about the event is a slight that should not be allowed to pass without comment.
This is just a friendly advice.
We want the old footballers and other organizations to know that we love and appreciate them all. Nobody has anything against them. The old footballers served the nation well and deserve everybody’s commendation, but footballers and organizers of events should try to embrace all their diplomats. Please use sports to unite the citizens of Sierra Leone.
It is a fact that ambassadors and diplomats have been invited to events that they did not attend , either due to the shortness of the time between the date the invitation was received and the day of the event , logistical problems like transportation , pressing official matters or health reasons . But this should not be an excuse for staging such a big event in a city hosting the country’s ambassadors to the UN and not making any of these ambassadors know that such an event was being held. We should embrace all our ambassadors and diplomats because they are representing us.