PRESS RELEASE : Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, H.E. Ambassador, Shekou Momodou Touray, on Wednesday, 21st July, 2010, accompanied by the Deputy Permanent Representative for Political Affairs, H.E. Ambassador, Rupert Davies and Counsellor Victoria Sulimani, visited Dr. John Karefa-Smart, former politician and leader of the United National Peoples Party (UNPP) at a hospital facility in Kent, Connecticut where he is currently receiving medical attention for severe abdominal ailment.
Dr. Karefa Smart, who was the First Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone from 1961-1964, was reported by family members present at the hospital to have been in a terribly poor health condition for the past couple of weeks, not being able to eat or drink anything and rarely making more than two sentences in a day. They were therefore amazed by his sudden revived condition, which they attributed to the visit by the Sierra Leone diplomats and expressed their gratitude to the Ambassador and his staff for the visit. Among the family members present at the hospital were his wife Rena, his daughter Rosalee and his grand-daughter, Rena.
PHOTO : AMBASSADOR TOURAY (FAR LEFT ) AND DELEGATION AS WELL AS THE AILING VETERAN POLITICIAN AND HIS WIFE. SITTING ON AMBASSADOR TOURAY’S LEFT IS COUNSELOR VICTORIA SULIMANI. FAR RIGHT ARE AMBASSADOR RUPERT DAVIES AND MRS. KAREFA-SMART.
Upon arrival at the hospital, Ambassador Touray, having patiently listened for almost an hour to the former politician share his experience as educator, minister, physician, public health practitioner and administrator, diplomat, politician, and elder statesman, he referred to him as a “Reservoir of all the good memories of Sierra Leone” and in many aspects as our own “Mandela” in Sierra Leone. On Dr. Kerefa-Smart’s contribution to nation-building, he opined that the old man did his best for Sierra Leone and was higly reverred by all. He described him as a role model and hoped that this younger generation would emulate him. Concluding, he conveyed greetings from the Government and members of the Permanent Mission at the United Nations and wished him a very speedy recovery.
Responding, the former diplomat and politician, launched a plea to the younger generation, made reference to the title of his Memoirs “Rainbow Happenings”, he has just finished writing; by which he meant to encapsulate the legend of a mighty warrior known as Farma Tasse who in firm determination to bring all warmongering to an end, shot his bow into the sea and there appeared a rainbow on the horizon. To the author, the rainbow signals the way forward and serves as a reminder that the past was over and a need now, to turn over a new page with a dire need for national unity, and building bridges towards a United States of Africa. He was gratified by the visit and hoped that he would recover from his ailment and be able to honour an invitation extended to him by H.E. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to participate at the 50th Independent Anniversary Celebration in April, 2011 as one representing the older generation.
Speaking on his contributions in the international arena, he mentioned the part he played in getting Sierra Leone admitted as the 100th member of the UN amidst some difficulty between the USA and USSR at the time; his role as part of a group of three that drafted the Charter of the OAU; his activities as one of the leading advocates for the end of apartheid in South Africa and for the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, expressing hope to meet Mandela anytime even so late.
The Permanent Representative and his delegation took a couple of photographs with the ailing politician and diplomat together with his family. On request, a couple of autographed copies of the Memoires will be sent to the Mission.
New York, 21st July, 2010.