Sierra Leoneans in the United States of America joined the Embassy of Sierra Leone Sunday April 27th, 2014 to celebrate their Country’s fifty Third (53rd) independent Anniversary in a different style.
The ceremony which was slightly different from the usual wining and dining, took a different turn this year, by it becoming more Sierra Leonean and academic.
It was a symposium characterized by brain storming, to chart a way whereby Sierra Leoneans living in the diaspora can meaningfully contribute towards the ongoing transformation and continuous positive development of the Country.
It saw three Presenters Dr. Ibrahim Diallo, Jesmed Suma and Michael Akpan made three different presentations on “setting the Policies and regulatory framework for Diaspora inclusivity: Diaspora as the 5th Region of Sierra Leone”: Knowledge management as a means to strengthening capacity, knowledge transfer and information sharing to restore brain gain: and “Establish Sound and effective regulatory framework to promote Diaspora investment vehicles in Public, private-private institutional settings.
The more than Two Hundred and fifty attendees were later divided into three groups according to topics, followed by a plenary session and reporting from groups.
The occasion was attended by Several dignitaries including Madam Mabinty Daramy Deputy Minister of Finance who gave the key note address: Ambassador Amadu Koroma Deputy Permanent Representative United Nations, and other officials from Sierra Leone’s Permanent Mission in New York, Sierra Leone Consuls in Boston Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Former Deputy Mayor of Texas, some Executive and members of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) Party, some Executive and members of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Chief Executives of Business Organizations, Heads of Organization and Community leaders.
During his 53rd anniversary address, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador accredited to the United States of America His Excellency Bockari Kortu Stevens gave a summary of the achievement of President Ernest Bai Koroma since his assumption of office in 2007, and said each year of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s reign brings with it, its own development.
“As I speak, President Ernest Bai Koroma has just officially commissioned the first municipal stadium in the Bo/Kenema highway, Southern Bo district.
“This is a fulfilment of a promise he earlier made as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. “President Koroma has also commissioned a newly constructed modern tar-marc road (Regent – Grafton Road) a stretch of road that takes a driver from the west end through Wilberforce – Hill station to Regent and lands him/her in Grafton in the east of the city.
Ambassador Stevens said President Ernest Bai Koroma is held in high esteem by his colleague Heads of State and the President of the United States of America. To justify this, Ambassador Bockari Stevens read out some paragraphs of Mr. John Kerry, Secretary of State’s congratulatory message to Sierra Leone on the Country’s 53rd National Day.
“We are all profoundly aware that Sierra Leone is becoming one of Africa’s greatest success stories.
“When I was Senator from Massachusetts, the suffering of Sierra Leone was not just an issue on the Foreign Relations Committee; it became personal because my state became a haven to so many Sierra Leoneans fleeing violence and grievous wounds.
“I came to know children who had lost parents and parents who had carried on after losing their children. They dreamed of a day when their home would be peaceful again.
“Today, that is much more than a dream. “Sierra Leone is a model post-conflict country. “Although so many lost so much during the civil war, we have proudly witnessed how Sierra Leoneans summoned the will to pick themselves up and rebuild their country.
“We are pleased to continue helping train and equip Sierra Leone’s own troops. Sierra Leoneans are not just beneficiaries of peace.
“They are performing admirably as contributors to peace and security not just across the region, but around the world.
“There are still miles to go to build durable, democratic institutions, provide services, and improve governance. But Sierra Leoneans will not face these challenges alone.
“The United States remains deeply invested in peace and stability in Sierra Leone and will continue to lend its support.
“On this historic occasion, we celebrate Sierra Leone’s progress and its promise for the future. I offer best wishes for a safe and joyous holiday.” Ambassador Stevens.
Several other Speakers including the Hon. Mabinty Daramy Deputy Minister of Finance spoke on the current development of the Country and said, the Government is not One Hundred Percent (100%) there yet. Similarly, other distinguish personalities spoke on the history, development and challenges of the government.
The program was moderated by Mr. Daniel Koroma and Mr. Sam Ford and Fatmata Barrie Esq, while Minister Counsellor Mrs. Isatu Sillah called the program to order.
Distribution of Awards to Ambassador Bockari Stevens by the Sierra Leonean Community for his outstanding quality as a unifying force, and Ms.. Nadia Bangura the longest serving Confidential Secretary for her competence and high skilled in performing her duties – formed the high point of the occasion.
Pasco Gerald Temple
Embassy of Sierra Leone