By Bockarie Kukuku Musa
The Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Madam Nanette Thomas and team met with Dr. Gregory F. Maggio, Political Chief from the Political Affairs Department in the United States of America Embassy in Freetown.
In welcoming the Political Chief from the United States of America Embassy in Sierra Leone, the Permanent Secretary in the Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Mr. Israel Jigba express delight about the visit of Dr. Gregory F. Maggio and gave a brief history about the Ministry. The Deputy Director of Public Affairs in the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs, Mr. Ousman Sankoh introduced the staff of the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs and Policy Analyst; Mr. Mutarr Tejan-Cole gave a comprehensive overview of the Ministry’s mandate and activities.
The Executive Chairman of the APRM National Governing Council and Secretariat, Professor Osman Gbla briefed Dr. Gregory F. Maggio about the activities of the African Peer Review Mechanism and its efforts to promote democracy, good governance and human rights on the continent. He also briefed Dr. Gregory F. Maggio on the presentation and launching of the country review 3rd and 4th annual progress report of the Secretariat.
The Director, office of Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Kallay Musa Conteh highlighted the need for Diaspora returnee as the country is desperately in need of human resources to fill the Medical, engineering and other vocation in other to help build the country human resource. He spoke about the involvement of the Dutch government and the Sierra Leonean resident in Holland and how they do help in the field of education, health and agriculture. He admonished Dr. Gregory F. Maggio for the American government to implement such project in order to tap the brains in the States.
The Iron Lady, Minister Nanette Thomas in her welcome statement to the Political Chief expressed delight in hosting the Chief from the Political Department in the United States Embassy in Sierra Leone. She further stressed on the mandate of the Ministry especially in analyzing Sierra Leone’s domestic Political Affairs and Foreign Relations, and furthering Sierra Leone’s foreign policy to promote peace, security and prosperity in Sierra Leone and advices HE, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone on the way forward.
In conclusion, she requested for a better working relationship with the Political Department of the United States Embassy and the US government so as to inform the Sierra Leone government through the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs about developments in the American foreign and domestic policy, the human rights situation and other relevant political and social developments in the United States of America in which Sierra Leone can copy from.
Dr. Gregory F. Maggio the Political Chief from the United States Embassy in Sierra Leone, in his courtesy message, informed the Minister and her team about the roles and responsibilities of the Political Department of the Embassy especially in coordinating with other diplomatic missions, civil society, and multilateral institutions to fund an array of programming activities to support Sierra Leone’s efforts to further democracy, security, human rights, good governance, and respect for the rule of law. These include: Partnering with a United Nations Development Program initiative that ensures bail and sentencing procedures in Sierra Leone are fairer, more consistent and predictable, equitable, and in line with severity of crimes committed.
Dr. Gregory F. Maggio spoke about the Political Affairs Department of the Embassy supports to the ground-breaking work of the NGO Dignity Association to strengthen the Human Rights Commission of the Sierra Leone’s (HRCSL), Partners for Democratic Change and Campaign for Good Governance to foster greater government accountability.
The Deputy Minister of Political and Public Affairs in his vote of thanks, the lieutenant in the Ministry thanked the Political Chief for visiting the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs. He further stated that this maiden engagement is about strengthening coordination between the Embassy and the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs and spoke about the challenges faced by the Ministry and look forward for a good working relationship with the Embassy and the Government of America.
The Deputy Minister ended his statement by kindly appealing to the Political Chief of the Embassy to use his good offices and make it possible that the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs be part of the US November Polls later this year as this will be the platform for the Ministry to copy the democratic values and principles of the United States of America as we head towards our general elections in February 2018.