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Archive for April, 2012

PICTORIAL : At Newark flag-raising, Sierra Leone UN diplomat commends President Koroma for empowering women in sierra Leone

Monday, April 30th, 2012

The President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, has been  highly commended  for empowering women and enhancing their welfare in Sierra Leone. The commendation for President Koroma came from the Minister Plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations , Hon. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, who delivered  the keynote address at the raising of the Sierra Leone flag at the Newark, New Jersey  City Hall on 51st Independence Anniversary Day last Friday.

Minister Plenipotentiary delivers keynote address at flag-raising

 

The colourful and auspicious ceremony was attended by distinguished Sierra Leoneans in New Jersey and other parts of the United States , municipal officials of Newark as well as  representatives of the African Commission who co–hosted the program with the City of Newark.

From right : Foday Mansaray, Marcy Phillips and Kabs-Kanu

 

Among the array of distinguished attendees were the Ivorian-born Mr. Dosso Kassimou, Chair of the Newark African Commission (NAC), Mrs. Marcy Phillips who is also President of the African and American Alliance; Madam  Mariama Sire Dione, Goodwill Ambassador to UNESCO Center for Peace;  Mrs. Mariama B.  Fofana, Member of the House of Representatives of Liberia; Dr. Abena P.A. Busia, Chair, Department of Garden & Women Studies, Rutgers-Newark, Dr. Akil Kalfani,  President of the Africana Institute of the Essex County College, the Chair of the National Organization of Sierra Leoneans in North America, Mr. Melbourne Garber, Rev. Dr. Joseph Massaquoi , an educator in West Orange, NJ , Madam Madina Rahman and Mr. Foday Mansaray of the Sierra Leone Community of New Jersey ( SLCNJ)  and other important guests.

 

The Mayor was represented by Mr. Fateen A Ziyad, Director, Newark Fire Department .The event commenced with  Muslim prayers by Mr Alhassan Komeh deputizing for Alhaji AGS kamara and Christian prayers by Mr Albert Lasayo who deputize Rev. Dr Joseph Massaquoi who was running late due to conflict in schedule. The prayers were followed  by the singing of the national anthems of Sierra Leone and America. Mr Dosso Kassimouh (Doctoral Candidate) chaired the occasion.

A cross section of Sierra Leone community and City Hall and African Commission members pose on the steps of city Hall after the flag-raising

 

The Sierra Leone flag was raised by Minister Kabs-Kanu  at the steps of City Hall  at 920 Broad Street , Newark , a city with the largest concentration of Afican-Americans in New Jersey , and the ceremony was a demonstration of appreciation for the outstanding roles  being played by Sierra Leoneans in the social, political, medical , economic, business and other spheres of life in the U.S. The brain behind the flag-raising program is Mr. Foday Mansaray , who is co-chair of the Education Committee of  the African Commission , and who  during the Jubilee Independence Anniversary ceremony last year , initated this flag-raising segment in Newark that will now be an annual affair.

THE Flag is being raised  by Minister Plenipotentiary  Kabs-Kanu while Papa O Sierra Leonean born musician and dancer blows  a  FLUTE singing the Sierra Leone nation anthem while spectators and passer-by  watched the green white and blue making his way up the post. Another historic day in the history books of Newark and Sierra Leone

 

The Sierra Leone flag fluttering in the Newark skyline after being raised

After the flag-raising ceremony , an indoor program was held inside the City Hall  under the topic : THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN POST-INDEPENDENT SIERRA LEONE.  Speakers included the Chair of the African Commission, Mr. Kassimou,  who hailed the Sierra Leonean people for the socio-economic and political achievements they have made since the end of the war; Mrs. Mercy Phillips , the Fire Chief (who said that based on what Rev. Kabs-Kanu said, Sierra Leone did better than the U.S. in the speed with which she granted women their rights and empowerment, considering that she is comparatively still a very young nation at 51 )  , Mrs. Fofana the Liberian Parliamentarian , who spoke about the cultural and family ties binding Liberia and Sierra Leone and the justice brought to the two countries by last Thursday’s guilty Special Court verdict on Charles Taylor ; Mr Nabe Tarawallie (who spoke  about youth commitment to the development of Sierra Leoneans across the State of New Jersey and beyond)  .King Alhaji Noah Fofana ,( who appealed to guest2 present,  especially the youths,  to come and join the African Commission)  Ms. Madina Rahman , who spoke about the aspirations and achievements of women in Sierra Leone; Mr. Melbourne Garber , who gave a brief history of Sierra Leone and Mr. Foday Mansaray, who gave the vote of thanks and who in the light of the theme of the program ,  recognized the two most important women in his life, his mother  Madam Mballu Mansaray  and wife, Mrs. Patricia Mansaray , who were present at the program.

From left : Madina Rahman, the Liberian Member of Parliament , Mariama Fofana and  Minister Kabs-Kanu. Madam Fofana was given a certificate of achievement by the African Commission for leaving her restaurant business near the Commission and returning home to Liberia to contest for a seat in Parliament which she won .

Sierra Leone organization with their award

 

IN DELIVERING THE  KEYNOTE ADDRESS , the Minister Plenipotentiary said that Thursday’s war crimes guilty verdict on Charles Taylor was a monumental victory for women as well because they were one of those who bore the brunt of the atrocities committed by the rebels aided and abetted by Taylor during the war. He painted a graphic picture of the sexual ravishments , sexual slavery and hard labour they were subjected to  by the Taylor -supported rebels and thanked the Special Court of Sierra Leone for bringing justice to all the victims of the war.

Members of the Commission and City officials being introduced

 

Mr. Kanu said that since Sierra Leone gained Independence in 1961, women have come a long way in their struggle for women’s rights and  empowerment . They were disregarded  and marginalized in the past and their place was the kitchen,  but today they are at the helm of the country’s socio-economic and political renaissance. He commended the exemplary role played by women in 1995 when they   challenged the NPRC military junta , which wanted to hijack democracy in Sierra Leone , and forced the soldiers to abandon their plans and return the country  to civilian rule.

Mr. Kassimou and Liberian MP Madam Fofana

 

Rev. Kabs-Kanu highlighted the various ways women were marginalized in Sierra Leone but said that since the end of the war, they have achieved  significant gains as governments in Sierra Leone have come to accept that women are indispensable partners of men in the task of nation-building.

He highly commended the role President Ernest Koroma has played since coming to power in 2007 in providing social, political and economic empowerment for women. He told his audience that as soon as he became Head of State  of Sierra Leone, President Koroma vowed that women will be provided the platform to  contribute equitably to the  governance  of Sierra Leone and  decision-making process in the various spheres of public life . The Minister  said that the result is that today there are  more women in leadership positions than ever before in the history of the country  . Women, he told his audience, now hold key ministerial and ambassadorial positions in government. Women now also hold top management positions in quasi-government institutions  and amidst cheers from the crowd , Mr. Kanu announced that,  in the legal field,  the Chief Justice of Sierra Leone  today is a woman. Mr. Kanu also told them about the Parliamentary Bill that will ensure that women now enjoy  30% quota representation in governance.

From left : Mr. Kassimou, Mrs. Phillips and the Mayor’s representative

 

The UN Minister said that apart from putting women in top positions, the government has also enhanced the health of women and that last year President Koroma took radical steps to arrest Sierra Leone’s alarmingly high post-natal  maternal mortality by introducing free medical care for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under 5. The result is that medical treatment is now available for women and children all over the country and in just one year the maternal mortality rate has gone down significantly in Sierra Leone.

Foday Mansaray on the podium speaking

Rev. Kabs-Kanu also informed the audience that certain rights once denied women have now been granted them. Amidst more cheers, he said that wife-beating is now a criminal offence in Sierra Leone and sexual harassment is forbiddeen as it is in America and Brritain. “If you beat a woman in Sierra Leone now, you will go to jail ” , he emphasized.  Women, he went on, can now inherit property and forced  marriage is now outlawed. With regards to the much-criticised female genital mutilation , the minister plenipotentiary said that it is now forbidden for girls under 18 to be subjected to the practice , making the forced circumcision of children a thing of the past. FGM  is now purely a matter of choice for grown-up girls who have reached the age when they can decide on their own whether to support the practice or not.

The minister assured his audience that, given President Koroma’s plans for women empowerment,  Sierra Leone is on the way to scoring another great achievement by being  one of the African countries where women compete with men for access to all areas of governance and decision-making.

Madina Rahman speaking

In their statements, City Hall and African Commission members praised Sierra Leone for the progress being achieved in women’s empowerment and they pledged to work with the Sierra Leone community to help it achieve its goals and aspirations .

Cerificates of achievement were awarded to many people including the Sierra Leone   organization, Hope for Salone.. A closing prayer was said by Alhaji AGS karama,  which was followed by light refreshment and supper , consisting of  Sierra Leonean cuisine prepared courtesy  of Mr Mike Bangura of ODABRO RESTAURANT,  a native and business man from Port Loko. His  restaurant which is has been operation by Sierra Leoneon for over 20 years serves a  variety of west African cuisine including all of our Sierra Leonean  dishes.

The event came to a close making the end of another successful independence anniversary.

 Mr. Melbourne Garber narrating Sierra Leone’s history

Statement by UN Permanent Representative H.E. Ambassador Shekou Toure at the USLO Independence Dance in New York

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations,  His Excellency Ambassador Shekou Touray , was the keynote speaker at the 51st Independence Anniversary celebrations dance held by the Union of Sierra Leone Organizations ( USLO ) of New York at the Afrika House in New York last Saturday. Here is the statement delivered by the Ambassador :

Photo: Ambassador Touray cutting the national birthday cake in New York on Saturday :

Statement on the 51st Independence Anniversary Celebrations by H.E. Ambassador Shekou M. Touray, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations

 

Mr. Chairman,

Executive, Organizers and members of USLO

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen:

I bring you fraternal greetings and felicitations on behalf of His Excellency Dr.  Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Government and people of Sierra Leone back home on this very auspicious occasion, as we celebrate the 51st Independence Anniversary of our beloved country.

I commend the efforts of the organizers for putting together this program, which I believe has its own challenges; and thank them for inviting me to be the keynote speaker. I must say I am very much delighted to talk to you as we once again endeavour to take stock of the progress achieved so far and the challenges that lie ahead, since we met together last year to celebrate 50 years of our attainment of independence.

It is indeed heartwarming to see my compatriots in such a jubilant mood, which is ample demonstration of the love that you have for your dear country. I encourage each and every one of us to keep this flame of patriotism burning.

As we are all aware, our nation is preparing for a very crucial Presidential, Legislative and Local Council Elections in November this year. We have come a long way from a war ravaged country to a post-conflict country that has taken significant strides towards the attainment of multi-party democracy. As the former Executive Representative of the UN Secretary General to Sierra Leone, once said:  “Sierra Leone, which was once the symbol of a failed State, is now gradually evolving into a model country for overcoming old divisions and developing into a peaceful, democratic and prosperous country”. The onus now lies on us all to work individually as well as collectively to maintain this momentum.  Let us bear it in mind that these elections will be a litmus test of our commitment to sustain this our hard won  peace and stability.

Cognizant of this, Government, for its part, has been working assiduously and painstakingly to put in place structures and policies to ensure free, fair and credible elections. A team of the Sierra Leone Country-Specific Configuration of the Peace Building Commission of the UN, after its recent visit to Sierra Leone to asses our preparedness for a free and fair elections reported positively on its return. The Chair, during a  Review Session at the UN reported “We are confident from a technical perspective that the preparations being made for the elections in Sierra Leone are professional and efficient and that the elections will be held in a transparent, free and fair method that will be understood by the people”. The team was particularly impressed with the Biometric system of registration, which they are sure, will help to minimise electoral malpractices and make the votes fair, accurate and credible.

It therefore behoves us all , Sierra Leoneans in every sphere we find ourselves, to do our best to make the elections successful and violent-free, and ensure that they are free, fair, credible and transparent in accordance with acceptable international standards.  Notwithstanding our turbulent past, we Sierra Leoneans are by nature a peaceful people; I have no doubt that we will each in our own way rise up to the challenge and explore all possibilities to emerge from it with flying colours.

Many commendable moves have indeed been and are being made by Government and stakeholders in all spheres to help us sustain our peace and stability, and help the country towards its development strides.

On the economic front, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are impressed with our performance.  The IMF Country Representative, Mrs. Malanga Kabedi M’buyi Mulango attested to this when she recently paid a courtesy call on President Koroma. A lot of progress has been made in priority areas under the “Agenda for Change”.  The health, mining, energy and agriculture sectors are witnessing rapid transformation. There are also visible improvement in the country’s infrastructure, evident in the construction of major roads and bridges, renovation of structures dilapidated by the war and construction of new facilities including but not limited to hospitals and business centres.

As you are all aware, there are also prospects of Sierra Leone soon becoming an oil producing country. During his New Year address to the nation, President Koroma gave an update when he said : “Forecasts for our country becoming an oil-producing nation are great.” He also gave some more good news by saying that  “We may soon become the largest per capita producer of iron ore in the world; we have landed the fibre optic cable to help revolutionalise the country’s IT architecture, we are attracting huge investments in agriculture.”

 

The Government has even set the machinery in motion to tackle one of the major challenges it faces in the area of youth unemployment. A National Youth Commission has now been established with the trusted mandate to seek the welfare and well-being of the youths, and facilitate the creation of skills training programs and employment opportunities.

 

On our role as a country in the United Nations, the recent telegram addressed by the Secretary-General to His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, on the occasion of our Independence Anniversary, says it all (Read)

 

In closing, I want to call on you all, my dear fellow countrymen and women, to take ownership of the destiny of our nation. Sierra Leone is the only country we have and only we Sierra Leoneans can develop our country with the help of our development partners of course. I therefore urge and implore you to become more committed and devoted to the socio-economic and political development endeavours of our country.

 

Let us resolve in our hearts to put the interest of our nation first. Let us all put away all negative and unproductive divisiveness and join hands together to help rebuild our country. The road ahead is full of challenges but as we change our attitudes and become more focused and more development-oriented, we will be able to overcome. And indeed we shall overcome, you USLO being the ” Shining Light For All ” to follow.

 

TO THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE!!

 

I wish you a Happy Independence Anniversary.

Pictorial Display : 51st Independence Anniversary Dance in New Jersey

Monday, April 30th, 2012

As promised our readers, we bring you the pictorial highlights of the  massive 51st Independence Anniversary Celebrations  Dance in New Jersey staged by the Sierra Leone Community in New Jersey ( SLCNJ ) on Saturday April 21, 2012.

The dance was held  at the Somerset-Bridgewater Hotel on 110 Davidson Avenue in Somerset . It  was jammed to capacity and unlike past practices, the music and dancing flowed uninterrupted this time. There were no speeches or side events; just continous dancing to the exhiliarating music. This made the dance one of the most enjoyable ever held in the Garden State. According to officials of SLCNJ, it was decided to make the dance an  all -action affair because speeches had already been during the big Parade and carnival held earlier during the day at the Naaman Williams Park in Somerset, NJ. This gave the DJ, Mr. Sly, the opportunity to prove his mettle as he kept dishing out the music that kept the dance floor packed and rocking all night.

SOME OF THE CHIEF PATRONS : FROM LEFT MR. JASABE AND MINISTER KABS-KANU AMONG OTHERS
The Chief Patron of the dance was the Minister Plenipotentiary of Sierra Leone to the United Nations , Hon. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu . The galaxy of distinguished personalities at the dance also included  the  SLC NJ Chair, Mr. Lamin Alharazim;  the Chairman of  the opposition  Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) North America, Mr. Jerry George , the President of SLPP New Jersey Mr. Saidu Amara ,  party stalwarts  Mr. Brima Alpha, Mr. Lansana Jasabe, Mr. Suliman Baryoh,  and several other officials  who will be announced later.
Top  members of the ruling  All People’s Congress ( APC ) New Jersey, including Mr. Foday Mansaray, Mr. Santigie Koroma, Dr. Abdul Rahman Kamara , Mr. Dauda Bangura , Ms. Susan Bona, Mr. Dauda Mansaray , Ms. Madina Rahman, Alhaji Noah , Mr. Suliman Kargbo and others.
FROM RIGHT : SLPP NA CHIEF JERRY GEORGE AND NJ OFFICIAL BRIMA ALPHA
The youth organization HOPE FOR SALONE officials led by their Chair, Mr. Nabie Tarawallie , Vice-President Albert Lassayo and other officials of the group were in attendance. Also present was the Chair of the SLPP Young Generation, Mr. Hindolo Barnett. The  Family Club of New Jersey, an organization in Jersey City,  was represented by a 12-man delegation led by their President , Madam Salaymatu Sesay , the Vice-President Ms. Mariatu Sesay, the Social Secretary, Mr. Ballah Kargbo and others. Ibrahim Kargbo of USLO New York was also present as did Mr. Bishop Manages jnr of the Creole Descendants Union. The Fulbe Organization was represented by Mr. Mamadu Jalloh.
TWO OF THE ORGANIZERS -FROM LEFT SUSAN BONA, WHO GRACIOUSLY PROVIDED THE CUISINE AND MS. MADINA RAHMAN
The MC was Madam Mariam Deen, an eloquent and engaging public speaker.
CELEBRANTS ENJOYING THEMSELVES AT THE BEGINNING OF THE DANCE
THE JAM-PACKED DANCE FLOOR
SLPP NJ PRESIDENT MR. SAIDU AMARA

© 2012, COCORIOKO. All rights reserved. – Discuss this and other related articles on the Salone Forum

 

Massive New Jersey Parade and Dance herald exciting 5Ist Independence Anniversary celebrations in Garden State

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Sierra Leoneans in New Jersey  last Saturday rebranded their country  with another exquisitely pulsating and action-packed   Independence Anniversary celebration  that  showcased the nation’s  exotic art and culture to the international world . The celebration started with a captivating  Sierra Leone  parade and carnival  in the streets of Franklin Township , Somerset  and ended with an entertaining  picnic at the Naaman Williams Park , followed by a massive dance later in the night at the Somerset Hotel.

 

The  carnival  and dance , which kicked off the 5ist Independence Anniversay in the U.S  shook  Somerset  and was another masterclass like last year’s and will be the talk of the town for years to come, thanks to the organizers , the Sierra Leone Community in New Jersey ( SLCNJ) made up of many organizations and the leading political parties , the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) and the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the People’s Movement for Democratic Change ( PMDC ).

UNISA THORLU CONTEH , WHO TRAVELLED ALL THE WAY FROM MARYLAND ( LEFT ) POSES WITH SULIMAN BARYOH , HOLDING THE FLAG, AND FODAY MANSARAY. ON THE FAR LEFT IS MADINA RAHMAN.

 

 

 

THE GRAND MARSHALS REVS. MANAGES AND KABS-KANU WAVING TO THE CROWD

Throngs of  dazzled Americans, Asians, Hispanics and Caribbean islanders  streamed out of their homes along the parade routes to watch the carnival  and see Sierra Leone culture and Pride on show. The electrifying  parade featured picturesque  floats  draped in green, white and blue with Sierra Leonean music booming over huge loudspeakers and masked devils that included an ojeh hunting society, kaykayray and fairie and  animated revellers dancing alongside the floats, bringing Central Franklin Township to a standstill for many hours.

With the two surprise Grand marshals , Sierra Leone’s Minister Plenipotentiary to the UN, Hon. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu and the eminent Bishop of the Coptic Church, Rev. PNK Manages , waving gracefully to the surging  crowds, the parade snaked its way through the principal  streets of Somerset to the park where the celebrations climaxed with performances by various artists , cultural groups and masked devils. In attendance were not only an illustrious galaxy of distinguished Sierra Leoneans from other states in the  Continental USA and Canada, but the Mayor of Franklin-Somerset, His Lordship Mr. Brian Levine, Deputy Mayor Phil Kramer and township officials.

THE MAYOR OF FRANKLIN RIDES WITH THE GRAND MARSHALS : FROM LEFT-DAVID VANDY , REV. MANAGES, MAYOR LEVINE, DEPUTY MAYOR KRAMER AND REV. KABS-KANU

If there were any lingering stereotypes about Sierra Leone, following the devastating civil war the country went through in the 1990s which led to negative publicity from the Western media  , these images have now been banished out of the minds of many  Americans  in this part of the country after last year’s Jubilee celebrations and this year’s 51st Anniversary jamboree, which have successfully projected Sierra Leone as a vibrant country with diverse cultures and passionate and respectable citizens who are very proud of their country. After a decade of ugly, pessimistic  TV and media pictures of Sierra Leone – of killings, amputations , destruction of infrastructure during the war, chronic suffering and poverty — another image of Sierra Leone that is  very impressive and positive is gradually taking over,  with curious people now interested enough in Sierra Leone to  make research of their own and learn that Sierra Leone was once a great nation , despite her small size and the socio-political and economic tribulations that befell her after Independence.

 COMMUNITY ELDER PA. AZIZ NABE POSES BY THE VEHICLE DRIVEN BY THE AMERICAN -BORN SPOUSE  OF MR. JULIUS BASSIE

 

 

SULIMAN KARGBO , ONE OF THE ORGANIZERS

The sight of Mayor Levine and his Deputy riding the lead float alongside the grand marshals and  joining them to wave  to crowds of excited onlookers lining the parade route  was a great joy to behold.

THE MC AT THE PARK CARNIVAL, MR. ABDULAI ABUBAKAR OF THE SLPP, WHO GAVE A GOOD PERFORMANCE

 

Among the participants  in the parade and picnic,  who  enjoyed themselves exceedingly,  were children of Sierra Leoneans born in the U.S, whose interest in the country of their parents and guardians has been been set alight by  the positive image the country has accrued over the years through splendid socio-economic and political  developments and  President Ernest Koroma’s annual “pilgrimage” to the U.S . to attend the UN General Assembly and  the thrilling celebrations that have attended  each and every one of them. Even the kids now know that their parents hail from a once-great nation that they are very proud of and that will soon hold abundant possibilities for them as it continues its amazing recovery from war.

FRANKLIN MAYOR BRIAN LEVINE GIVING HIS REMARKS DURING THE PICNIC

The Naaman Williams Park was already jampacked with revellers , amidst barbecuing of chickens and fish  and hawking of cold drinks , when the floats and the masked devils got there and the carnival at the park commenced  . Some schoolchildren , led by Madam Lasayo , sang  the American National Anthem , followed by Sierra Leone’s National Anthem  , sung  in throatful euphony by young and  multi-talented sculptor  Professor Richmond Garrick  . Rev. Dr. Manages offered the christian prayers while the muslim prayers were said by Sheik Mohamed Allie. The M.C , an articulate SLPP  member , Mr. Abdulai Abubakarr , then took over  the show and he dished out a good treat. He demonstrate excellent skills in communication.

YOUTH GROUP PERFORMS AT THE PICNIC

The welcome address was given by the Chairman of SLCNJ, Mr. Lamin Alharazim , after which the HSBCC Executive Director Mike Papas, whose organization had been of profound help in staging the two Independence Anniversary celebrations said a few words ; Deputy Mayor Kramer and Mayor Levine delivered statements during which  Mayor Levine hailed Sierra Leone’s recovery from war and the impressive progress she is making now .

Madam Madina Rahman then introduced the two Grand Marshals who each made brief remarks. Minister Plenipotentiary Kabs-Kanu thanked SLCNJ and participants for rebranding Sierra Leone in a positive light through the parade and divers cultural show . He outlined the progress Sierra Leone has made since it emerged  from war and said that apart from the infrastructural developments and efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, Sierra Leone now has one of the most thriving multi-party democracies in Africa and he dispelled fears that the forthcoming elections would be violent. He assured the crowd that Government has put in place structures to ensure not only a free and fair elections but peace and security during the polls. He told the crowd that President Ernest Koroma, a man of peace, has assured the nation and the diplomatic community that his government was committed to  free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.

MR. LAMIN ALHARAZIM

DR. ABDUL RAHMAN KAMARA

 

Dr. Abdul Rahman Kamara introduced the organization , FB3 , which,  through the instrumentality of Miss Jenneh Mustapha –daughter of Community Leader Mr. Ahmad Sanusi Mustapha –will be leaving for Sierra Leone to engage in benevolent services in the area of health care delivery. Dr. Rahman Kamara also introduced SLCNJ members and reserved a lot of praise for Messrs Foday Mansaray, Susan Bona,  Alharazim, Hadi Gabisi , the SLPP North American Branch leader Mr. Jerry George and New Jersey Chapter leader Mr. Saidu Amara, Melbourne Garber etc.etc. for their remarkable contribution to the SLCNJ and the planning of the Independence Anniversary.

The keynote speaker, popular broadcaster of VOA fame, Mr. David Vandi, was introduced by Madam Susan Bona . In his statement, Mr. Vandi called on parents and guardians and the relevant authorities to pay more attention to the young people and help them overcome juvenile delinquency and indiscipline.

Mr. Hindolo Barnet introduced the Youth who made a presentation,  followed by  performances from  the various artists and cultural groups . The Youth musical group called THE LOST KINGS sent the park wild with excitement and ovation, especially from the young ones who surged forward and rocked to the lyrics of the group. Also keeping the crowd on its toes was the cultural tap-dancer ,Papa O , whose magical display with his feet brought continous cheers. Also making star performances and thrilling the crowd were The Boys, Big Ray , the Sierra Leone Cultural Society, the Hunting, ogugu and faerie mask devils.

The vote of thanks was given by Mr. Foday Mansaray and thus ended another memorable parade and carnival .

DURING THE NIGHT, the SLCNJ staged their 51st Independence Celebrations Dance at the Somerset-Bridgewater Hotel on 110 Davidson Avenue in Somerset . The dance was jammed to capacity and unlike past practices, the music and dancing flowed uninterrupted this time. There were no speeches or side events; just continous dancing to the exhiliarating music.

Present at the dance were the Chairman of SLPP North America, Mr. Jerry George , the President of SLPP New Jersey Mr. Saidu Amara and party stalwart Mr. Brima Alpha.

WE WILL BRING YOU THE PICTORIAL DISPLAY OF THE DANCE TOMORROW. WE ARE CALLING ON THOSE WHO TOOK PICTURES OF THE EVENTS TO SEND THEM TO US AT KABBSKANU@AOL.COM . GRAND MARSHALL  KABS-KANU DID NOT TAKE PHOTOS BECAUSE IT WAS NOT IN CONSONANCE WITH HIS ROLE AT THE PARADE AND DANCE.

Written by KABS KANU

© 2012, COCORIOKO. All rights reserved. – Discuss this and other related articles on the Salone Forum

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NEWS FLASH : Sierra Leoneans shake New Jersey

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

The Garden State  is still reverberating from  the thrilling shake  it received yesterday  from  thousands of Sierra Leoneans who celebrated SIERRA LEONE DAY IN NEW JERSEY with a massive parade in the day and a jampacked 51st Independence Anniversary Ball in the night in what was yet another celebration of Sierra Leone pride in the United States.  A float parade with traditional dancing led by masked devils and the New Jersey Hunting Society marked an enjoyable 51st Independence Anniversary celebration . And the occasion was followed by a massive dance .

WE WILL BRING YOU A FULL REPORT AND MORE EXCITING PHOTOS IN OUR WRITE-UP TOMORROW. THIS IS JUST A NEWS FLASH. MEANWHILE, FEAST YOUR EYES ON A FEW PHOTOS OF THE PARADE :

 The hunting society dancing through one of the principal streets

One of the floats during the parade

ONE of the organizers Foday Mansaray –second from left–poses with the Grand Marshalls and another Sierra Leone

 MADINA RAHMAN -ANOTHER ORGANIZER–POSES IN FRONT OF ONE OF THE FLOATS

 

The surprise grand marshalls of the parade – From left Bishop P. N. Manages and Rev. W.L .Kabs-Kanu– in the lead float as the parade takes off

 

 

 

© 2012, COCORIOKO. All rights reserved. – Discuss this and other related articles on the Salone Forum

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Sierra Leone Day in New Jersey : Green, white and blue flags flutter in Somerset

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Every April 27 in Franklin Township is Sierra Leone Day. This was the result of a proclamation by the Franklin Township, Somerset , New Jersey last year , thanks to the remarkable work of the Sierra Leone Community in New Jersey. The 51st Independence Anniversary of Sierra Leone is being celebrated with pomp and pagentry like last year’s  , starting with a massive parade in the township today, Saturday April 21, 2012 and followed by the big Independence Anniversary Dance later tonight at the Somerset Hotel , on the opposite side of  the Ukranian Centre.

Sierra Leone’s national flags-The green, white and blue–are fluttering in the wind  in the business district of Somerset . This is a great achievement not only for Sierra Leoneans in New Jersey but for  the  country. This recognition in the United States is a reward for the industry, seriousness and  contribution of Sierra Leoneans  to the development of North America. That a whole state would give our country such a recognition is also a testament of the ability of Sierra Leoneans to excel  and live productive lives wherever they find themselves. It is also a recognition of the community development aspirations and skills of Sierra Leoneans in New Jersey.

WE BRING YOU A PICTORIAL OF THE SIERRA LEONE FLAGS FLYING IN SOMERSET, NEW JERSEY :

 

 

© 2012, COCORIOKO. All rights reserved. – Discuss this and other related articles on the Salone Forum

TOMORROW IS SIERRA LEONE’S DAY IN NEW JERSEY

Friday, April 20th, 2012

As the planning committee puts final finishing touches on arrangements ahead of tomorrow’s massive  51st .Independence Anniversary parade and dance, the public works  employees were busy hanging the Sierra Leone flags along the Parade route , signaling the beginning of the long -awaited day.
HAMILTON STREET, ONE OF THE PRINCIPAL STREETS OF SOMERSET , WITH SIERRA LEONE FLAGS FLYING
Speaking to the Chairman,  Mr Lamin Alharazim this morning, he was humble and thankful to all those who had worked so hard to see this come to pass. Dr Abdul  Rahman Kamara,  one of the organizers of the event , who also doubles as President of Sarbeh Inc,  will lay the groundwork, hopes and aspirations in his message tomorrow highlighting the short and long term visions of this Organization . Dr Kamara commented briefly that it is high time we move this community towards economic empowerment . Mr. Mansaray agrees with him that it will be the one thing that will complement growth and development in our communities here in the United States and back home.
The Chairman, Mr Lamin Alharazim,  concluded by saying  that the planning committee over the past two years has been diverse and composed of representatives across the board. He named  a few of the representatives from about twenty organizations that make up  SLCNJ  and represented by Dr. Abdul  Rahman Kamara, Dauda Bangura, Mr Melborne Garber , famed historical research and Structural Engineer who also doubles as President of NOSLINA; President of the Prince of Wales Old Student Association and so many others organizations  ; Mr. Rudolph Jackson , Dr. John Samba, Mr Jerry George, Ms. Susan Bona , Madina Rahman,  Mr Chernor Abdulai Ben Jalloh,  Mr Allieu Badara Kamara ,  Mr Jerry George, Ishmeal Taylor kamara,  Mr Busari Savage,  our own producer and movie director, Mr Abdul Gabisi,   our indefatiguable Secretary General who is currenlty nursing a broken leg due to an  automobile accident last week,; Mr Sulaiman Kargbo, Mr Mr Sulaiman  Bayoh, Mr Ibrahim koroma,  Mr Sanusi kargbo , Mr Dauda Jawara Mansaray and Hope for Salone-(the youth wing of the organization) who has been very instrumental in many ways to  keep our youths together and in check ; Alhaji Ibrahim Conteh, Imam of DAWATUL ISLAMIA (Alhaji Conteh is a foundation committee of  Sierra Leoneans’  first Islamic Center in New Jersey some twenty five years ago );  Alhaji Ibrahim  is a strong advocate for SLCNJ to take the initiative of togetherness for the betterment of Sierra Leoneans

Among the long list of dignitaries and invited guests heading to the Garden State this Saturday April 21st , 2012, 12 PM PROMPT  are Officials of Sierra Leone Embassy in Washington DC and also from the Sierra Leone Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. Notable members of the delegation will be local resident and former teacher at Franklin High school, the Publisher of Cocorioko.net newspaper  and now Minister Plenipotentiary and Coordinator of the African Union Committee of 10 African States on UN Security Council  representing Sierra Leone at the United Nations, H.E. Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu .  Among the expected high – powered invited guests will be include  the Surprise Grand Marshalls –  two well known members of our  community and around the world ( Guess who ? )
Mr. David Vandi of Voice of America will be our guest for the event and  keynote speaker for the Parade.
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Other very important guests  in attendance will be Sierra Leone Policy Watch founder Mr. Jesmed Sumah.  We will also have in our midst Madam Sarah Gulama , a  deserving , accomplished and yet humble woman ;  Famed Musicians Abu Whyte,  Salone Ismeal,  BIG RAY, SIDIKIE JABATEH ,PAPA O, D.J Sly and the entire crew at SLM-TV. We are also expecting the seasoned Performer, Professor  and lecturer,  Prof. Richmond Garrick.  Also expected to attend is Alhaji Saramadi Kabba, formerly of the Sierra Leone Daily Mail . The entire event will be captured on camera and Video,  thanks to the professional services of our camera man, Mr. Ahmad Mustapha.
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Other dignitaries will include local council and state official, the President and members of Newark African Commission, a full delegation from the National Organization of Sierra Leoneans in New York State , headed by President Mr Ahmed Deen Kargbo .
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Also ,  an array of different cultural groups will be in attendance to grace the occasion and to entertain us to the best of our satisfaction.  We will also have  our cultural experts in the planning committee Messrs Busari Savage and The big-man himself  and former detective BB,   formerly of the Sierra Leone Police. Also on our invited list is the anointed Man of God,  soon to be Bishop , the right Rev. Emmanuel Kuyateh, Bishop PNK Manages, Ms Agnes Banya,  a Clergy and community elder, Mr Alusine Deen- President American and Africa friendship society , BOSTON   and so many others individuals and organizations .
***********
We will be bring you live  our Parade route , COURTESY OF SLMTV AND ITS PRODUCERS AND SPONSORS .
Keep a date with this newspaper .
Written by  Foday Mansaray
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP , SOMERSET, NEW JERSEY
ABDUL HARDY GABISI
SECRETARY GENERAL
SLCNJ

 

___________________________

FLASHBACK : LAST YEAR’S CELEBRATIONS

Culled from Cocorioko

_______________________________

The world at their feet : New Jerseyans stage what is being described as best jubilee

celebrations so far

 

April 24, 2011 | Filed under: Breaking News,Diaspora,Headlines | Posted by: 

 

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By KABS KANU :

 

Whenever Sierra Leoneans in New Jersey  get together to stage a function, it often turns out to be the best. When President Ernest Koroma, who was then opposition leader , brought his electioneering sensitization and campaign programs to the United States between 2004 and 2006, it was New Jerseyans that  provided the best rallies and dinners where the then aspiring President’s blueprint for the present transformation of Sierra Leone was showcased to the whole world. It was in New Jersey that the erstwhile opposition leader conducted his first newspaper interview about his plans and dreams for Sierra Leone. It was New Jersey that staged the first town meeting where President Koroma stirred hundreds of Sierra Leoneans about the marvellous changes taking place in the country under his leadership.

 

 

LAMIN ALHARAZIM : CHAIR OF THE PLANNING COMMITTEE

 

It was in New Jersey that political experts saw the tremendous and magnificent outpouring of  passion and enthusiasm for the future leader of Sierra Leone that they predicted that “This man is headed for glory :The next time he talks to Sierra Leoneans , he might do so from the throne at State House ! !” . Even outside the political sphere, New Jerseyans have staged the best Sierra Leonean weddings and birthday sessions in the United States.

 

 

SIERRA LEONE PRIDE IS CELEBRATED IN NEW JERSEY AS ORGANIZERS DANCE ON THE STAGE DURING THE PICNIC AS ABOU WHYTE OF ORCHESTRE MUYEI FAME ROCKS THE CROWD

 

Yesterday, living up to their billing as perhaps the best organizers of social functions, Sierra Leoneans in New Jersey had the world at their feet as they staged what is being described as perhaps the best 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations so far in Continental USA. As people who were absent from yesteday’s celebrations in New Jersey are being told, they missed the treat of a lifetime. They missed seeing history being made right under their noses .

 

 

MADINA RAHMAN AND ALLIE BADARA KAMARA

 

The Sierra Leone Community has established an amazing and fascinating foothold in New Jersey, which admittedly in the past was the land of their afflictions ,  a strange country where they arrived to pursue ambitions of self-advancement and had to work  the soles of their feet off to establish themselves.  Today, many of them are contributing brilliantly to the socio-economic and political development of New Jersey. Today, they have moved a significant step up by having  the national flag of Sierra Leone  flying high in the state and there is a proclamation that has made every April 27 Sierra Leone’s Day in New Jersey. Things cannot get any better  than this for Sierra Leone in New Jersey and anybody who loves his/her country and is proud of her nation should have been there.

 

 

The Independence Anniversary Parade and Picnic overcame earlier threats  of disruption by pouring rain ( It ceased later ) to become a celebration of epic proportions with Sierra Leonean organizers  making their fellow citizens proud of their nation once more .We have our differences in New Jersey but  such differences must never stop us from giving credit where credit is due. Tears of pride and joy came to my eyes yesterday morning when I drove through Franklin and saw the green-white-and-blue national flag of Sierra Leone proudly flying aloft in the cool, crisp wind  on many poles of the business street of Central New Jersey–Hamilton Street. One of the organizers, Mr. Foday Mansaray, told COCORIOKO : “I mobilized some young boys to work with me and hang all those flags on the streets last night . We wanted today to be truly Sierra Leone’s Day in New Jersey and we succeeded ”

 

 

THE PARTY WAS SO CROWDED THAT YOUNG GIRLS HAD TO SIT AT THE EDGE OF THE STAGE

 

A  fresher at Fourah Bay College in 1972  emotionally lost it all while describing the enjoyment on Mount Aureol in the FBC of old glory when asked to describe life on the campus . He told the AUREOL TIMES : “It is a kaleidoscope of endless varieties  ! ! ” So was it in New Jersey yesterday. It was a kaleidoscope of endless varieties. From the parade to the Picnic and cultural show to the big dance in the night, New Jerseyans delivered a 50th Independence Anniversary classic that will not be easily surpassed by other states.

 

 

THE CROWDED PICNIC AND CULTURAL SHOW

 

No wonder organizers , the Chairman of the Planning Committee, Mr. Lamin Alharazim; his deputy , my former classmate  at CKC, Bo from Forms 1-5 , Mr. Joe N’gaojia ; Madam Madina Rahman , Susan Bona, Khadi Sillah, Messrs Abdul Hardy Gabisi, Mohamed Aziz Nabe,  Busairi Savage, Jerry George,  Sanusi Kamara, Suliman Kargbo , Dr. Abdul Rahman  Kamara, Foday Mansaray, Dauda Shekou Bangura, Alhaji  Allie Badara Kamara   were on top of the world during yesterday’s memorable programs. They deserved to be , because they successfully organized an occasion which has put Sierra Leone on the map in America.

 

 

‘HUNTING DEBUL’  AND SUPPORTERS DANCING AT THE PICNIC

 

Thankfully, COCORIOKO  is producing a  video documentary of yesterday’s events which will help to keep these functions fresh in the minds of Sierra Leone and for children yet unborn to see how their predecessors created whatever benefits will emerge from the establishment of a Sierra Leonean constituency through these jubilee celebrations in New Jersey.

 

 

SOME OF THE ORGANIZERS : FROM LEFT ; JOE NGAOJIA , MADINA RAHMAN AND DAUDA BANGURA

 

As for the dance, it was one of the most jampacked occasions ever in New Jersey. The hall was so crowded that there was hardly elbow room. Young girls had to sit on each others’ laps or on the base of the stage. The patron tables on the big stage were all filled up and you had to time your steps to avoid treading on the feet of other people. The last time I saw such a jam session was during those frenetic and memorable nights at the Adjai Crowther Amphitheatre during freshers’ dances at FBC. The music was exhiliarating and kept the holiday crowd on its feet constantly. Everybody was in jubilant mood and it was one celebration they will never forget.

 

Yesterday’s events cannot  be effectively described in a single article and so COCORIOKO will produce its reports in series, covering the Flag-raising ceremonies in Franklin Township and Newark , the Parade and Picnic and the big dance. Keep a date with Sierra Leone’s biggest and most widely read newspapers. Also watch our pictorial display in series too.

 

 

SUSAN BONA AND HADJA POSE FOR COCORIOKO

 

 

SULIMAN KARGBO

 

* If you helped to organize these programs and your name is not mentioned ,please do not despair. All of you will be featured.

 

 

FROM LEFT : FODAY MANSARAY AND BEN JALLOH

 

BELOW : SANUSI KAMARA

 

© 2012, COCORIOKO. All rights reserved. – Discuss this and other related articles on the Salone Forum

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One Response to “TOMORROW IS SIERRA LEONE’S DAY IN NEW JERSEY”

  1. Paramount Chief Bai Kurr Kanborthor IIApril 21, 2012Edit

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    First Peter 3:7
    Kanaborthor II

The Sierra Leonean Community of New Jersey celebrates 51st Independence Anniversary on April 21 2012

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Franklin Township, Somerset , New Jersey, April 10, 2012 -The Sierra Leonean community of New Jersey yesterday night kicked off their 51st Independence Anniversary Celebrations  in front of the Franklin Town council wherein the township proclaimed 27th April  Sierra Leone day in Franklin township. Somerset New Jersey

The climax of the day’s  event was marked with the issuance of a Permit by the Town Council which paved the way for the Sierra Leonean Community of New Jersey to go on with the schedule parade.

READ THE FULL RELEASE :

 

THE SIERRA LEONEAN COMMUNITY OF NEW JERSEY CELEBRATE 51ST   INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY SLATED FOR -APRIL 21ST -2012

Franklin Township, Somerset , New Jersey, April 10, 2012 -The Sierra Leonean community of New Jersey yesterday night kicked off their 51st Independence Anniversary Celebrations  in front of the Franklin Town council wherein the township proclaimed 27th April  Sierra Leone day in Franklin township. Somerset New Jersey

The climax of the day’s  event was marked with the issuance of a Permit by the Town Council which paved the way for the Sierra Leonean Community of New Jersey to go on with the schedule parade.

The 51st Independence Anniversary Dance will immediately follow the parade .The dance will take place at Grand Ballroom of the Somerset-Bridgewater Hotel (directions)http://www.hotelplanner.com/Hotels/135663/Reservations-Crowne-Plaza-Somerset-Bridgewater-Somerset-110-Davidson-Ave-08873-Opposite Ukrainian Hall on Davidson Ave, Franklin Township, Somerset, New Jersey.
DONATIONS:
Single ticket…………….$30(Thirty dollars) Patron Ticket…………..$60 (Sixty dollars) Single-Couples$100(one hundred dollars) Chief Patron ticket ….. By donation Grand Chief patron …..By donation
Here are brief remarks from some executives and members regarding the 51st independence anniversary Parade and Dance:
On the issue of tickets for the Dance:
The Secretary General Mr. Gabisi is calling on all Participating Organization of SLCNJ to contact Mr. Sulaiman Kargbo anytime today to pick up their tickets for distribution to their respective members
On the issue of the Parade:
Mr Lamin Alharazim, Chairman of the organization reiterated that he is already getting calls from all over the United States.The Chairman concluded that “I expect a similar turnout for the Parade- especially with the support we are getting from our youths and women organizations.
On the issue of cultural performances:
Mr B.B one of the organizers of the event, a former undercover agent of Sierra Leone police and long time cultural socialist has assured everyone that they will be overwhelm with surprises  on this memorable day -April 21st 2012 (PARADE 12 Midday- 7PM # Dance PM to 3AM. Come ready to dance .lonta!!!
On the issue of side attractions and entertainment
Mr Busari Savage the guru of Sierra Leone culture- now Movie actor and producer at Medish and Aramak Golden production added(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKP8EzEkR4Q&feature=related) . In my capacity as Chairman of the Parade Committee, we have put  together  the best DJ’ Team within our community to give us electrifying music from our motherland and more .There  will be plenty of food and fun attractions for the family packed with cultural performances from renowned Sierra Leonean musicians and cultural performers from a global perspective that will keep everyone spell-bound,He added.
Mr Lamin Alharazim summed it all  by saying we definitely going to have surprise packages that will rejuvenate everyone commitment to their patriotic duties as Sierra Leoneans.
FOR TICKETS SALES OR DONATIONS
Mr. Sanusi Kamara    732 621 3763 Mr Sulaiman Kargbo.732 266 7522
Additional Information or Directions
LUCINDA (k) Williams   7329005964                Hindolo  Bannett               8485654783       
Busari Savage              7329400191                  Mariatu Sesay                         
LAMIN ALLARAZIM       7323090825                 Brima Alpha                     7328011900      
ABDUL GABISI             7325522390                  Allie Badara Kamara        8482286909         
SULAIMAN K BAYOH    6145373408                  Saidu Amara                    7328742532
SUSAN BONA               5709262669                Gerald Demby                   7327636972 
ALHAJI NOAH               2016161503                  Dr Abdulraman Kamara 9082960108
Ibrahim koroma           6095326012                   Mariam Deen                   6098658526
Christo Davies              7329011243                   Memuna Kabbay              7322130979  
                                                                           
Log on; Franklin township proclamation ceremony:http http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl2hBhFnoXA

#AOLMsgPart_1_63fce6bf-b3f1-4238-a98f-e35267730878 td{color: black;} #AOLMsgPart_1_63fce6bf-b3f1-4238-a98f-e35267730878 #AOLMsgPart_1_4564a372-1252-4aad-9d8d-4f3d43ce01ef td{color: black;} #AOLMsgPart_1_63fce6bf-b3f1-4238-a98f-e35267730878 #AOLMsgPart_1_4564a372-1252-4aad-9d8d-4f3d43ce01ef .AOLWebSuite .AOLPicturesFullSizeLink { height: 1px; width: 1px; overflow: hidden; } #AOLMsgPart_1_63fce6bf-b3f1-4238-a98f-e35267730878 #AOLMsgPart_1_4564a372-1252-4aad-9d8d-4f3d43ce01ef .AOLWebSuite a {color:blue; text-decoration: underline; cursor: pointer} #AOLMsgPart_1_63fce6bf-b3f1-4238-a98f-e35267730878 #AOLMsgPart_1_4564a372-1252-4aad-9d8d-4f3d43ce01ef .AOLWebSuite a.hsSig {cursor: default}

Written by Foday Mansaray -foday4salone@gmail.com
distribution and Public Relations Support. credit :cocorioko.net, newrisingun.net ,Sierra express media &
Sierra Leone broadcasting corporation- log on:http://www.slbc.sl/
For media inquiries contact:
Abdul H Gabisi
Secretary General
Public Affairs support
Tel: Mobile: 7325522390 gabsabdul@mail.com

UN Security Council stresses that Sierra Leone Government has the primary responsibility to protect and defend the country

Friday, April 13th, 2012

UN Security Council stresses that Sierra Leone Government has the primary responsibility to protect and defend the country thumbnail

April 12, 2012 – The United Nations Security Council has emphasized the Sierra Leone Government’s “primary responsibility  for peacebuilding, security and long-term development in the country.”  In a statement from the President of the Security Council to conclude the recent quarterly session on the situation in Sierra Leone, the Security Council also noted “the steady progress achieved so far by the national authorities and people of Sierra Leone in a number of areas including national reconciliation, the promotion of gender equality and the preparation for national and local elections on 17 November 2012.”

H.E ERNEST KOROMA : PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF SIERRA LEONE : UN SECURITY COUNCIL SAYS HIS GOVERNMENT HAS THE PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THE NATION

Permanent Representative Ambassador Shekou M. Touray said today that the statement means that the primary responsibility for maintaining peace and security in the country rests with the government. Diplomatic sources interpreted this statement to mean an expression of support from the UN Security Council for measures the government has taken to protect the lives and properties of the Sierra Leonean people and foreigners within her borders.

The President of the Security Council also acknowledged ” the statement of the Government of Sierra Leone on 3 April 2012 clarifying its position regarding the arms delivered to the Sierra Leone Police and the Council underscored ” the importance for Sierra Leone’s national authorities to respond proportionately to threats to the security of all citizens in Sierra Leone.” Another diplomat versed in the language of UN diplomacy told COCORIOKO that this was also an expression of support for the government’s right to protect and defend the country against threats to her security , using proportionate force.

This latest development in the UN Security Council also means that the Council did not view unfavourably the recent arms importation by the Sierra Leone Government . In fact , the statement also seems to acknowledge that the Sierra Leone security forces had been faring well when it  called upon the Government “to ensure that its security forces remain committed to upholding human rights and applicable international law. Since the end of the war, Sierra Leone has trained security forces that are among of the most disciplined in Africa.

Stating that the 2012 elections are important “for consolidation of peace and security in Sierra Leone “, the Council called upon “all political parties to engage constructively in an honest and open dialogue aimed at furthering national cohesion.” The Council also called ”on the Government of Sierra Leone, all political parties as well as other stakeholders to intensify their efforts to foster an environment that is conducive to the holding of peaceful, transparent, free and fair elections.” Further, ”The Council calls on the leadership of the political parties to undertake cross-party confidence building measures, promote political participation and non-violence among their membership and ensure the full adherence to due process of law and to the recommendations of the 2 April 2009 Joint Communiqué, which inter alia calls for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints Committee to reinforce the neutrality and professionalism of the Police, and the Political Parties Code of Conduct ” .

This very favourable Security Council Report on Sierra Leone was distorted and given a negative twist by the Reuters News Agency which came out with the totally misleading headline : UN Warns Sierra Leone but the issue has been addressed by COCORIOKO in its editorial titled : The coverage of African issues by the Western and foreign media is disgraceful to accurate journalism .

The Security Council also laid to rest the Michael Schulenberg issue and urged “the Secretary General to promptly appoint a successor”.

HERE BELOW IS THE FULL STATEMENT FROM THE SECURITY COUNCIL

At the meeting of the Security Council, held on 12 April 2012 in connection with the Council’s consideration of the item entitled “The situation in Sierra Leone”, the President of the Security Council made the following statement on behalf of the Council:

  1. The Security Council welcomes the latest report of the Secretary-General dated 14 March 2012 (S/2012/160) on the situation in Sierra Leone and the activities of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL). The Council welcomes the briefing provided by the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General (ERSG) in Sierra Leone, Mr. Michael von der Schulenburg on 22 March 2012. The Council reaffirms its support for continuing efforts to consolidate peace in that country.
  2. The Security Council emphasises that the Government of Sierra Leone bears primary responsibility for peacebuilding, security and long-term development in the country. The Council notes the steady progress achieved so far by the national authorities and people of Sierra Leone in a number of areas including national reconciliation, the promotion of gender equality and the preparation for national and local elections on 17 November 2012. The Council emphasises the importance of these elections for consolidation of peace and security in Sierra Leone.
  3. The Security Council calls upon all political parties to engage constructively in an honest and open dialogue aimed at furthering national cohesion. The Council calls on the Government of Sierra Leone, all political parties as well as other stakeholders to intensify their efforts to foster an environment that is conducive to the holding of peaceful, transparent, free and fair elections. The Council calls on the leadership of the political parties to undertake cross-party confidence building measures, promote political participation and non-violence among their membership and ensure the full adherence to due process of law and to the recommendations of the 2 April 2009 Joint Communiqué, which inter alia calls for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints Committee to reinforce the neutrality and professionalism of the Police, and the Political Parties Code of Conduct. The Council believes that these steps are essential to ensure public and international confidence in Sierra Leone’s democratic process.
  4. The Security Council acknowledges the statement of the Government of Sierra Leone on 3 April 2012 clarifying its position regarding the arms delivered to the Sierra Leone Police. The Council underscores the importance for Sierra Leone’s national authorities to respond proportionately to threats to the security of all citizens in Sierra Leone. The Council calls upon the Government to ensure that its security forces remain committed to upholding human rights and applicable international law.
  5. The Security Council calls on the Independent Media Commission to proactively monitor the media and ensure compliance with the code of conduct for the media and calls on the national authorities to address the administrative and financial challenges facing the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation.
  6. The Security Council commends the contribution of UNIPSIL and the UN Country Team to the peacebuilding and development priorities of Sierra Leone, and in particular through the integrated UN Joint Vision. The Council commends the achievements of ERSG von der Schulenburg in Sierra Leone and urges the Secretary General to promptly appoint a successor.
  7. The Security Council continues to emphasize the important role of the regional organisations such as the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States and the Mano River Union in supporting Sierra Leone to achieve its peacebuilding, security and long-term development goals. The Council acknowledges the work of the Transnational Organised Crime Unit and calls on Sierra Leone’s authorities to work with its neighbours and regional partners in order to intensify their joint efforts to consolidate regional peace and security, including through tackling the challenges posed by drug trafficking and organised crime.
  8. The Security Council acknowledges the role of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) in supporting peacebuilding efforts in Sierra Leone, including in addressing the priority area of youth employment. The Council urges the PBC to continue working in support of UNIPSIL and the UN Country Team.

The Security Council remains actively seized of this matter.

Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, Minister Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN

– See more at: http://www.sierraexpressmedia.com/?p=38537#sthash.RiIQ0TwG.dpuf

Special Commentary : NATCOM and Sierra Leone’s Agenda for Change

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

 

 By Abdulai Bayraytay :

 It was in the morning of March 30 this year going through my daily routine of shuffling through daily newspaper publications when I stumbled upon the eye-catching headline ‘poor quality service”. After going through the 20 or so newspapers, my mind was still glued on that headline. Then the trouble started all over again as I had to reshuffle all the dailies once more to get the meat therein.

ABDULAI BAYRAYTAY

My patience of going through the papers paid off:  “…the National Telecommunications Company (NATCOM) views the deteriorating quality of service (QoS) provided by mobile operators particularly on the Airtel network…”, part of the press release issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) and published in the March 30, 2012 edition of one of Sierra Leone’s leading newspapers, “The “Exclusive”newspaper, stated. I literally jumped like someone receiving manna from Heaven not so much because one of the networks operating in Sierra Leone in filling the void left following the country’s civil war and the attendant infrastructural destruction, but for the fact that in a long time a regulatory body like NATCOM could stand tall and say it as it to a multimillion company like Airtel that if it reneges on its mandate to serve customers with professionalism or risk penalties.

To say that poor service delivery in our country, especially by the multitude of multinational corporations doing business in our country would be an understatement. Without sounding as an incessant complainer, I had on several occasions mustered the courage and politely requested many a waitress at a beach bar to serve me some water after a thirty-minute wait, for a customer service representative of one of the many spiraling mobile networks to please reduce the deafening volume of some Nigerian movie playing on the background, or some gum-cracking chewer juxtaposing Krio and English thereby further adding to the frustration of not getting the service one deserves. Yes, this is Africa, Sierra Leone for that matter wherein, going for the least service delivery seems to be the norm rather than the exception.

And this is where the NATCOM deserves some acclamation not so much because it reminded GSM network providers in Sierra Leone, singling out Airtel, for some schooling on the Telecommunications Act of 2006 as amended in 2009 about their responsibility to customers through the provision of quality service, but by unmistakably reminding them to “…redouble their efforts in restoring an efficient service desired and deserved by consumers within 21 days failure which a penalty would be levied…”

This bold move by NATCOM clearly resonates with the country’s agenda for change; a change that rekindles hope in Sierra Leoneans that with the right leadership so far provided by President Koroma our country could be the pride and envy of not only the sub-region, but the world at large as already evidenced with the rapid and tangible infrastructural development and institutional reforms the government is presently undertaking.

The President, cognizance of the fact that for the agenda for change to germinate into the agenda for prosperity is more than determined to identify square pegs for square holes like he has done in the case of Siray Timbo, Chairman of NATCOM, whose singular decision to stand by consumers against the poor service delivery Airtel provides of late would send the clear message to other service providers that the days of compromise are over. This is where the expectation is that other heads of regulatory bodies would pick a leaf from Mr. Siray Timbo at NATCOM in taking to task those service providers that have taken their customers for granted amidst poor service delivery.

This, to say the least, is what every other potential investor would want to hear, just as how many a pollster have forecast a decisive re-election victory for President Koroma in the forthcoming November 17 presidential elections because of the rapid transformation in the provision of electricity and energy, free health care, restructuring of the educational system, food security and, of course, the gigantic infrastructural development across the country. That “the pa dae wok” (meaning “the President is working”) has therefore undoubtedly become the mantra on the streets of the country.