Banjul, The Gambia, Thursday 21 February 2019 – His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has met the Sierra Leonean community in The Gambian capital, Banjul, and assured them that the future of Sierra Leone is bright.
Welcoming President Bio and his delegation, Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner to The Gambia, Mrs Lulu Sheriff, expressed excitement at the President’s visit for the first time since his election and confirmed that the Sierra Leonean community had been very supportive to her administration since she took up the new office.
She noted that: “We are very proud as Sierra Leoneans here because we hear news of your tireless efforts in developing the educational sector and, above all, the political you have demonstrated by giving to the Anti-Corruption Commission support they need to perform their mandate and recover monies belonging to the country”.
High Commissioner Sheriff, however, promised to continue working amicably with the Sierra Leonean community in The Gambia so that they can contribute meaningfully to the development of Sierra Leone.
Chairman of the All People’s Congress (APC) branch in the Gambia, Alimamy Dumbuya, welcomed President Bio in Banjul and confessed to the spate of development back home, adding that he was particularly in support of the Commissions of Inquiry, now in progress to ensure political accountability.
“On behalf of the APC in The Gambia, I want to congratulate you, Your Excellency, for the Free Quality Education you have introduced in Sierra Leone. This will be the beginning of Sierra Leone regaining her lost glory of being the Athens West of Africa. I also want to congratulate you on your effort in fighting corruption, which has caused the backwardness of Sierra Leone. The APC in the Gambia is in support of the Commissions of Inquiry. It is timely because many Sierra Leoneans are in other countries as a result of corruption and embezzlement by state operatives. We just want you to follow the process so that it will be free and fair,” he said.
President of the Sierra Leonean Community in The Gambia, Wahid Thomas, extended appreciation to President Bio for visiting the Sierra Leonean Community and stated that for the past six years they hadn’t the opportunity to meet their country’s President as a union.
He observed that: “The Sierra Leonean Community here is following your leadership, Your Excellency. We are proud that there is now financial discipline and assured service delivery. We are now hopeful that whenever we return home we will meet a transformed Sierra Leone”.
In his inspiring address to the Sierra Leonean Community, His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio showed happiness for the support by his fellow compatriots, even in a foreign land. He particularly thanked the APC branch in The Gambia, adding that every patriotic Sierra Leonean would accept the Commissions of Inquiry that were meant to put an end to impunity and greed by people who should be making life comfortable for their fellow citizens.
“I have introduced the Free Quality Education for the country to regain our records in education, not only in Africa but also in the world. In this twenty-first century, education is the bedrock to matching up with other developed nations. We were known for our strength in education, but bad governance and impunity have destroyed every aspect of our country,” he said.
The President noted that just in ten months of fiscal discipline and dedicated leadership, the international reputation of the country was gradually being restored after the World Bank and International Monetary Fund lost confidence in the past government. He disclosed that they were now back with their support to the new administration, adding that the country could not afford to lag behind any further.
President Bio also assured the Sierra Leonean Community that the establishment of the Commissions of Inquiry was neither to witch hunt anybody nor was it meant to target a set of people or tribe. He emphasised that the judicial inquiries were purposely established for the past regime to give an account of their stewardship and most importantly to challenge the current administration to show commitment and responsibility in their governance.
“I was pleased when the President of The Gambia told me, during our bilateral discussion, that the Sierra Leonean Community here is the best behaved of foreigners in his country. My duty here, therefore, is to inspire you to join the transformation process of our country. I am also assuring you all that the monies that will be recovered by the ACC and the Commissions of Inquiry will go to the development of the education sector and the healthcare delivery system,” he assured.
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