February 20, 2015
The Speaker of Parliament and the leadership of the House on Wednesday 18th February met with Ms. Helen Clark, the visiting Chair of the United Nations Development Group – consisting of the heads of all UN funds, programmes and departments working on development issues. The meeting was held at Committee Room 1 in Parliament.
In welcoming Ms. Clark, Speaker Sheku B.B Dumbuya said the envoy had been a teacher, legislator, Minister of Government, Prime Minister of New Zealand, and now Head of UNDP programmes.
He said Ms. Clark had assiduously carried herself with unblemished distinction and that her achievements had been incalculable by endearing herself to her people and country; and now helping the world with development programmes and policies.
He said certain needs of Parliament would be communicated to the visiting UNDP head through UNDP CTA-Parliament, and PACO; whilst describing her as a consummate politician.
In her response, Ms. Clark said the purpose of her visit was to assist the country to end the Ebola outbreak, and also to help in its post-Ebola recovery programmes as there was light at the end of the tunnel when the virus would have been contained and eradicated.
She voiced her optimism that Sierra Leone would conquer the Ebola virus “because of the leadership skills demonstrated by His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma in his social mobilization and sensitization drive”, calling on MPs, Paramount Chiefs, local and international partners to continue to lend their support until the virus was finally defeated.
She spoke about prospective meetings to be held by international partners to assist the Ebola-hit countries recover from the devastating economic shocks, livelihood programmes, care for children orphaned by the disease, and the reopening of schools.
In another development, Speaker Dumbuya yesterday (19th February) announced the presence of the Right Hon. Baroness Hayman, Crossbench Member of the House of Lords who was officially in the House to witness firsthand the parliamentary proceedings.
Baroness Hayman was recognized with a standing ovation and applause by MPs. She later met with the leadership of Parliament, the office of the Clerk, the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus, PACO, and UNDP CTA-Parliament.