By PEL Koroma,Embassy of Sierra Leone,Washington, DC
At the Fairmont Hotel – George Town – Washington, DC , President Brigadier Rtd Dr. Julius Maada Bio confidently assured Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora at a Town Hall meeting that he is determined to provide the leadership for the country, but for him to be successful , the people of Sierra Leone needs to work with him. He said he will propose development programs as the leader of the country but it is incumbent on all patriotic Sierra Leoneans to embrace his agenda of development.
President Bio challenged his critics to look at what he has delivered for the country in the last five years, including the free quality education that has increased the accessibility for over 3 million pupils in Sierra Leone, free of cost text books, and executing the school feeding program in the country. President Bio banks on his successes in the fight against corruption, as well as the repeal of the seditious libel law in Sierra Leone. He reiterated that his leadership has reduced mortality rate in the country, and that his government have passed into law the gender empowerment bill.
His Excellency President Bio went on to say that it was deliberate that he has to appoint young people in his cabinet. In his vision, he envisaged that in the next five years, Sierra Leoneans should be able to feed themselves through his Feed Salone project. He said Sierra Leone has all it takes to feed itself by increasing on agricultural activities, and improvement on the infrastructure needed. President Bio assured the diaspora that his government will continue with the gains made in the free quality education, where the government’s human capital development has been recognized by the United Nations, a reason why he co-Chaired the Education program with the UN Secretary General Antonio Gueteres on consolidating the gains and reforms on education.
He further admonished the diaspora that his government will increase job facilities in the country, and expand on the economy. The President of Sierra Leone asserted to the diaspora that their techniques are needed. He emphasized on digital improvement in the country for the youths, and skills training.
President Bio said his government will continue expanding on infrastructural development. He cited that the Lungi bridge project is still on the agenda, and he implored all Sierra Leoneans that the Lungi bridge project should not be politicized, and that he will ensure that the bridge is constructed for the benefit of Sierra Leoneans. He told his audience that his next five years will embark on transforming the public sector. He said the public sector need’s to be re- engineered, and he prevailed on the diaspora to align all their help towards the five pillars of his development agenda.
Additionally, President Bio appealed for social cohesion that has been damaged by politics. He mentioned that Sierra Leoneans should build trust in their institutions, bringing to the notice of the audience that the opposition APC upon losing elections refused to go to court. And to him, the opposition has no proof of vote rigging. Instead , he said the opposition APC came to the United States tarnishing the image of the country.
President Bio said though there are difficult times, yet, he has continued paying salaries on time. He finally said that his government is not discriminatory, saying that all Sierra Leoneans are needed to play their own parts. He said as a member of the UN Security Council, he will be chairing the world august body, and it is a laurel for Sierra Leone.
The Town Hall meeting was chaired by Ambassador Sidique Abou-Bakarr Wai, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the United States of America. In the audience were U.S. State Officials and businessmen.