November 27, 2018
Sierra Leoneans domiciled in Zurich, Switzerland, have hosted the new Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva and Switzerland, Dr. Lansana Gberie, to a welcome luncheon organised by the Sierra Leonean community living in Zurich, Bern and St. Gallan.
“We are here to serve you as Sierra Leoneans,” remarked Dr. Gberie. “We are new appointees and we are very happy and willing to reach out to all Sierra Leoneans living in Switzerland. We are here representing His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio, the Government and people of Sierra Leone irrespective of political party affiliation.”
“The government’s agenda is premised on a ‘New Direction’ and the overarching aim is improve standard of living of every Sierra Leonean. Our immediate emphasis is free quality education for everyone. Our commitment to public health is another. In fact, we see a link between the two. An educated populace is invariably a healthier one”, he added.
Addressing the meeting, Deputy Ambassador Samuel Saffa outlined the Mission’s priority areas as building and strengthening ties between Sierra Leone and Switzerland as well as to ease visa challenges faced by Sierra Leoneans visiting Switzerland for meetings and conferences.
Mr. Hamid Mansaray, a longtime resident who has built a school in his native Yamandu in Bo District and a mosque in his paternal Kamabia District, was the chief facilitator of the Zurich meeting.
Dr. Charles Senessie, one of the organisers of the event, expressed his gratitude and remarked that the evening was the first between the Sierra Leone community in Switzerland to meet and interact with their representatives to UN in Geneva. Dr. Senesie recently took a team of medical doctors to perform surgery and other health services in several parts of Sierra Leone.
Also in attendance was constituency 003 Kailahun District MP, Hon. Hindolo M. Gevao and Honourable George Edward, MP for constituency 097 in Moyamba District. The two were in Switzerland to attend a Human Rights Committee meeting in Geneva, and offered to travel with the ambassador to Zurich to brief Sierra Leoneans on the work of Parliament.
In his address, Hon. George Edward, who is also one of the youngest lawmakers in the current Parliament, briefed his compatriot in Switzerland on the progress made at home. He cited, among other things, the free quality education, availability of regular electricity supply, and construction of roads and bridges.
Hon. Gevao said that: “Despite problems, let us work together, the effort we are making to provide free quality education is for the benefit of all.” He outlined the progress made by the government of President Julius Maada Bio in several sectors of agriculture, economy and the sustainability of electricity supply. He declared that “Government is able to pay salaries on time. Revenue collection is being put into proper use to run the government and corruption is minimal, thanks to the Anti-Corruption commission.”
Meanwhile, Ambassador Dr. Gberie urged the Sierra Leone community in Switzerland to make use of the embassy and promised to continue with more outreach and events to serve the Sierra Leonean populace in that country.