Deputy Chief of Mission in USA statement at flag hoisting ceremony in Ohio
Statement by HE Ibrahim S Conteh, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Sierra Leone to the United States during the flag hoisting ceremony in Ohio in honor of the 51st Independence Anniversary of the Republic of Sierra Leone. (Photo: HE Ibrahim S Conteh making his address)
Your Excellencies, Distringuished Ladies and Gentlemen, All protocols observed
Fifty-one years ago on 27th April 1961, the People of Sierra Leone unfurled the Green, White and Blue flag, guaranteeing for all eternity a nation’s right to determine its own destiny. Today, I am greatly honored to witness the hoisting of my national flag in no other place but in the great State of Ohio. It is indeed a testament to the warmth and friendship of the People of the State of Ohio. The honour accorded my country makes me feel immensely proud indeed and the gesture speaks volumes about the unreserved hospitality and acceptance with which our community has been embraced into the citizenry of Ohio. Words cannot express my gratitude to you and on behalf of Ambassador Stevens I thank you profoundly.
Sierra Leone’s modern history began with the setting up of Freetown as a colony for freed slaves where former slaves from United States, Canada, Great Britain and elsewhere were repatriated to enjoy the fundamental human right to live in freedom and with dignity. It has remained ever since a ‘realm of the free’ and through the various stages of its political experience, has had its fair share of increases and decreases associated with a country’s development endeavors.
Sierra Leone today is on the rebound and we are determined to reclaim those laurels that marked us out with distinction during the early days when we were known far and wide for good scholarship and entrepreneurship in West Africa.
Our experiences as a nation add value to the great importance of democratic governance in Africa and its coaxial to peace, prosperity and stability.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
The current Government of President Ernest Bai Koroma has embarked on extensive reforms that embraces development and puts the country on a sound footing for sustained economic growth. The challenges to our development aspirations are being addressed in a development agenda called the ‘Agenda for Change’. This Agenda strategically prioritizes Energy, Agriculture, Infrastructure, health and education as a means of sustaining socio-economic growth. The intensive road construction project that commenced in Sierra Leone under the tutelage of President Koroma is all but completed. Free healthcare care for pregnant and lactating women and children under the age of five is now a guaranteed right in Sierra Leone. Our investment inflows are growing and as a result of transformation in the regulatory environment for business operations, is now one of the safest places to do business in Africa. While we acknowledge the many challenges to our national developmental efforts, I can confidently say that we are making good progress and moving in the right direction.
We enjoy excellent relations with the United States and of course the United States was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with Sierra Leone at independence. I am not surprised therefore by this honourable demonstration of friendship from the State of Ohio, as it follows in the steps of historical good relations going back well over a century when American Missionaries began arriving in colonial era Sierra Leone.
I will be remiss in my duties if I do not acknowledge the United States’ continued support and assistance to the Government and People of Sierra Leone particularly in the areas of peace consolidation, democracy and human rights.
In closing may I take this opportunity to thank you all for joining us to celebrate this remarkable day in the history of Sierra Leone. To all Sierra Leoneans in Ohio I wish you Happy Independence Anniversary.
I thank you.
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