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One on one with Sierra Leone Arc of Hope’s Nanette Thomas

One on one with Sierra Leone Arc of Hope’s Nanette Thomas

Before she departed the land that she loves, Sierra Leone, Nanette Thomas, a vibrant and out spoken woman of substance who was recently named the ‘’Rock’’ of Sierra Leone Arc of Hope, sat down in a one-on-one exclusive interview with Sierra Express Media’s Adeyemi Paul.

Before her present employment in the United States of America, Nanette Thomas was the Employment Services Case Manager for Catholic Charities Empowerment and Refugee Services. “Her strong passion and advocacy for the challenges facing refugees, and worldwide human trafficking led to her appointment to the United Nations (UN) Dallas Chapter Advisory Board,‘’ a resume on her life states. This energetic woman has also severed on the Board as Vice-President for Education, and Liaison Office in the Refugee Section.

In the exclusive interview below, the nation building woman of substance who is Board Secretary and doubles as a Board member of the Sierra Leone Arc of Hope (SLAH), speaks extensively on SLAH, politics, and more.

SEM:  What is your assessment on the just concluded Inaugural launching and humanitarian fundraising event by SLAH?

Nanette Thomas (NT): I believe it went well.  My only disappointment is that the corporate world was absent, and I was also hoping that more people would have made it possible to come out and support this laudable project.

SEM: Now that we’ve successfully launched the fundraising event of SLAH and that things are moving faster than expected, there’re speculation that you are heading so soon back to the USA because of the All People Congress/North America’s ( APC-NA) convention. What’s your take on that?

NT: Not exactly.  I am going back because I want to spend Christmas with my children. Secondly, I have a family and lots more responsibility to take care of. Thirdly, my purpose of this visit was to launch SLAH’s humanitarian event, and now that the grand event is over, what else should I be doing here? And as a matter of fact, the APC-NA convention is in January 15 to 16th, 2010 in Columbus Ohio… So I have no idea where that speculation came from.

SEM:  Any idea at all, on how the convention will be staged?  

NT: The delegates of the convention will determine the next Chairman that will lead APC North America to the position where it is supposed to be.  What do I mean by that?  The last two years of the APC North America has been wasted.  We have not done anything except a lot of in-fighting.  We need to come up with developmental projects for Sierra Leone and help President Koroma develop Sierra Leone.

SEM:  Do you have any special candidate in mind as at yet?

NT:  Not yet, but I will vote for someone who will be able to come up with the best plan of action for the next two years.  Every candidate should have a plan of action so that we the members of the APC-NA will hold that individual to his/her worlds if the plan of action is not met.

SEM:  There are a lot of rumours about the accreditation committee, that every candidate should have at least a Green Card.  The Interim Executive should resign at least two weeks before the convention if they have any intention of contesting for any position.    Any candidate running for the office of Chairmanship must have a degree. True or False?

NT:  Well, some of what you just outlined, I have heard myself.  Unfortunately these concerns are not stated in the Bylaws.  The Bylaws is the document that the accreditation committee should go by and nothing else.  If any member of the accreditation committee wants to add anything to the Bylaws they do have the right to send their concerns to the Bylaws’ committee.  For now they cannot implement something that is not in the bylaws. 

SEM:   Are you interested in running for the position of Chairman?

NT: Not at this time.  I want to focus my attention on my chapter, as well as help/contribute towards  the development of Sierra Leone.

SEM:   The Chairman of SLAH, Dr. John Sandy called you ‘the rock’ when he was introducing the members of SLAH.  What do you have to say?

NT:  I believe the best person to answer your question is the Chairman himself. He must have a valid reason why he calls me the “ROCK’’ of Sierra Leone Arc of Hope. 

SEM: You’ve been out of here, your country, Sierra Leone, for over a decade. How different is Sierra Leone compare to all those years?

NT:  There are lots of developments on the way.  Where I lived we had light and water 24/7.  The roads are being developed, every other person had two to three cell phones and gradually Sierra Leone would be a country where people would run too and not run away from.

SEM: How would you describe President Koroma’s government compared to previous governments?

NT:  I loved his government of accountability, transparency, his evaluation policy, and very important his anti- corruption policy. If you want to be paid you have to work.  This year, Sierra Leone moved up 12 places in Transparency International’s global corruption rankings. This is a very big plus for the President in particular and the Sierra Leone in general. 

SEM: What is your message to Sierra Leoneans at home and in the Diaspora ?

NT.  Only we Sierra Leoneans can help develop our country and put it on the map.  Let us forget about party affiliations, stop the PULL HIM/HER DOWN SYNDROME (PHD) and help rebuild Mother Sierra Leone. 

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