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Edmonton: Sierra Leoneans call for President Ernest Koroma to visit Canada

31 March 2017 at 03:26 | 1781 views

By Ibrahim Badamasi Kamara in Edmonton

The Chairman of the APC Canada Branch, Comrade Sean Samura on the 10th of January, 2017 mandated the Secretary General of the Branch to organize a Town Hall Meeting in Edmonton during the visit of delegates from Sierra Leone in March, 2017.

The purpose of this town hall meeting is to give Sierra Leoneans in Canada an opportunity to ask questions about the state of development in Sierra Leone, progress made by the government, existing challenges and opportunities.

On the 26th of March, 2017, the first town hall meeting in Canada was held in Edmonton, Alberta. A three member panel answered questions from the community.

The Honorable Nanette Thomas who is the Minister of Political and Public Affairs in the Government of Sierra Leone articulated progress made by the government of Sierra Leone in various sectors and emphasized change of attitude and patriotism among Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora.

Madam Lynette Kamara, wife of the Honorable Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the former prosecutor of the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone and Head of the Anti- Corruption Commission was the second ranking panelist. Our third panelist was Madam Ramatu Kargbo, the wife of Honorable Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, Member of Parliament, former Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Special Adviser to the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. The town hall meeting was chaired by the President of the Sierra Leone Community in Edmonton, Alberta, Mr Kemoh Mansaray.

A total of 15 participants from the audience were given the opportunity to ask questions. Questions were divided into three rounds. Questions asked were related to the following:

- The state of development in Sierra Leone

- Development in Kono District and the recent diamond that was discovered in the district

- Women’s rights in tertiary educational institutions

- Healthcare for women and Children

- Education

- Care for orphans and the elderly

- Women’s participation in governance.

- Problems encountered by communities in Canada in supporting the health sector of government

- Voter registration.

The Minister of Political and Public Affairs was very eloquent in her responses to questions from members of the Sierra Leone community. She called on Sierra Leoneans to travel home and participate in the registration exercise so that they can be part of the change that is taking place in the country. Issues of integrity, patriotism and dedication to work for the good of our country were emphasized by the Honorable Minister.

In addition, Madam Lynette Kamara spoke on women empowerment initiatives in Sierra Leone and the role of institutions like the National Development Bank (NDB) in providing capital for small scale businesses. Kamara also noted that if she is fortunate to serve women in the country she will continue from where others have left. Also, Mrs Ramatu Kargbo spoke about the readiness of the country to receive compatriots from the diaspora.

The atmosphere was calm and peaceful. It was a friendly engagement. Majority of community members were pleased with answers given by the panelists. There was a general appeal to the Minister of Political and Public Affairs to convey an invitation of Sierra Leone communities across Canada to His Excellency the President Ernest Koroma to visit Canada.

Members of the Edmonton Community also joined other communities across Canada in appealing to the President and government of Sierra Leone to open an embassy or High Commission in Canada.

Many Sierra Leoneans in Canada want to connect with home but they are prevented from doing so because of fear and negative rumours about the country especially on social media. It is important to note that Canada is one of the most developed and prosperous countries in the world and many Sierra Leoneans have been calling on the government of Sierra Leone to establish an embassy in Canada which will serve many purposes.

The Minister of Political and Public Affairs promised play a role in having the President visit Canada. The town hall meeting ended with the cutting of a cake by the Minister of Political Affairs, the wife of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and the wife of Honourable IB Kargbo.

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