Margai Honoured in the USA

14 November 2006 at 21:47 | 681 views

Sidie Yahya Tunis saw history being made in Atlanta, Georgia, where Charles Margai(photo) was taken on a tour of a well-equipped university of the 21st century. According to Sidie, Mr. Margai was so inspired by what he saw he wishes 2007 could come and go fast in order for him [Mr. Margai] to start a complete revamping of learning and research equipments at the University of Sierra Leone. Mr. Yahya brings us the story below:

By Sidie Yahya Tunis

The Interim Leader of the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) of Sierra Leone, Mr. Charles Francis Margai, who is on what party officials called the Trans-Atlantic Tour for Positive Change (T-AT for Positive Change) was given a tour of the America Intercontinental University (AIU) in Dunwoody, Georgia recenty.

Dr. Michael Shapiro, a senior lecturer at the Criminal Justice Department at AIU received the PMDC visiting delegation and took them on a tour of the Criminal Justice department, the Computer Science department and the Forensic Science department and lab. Stopping at the Criminal Justice department, Dr. Shapiro gave a brief talk on how students are prepared to become the best law enforcement personnel with the help of the right tools and equipments.

At the computer science department, Mr. Margai addressed Lauretta Will’s computer science class. Ms Will is a Sierra Leonean and member of PMDC-USA. Mr. Margai gave a brief historical background about Sierra Leone before delving into his vision to improve the conditions that are responsible for the sharp contrast in living conditions during the short-lived post-colonial days and the republican era he spoke of in his historical brief. [ Mr. Margai had in mind his late father, Sir Albert Margai, the second prime minister of Sierra Leone, who was once considered to be way ahead of his time in his political days for which he was dubbed, Albert Margai of Africa]

He encouraged the students to take their education seriously and wish them good luck in their pursuit of knowledge. Very impressed with what he saw at AIU, Mr. Margai acknowledged that the educational system in Sierra Leone surely needs complete revamping of educational equipments to ensure quality education.

The students asked several questions ranging from poverty alleviation to equal rights and justice. Mr. Margai told the students that he hopes to improve the economy of Sierra Leone to facilitate a fair student exchange relationship with the West wherein our bright youngsters would not be compelled to stay thereby contributing further to brain drain. The secretary general of the party, Mr. Ansu Lansana enticed the students with highlights of Sierra Leone’s cultural practices.

Dr. Michael Shapiro’s next stop with the delegation was at the Dean of Criminal Justice, Dr. Florence S. Ferguson’s Forensic Science department. Dr. Ferguson showed Mr. Margai a well-equipped Forensic Science Lab complete with graphical display of crime scenes. Here, Dr. Ferguson made mention of possible donation of books to the Universities of Sierra Leone law school. She pledged an unflinching support for Mr. Margai, his vision and the people of Sierra Leone. Margai thanked the dean and expressed that the people of Sierra Leone would surely welcome and appreciate such goodwill gesture.

Mr. Margai proceeded to an arranged lunch with possible investors at the Atlanta World Trade Center where he reunited with his wife Mrs. Vivat Margai who was in a separate meeting on the development of the lives of women. At the lunch, Mr. Margai presented his vision for Sierra Leone and agenda for free trade in Sierra Leone when he stated: “A PMDC government will provide an atmosphere wherein foreign and local business people will carry out their business activities without trouble or harassment.” Top business executives asked several questions to which he gave outstanding answers. In one instant, someone asked; “What is your problem with the current government, is it doing nothing at all or just not enough to improve these areas you have highlighted?” And Margai answered; “They have not done much in most areas especially when it comes to providing the basic necessities for the citizens. It is hard to explain to anyone why Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone, does not have electricity in the 21st Century...”

Although Mr. Margai enjoyed pledge of support from many of the businesspeople, some expressed concerns about the security in Sierra Leone. Mr. Margai assured them that free trade under democratic principles would be the hallmark of his administration when he wins elections in 2007.

The success of Mr. Margai’s T-AT for Positive Change could be measured by the much support and honors it is attracting around the US. The leader of the delegation, Charles Margai was granted the honorary citizenship of the State of Georgia by the Deputy Secretary of State of Georgia yesterday. At that same meeting, African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) also named Mr. Margai their Ambassador at large for AGOA.

Margai will attend a high profile dinner tonight at a restaurant owned by rap mogul Sean Puffy Combs commonly known as P. Diddy that is run by a Sierra Leonean and PMDC member, Justin Kane.

Charles F. Margai leads a now roughly 10-month old political party in Sierra Leone that is looming with victory indicators for the upcoming 2007 parliamentary and presidential elections.