From the Editor’s Keyboard

New Citizens Okay but...

By  | 13 September 2013 at 22:24 | 1187 views

President Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone recently welcomed new Sierra Leoneans that took the oath of allegiance in his office in Freetown. That was good news because the country, more than ever before, need men and women of quality to advance the government’s Agenda for Prosperity.

We need men and women with integrity and with the skills, especially technical skills to put Sierra Leone firmly on the map of development.

But we would like to remind the President that admission of new citizens should be always be strictly controlled and applicants carefully screened. Applicants for citizenship in developed countries are rigorously screened and it’s a process that takes a long time, usually two or three years, in many of those countries.

And most important, the best jobs are usually reserved for the citizens of most of these developed and democratic countries. New immigrants usually get the jobs the citizens of these countries, especially those born in the country, as opposed to "paper citizens", do not want. There are in fact three unofficial classes of citizens in these countries: First class citizens (those born and bred in the country), second class citizens (highly educated foreign-born citizens) and third class citizens (poorly educated or illiterate foreign-born citizens).

That is the reality, the indigenous citizen comes first. That is why citizenship is not a light matter in those countries. Some countries, like Japan, never grant citizenship to immigrants. That is why the government of Sierra Leone’s action is laudable.

The flow of immigrants to the country should also be controlled except for refugees fleeing persecution. Many African countries have bigger populations than Sierra Leone which only has six million people. If ten or twenty million immigrants descend on Sierra Leone, the country we call home will quickly disappear; we will become a minority in our own country. The political, economic and cultural structures of our country will radically change. We do not think that would be a good thing. Let’s protect and preserve our country while welcoming people from other countries. Again, this is happening in ALL developed countries.

Having said that, we should always look for people that will help us,not denigrate or harm us. We need good people ready to serve and live among us in peace. People that will help make the country richer, not poorer.