Salone News

Teachers Endorse Berewa

7 June 2006 at 21:28 | 416 views

A cross section of Western Area teachers recently endorsed Vice President Solomon Berewa’s bid for the presidency. We publish their statement below:

POSITION STATEMENT FROM THE WESTERN AREA TEACHERS SUPPORT SOLO B. (WATSSOB) - 2007

Mr. Chairman, Honourable Vice President and Leader of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, Ministers of government , members of parliament, National Chairman of the party and other party functionaries, party stalwarts, principals, Head Teachers, collegue teachers, Ladies and gentlemen -

Today marks a milestone in the history of Teachers in the western Area, to freely come together in support of a worthy course and identify ourselves with national development. In almost ten years of SLPP governance, teachers being critical change agents in any country, have carefully scrutinized the performance of the government and have taken a position we proudly want the nation to know today.

Our elders say “partners in business will not put an obstacle in it.” Teachers all over this country have taken a decision to partner with Hon. Solomon Berewa and the SLPP for a better Sierra Leone. The Korankos would say "until lions have their own historians, the tales of the forest will always glorify the teachers”. The SLPP government is a performing government that has salvaged this country from destruction, therefore, teachers want to show gratitude.

The Western Area Teachers Support Solo - B (WATSSOB) cuts across the Western Area. We divided the Western Area into nine zones with co-ordinators for each zone from Koya to Goderich and Mountain Rural. We have a membership of over 3500 teachers ready for action in the Western Area. After the acquisition of knowledge from our various colleges, the key role of teachers who are role models in society is to disseminate information and evaluate pupils. In this vein, we have evaluated the SLPP government and have decided to join the rest of the party machinery propagate plans and programmes of the party to the nation especially those resident in Freetown.

As is evident, teachers are dynamic and trained speakers and this time we have decided to fully come on board for our people to know why the SLPP government should be given another opportunity to further take this nation to national recovery and development.

To better carve a future, one has to look at the past, compare it with the present and forecast the future. All of us want Sierra Leone to be like one of the developed nations, that is why most teachers like other numerous Sierra Leoneans have decided to look at the 2007 election as a make or break decision of Sierra Leoneans.

For more than two decades, this country was plunged into an abnormal state and governance, that saw this nation fall from the Athens of West Africa to the Least Developed Country in the world.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, the demise of this nation started immediately after the death of Sir Milton Margai, when, after the appointment of Sir Albert Margai, some politicians came together and decided to form a party not in the spirit to foster national unity, or more for a free Sierra Leone and national development, but a party just to oppose the ruling SLPP by then and to take over power just for the name of power. We saw and witnessed all our basic infrastructure being destroyed, looted and all forms of rights of citizens abused in broad day light. There was a time in this nation when both the poor and rich made their own side of the story.

A rich man would have a billion Leones in the bank but unable to with draw 1 million Leones from his own account. There was no money in the banks but there were monies in water tanks and farms of APC henchmen.

It was during that period that the teaching profession reached the lowest ebb of respectability. That period in question was the APC era. Teachers could hardly buy a bag of rice with their whole monthly salary. Most times, teachers go without salaries for over six months (half a year). Education was a privilege and not a right. Pupils went to school for just a few hours, hence it was called “go slow”.

Teaching and learning materials were hardly available in schools. It was easy to recognize teachers in public by their mere appearance. Teachers were badly dressed. By then, as a teacher, it was extremely difficult for you to rent an apartment in Freetown - Land lords were afraid of teachers not being able to pay their monthly rent. Teachers, were reduced to beggers, begging their Land lords, begging from parents and some even depended on their relatives. What was very degrading was that teachers had gone through higher education with the hope of acquiring a better social status in society, but they were looked upon with disdain. Teachers could not take care of their homes, educate their children and to even marry a decent wife by then was a miracle.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentle men, in all those difficult times, it was the teachers together with NUSS that stood up against bad governance, corruption and joined in the campaign for multiparty elections. Even when our country was again invaded by some of our misguided and selfish officers and rebels together with some key APC henchmen, to further plunder this nation, it was teachers who yielded to the clarion call of “no democracy, no school.”

For over 3 decades, I mean 30 years, teachers have been weeping. It is the SLPP Government, of which Hon. Solomon Berewa is the Vice President and now Leader of the party, that has wiped those tears from our eyes.

In the field of education alone, we are witnesses to the enormous progress made. We now enjoy free primary education, free junior secondary education for girls in the provinces and increase access to education for the disadvantaged and the disabled. The school enrolment has grossly increased from 367,000 in 1996 to over a million as I speak. Government has rehabilitated, constructed and provided furniture for more that 950 schools nation wide. This has greatly increase access to education. To a large extent, this government has brought decrease in regional and district disparities in access and quality education.

We now have two universities expanding training opportunities to teachers. Our salary is now much better than it ever was. We can now pay our rents on monthly basis or even yearly as the case may be. We can feed our homes conveniently, educate our children, marry beautiful and respectable women and more. Mr. Chairman, except we tell you that we are teachers you would never pick on us in public by the way we dress. I mean now, teachers are smartly dressed. Education is no more a privilege. Infact, for the past six years, our pupils and parents have been enjoying free NPSE, BECE and WASSCE Examinations which 30years ago, would have been a night mare. If you go to some villages, teachers are the tycoons. Delay of salary has become a thing of the past. Before the end of the month, teachers have collected their salaries from their banks.

Apart from the field of education, we are a witness to government’s achievement in other areas. We have seen the numerous clinics all over this country. In almost every chiefdom, there is a clinic built by government or government supported NGO’s. We have seen the construction of markets and community centres in almost every chiefdom, and recently the rehabilitation of the PCMH and the Connaught Hospitals here in Freetown.

Mr. Chairman, when I last witnessed the NACSA press conference, I was left with no doubt that indeed, the SLPP Government is the best for Sierra Leone. In less than three years after the declaration of peace, NaCSA has implemented projects in all chiefdom in Sierra Leone, including the Western Area. Can you compare NaCSA to the PL480 and self help projects we had in the past? Certainly no.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, as I said earlier on, the four main things that the SLPP inherited from the APC were war, bad governance, national poverty and a shameful level of corruption. But the SLPP has concluded the war, and has now turned it’s attention to the fight against poverty, corruption and bad governance.

We have seen the establishment of the Local Governments Decentralization Commission, the National Revenue Authority, Law Reform Commission, Public Service Commission, Anti Corruption Commission, National Social Security Insurance Trust (NASSIT), Office of the National Security CONS), Development Aid Co-ordinating Office (DACO), Restructuring of the police and the military forces for good, and most recently, the poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, which clearly demonstrates the SLPP’s preparedness to promote national recovery, efficiency, development and make corruption a thing of the past.

We now enjoy freedom of association and expression in our country. No wonder some of our journalists and misguided musicians sing any trash and call it music.

I challenge listeners to see the records for integrity ratings of countries done by transparency international, they will tell you that the record of Sierra Leone is improving in the area of tackling corruption. That is why the PRSP has a wooping support of over 800 million dollars in the UK.

Mr. Chairman Ladies and Gentle men “a man,” they say, “should not wander too far from where his corn is roasting.” It is with these numerous achievements by the SLPP Government that teachers all over this country have decided to declare their support for the SLPP Government for the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections. We expect any well meaning Sierra Leonean to take this SLPP Government on arguments beyond primordial loyalties like ethnicity and regionalism.

What we are seeing, Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentle men are mere oppositions for the sake of opposing. We see people with no ability or potential to head even their families or political parties wanting to lead this blessed, rich, and respectable country, Sierra Leone.

As teachers, we have come on board to inform the electorate, work with the party’s machinery to propagate those good virtues of Leadership and governance in the SLPP. Mr. Chairman, it is only when the lion decides to go to sleep that the monkey becomes the king of the jungle.

We have vowed as teachers, especially in our generation not to allow any mediocre, corrupt, misguided, disgruntled, and ill informed person to take this nation down the path of destruction.

Finally Mr Chairman, Ladies and gentle men, the question now is why Mr. Solomon Ekuma Berewa. Amongst all the numerous presidential aspirants that we have had about, he is the only leader that was democratically elected in a free and fair election by his party. He has served this nation in many capacities. Infact for a long period, he gave free services to SLTU as our solicitor. Many people are waisting their attention on flamboyant irrelevancies and missing the important criteria for Leadership. On the out- ward look, Berewa is not tall, he may not be too hand some and he is not young either. But are those good leadership qualities? Certainly not, Mr. Chairman. From the inside, Mr Berewa is thorough, decisive, result oriented, a good listener, honest, firm, disciplined, principled and a father. As a father, he raised up five very successful children from a single woman not because he was rich but because of his leadership qualities. Infact in the Bible, if you cannot take care of your children, you should not be put in charge of the church not to talk of a whole nation. He was married for over40 years uninterrupted until he lost his wife of blessed memory. As a teacher himself, he taught children good values. As a lawyer he was out standing, one of the best lawyers in his time. As a politician, he brought peace to this nation and has led the poverty reduction agenda that has won over 800 million dollars for Sierra Leone.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, what we are looking for is a head of state that is worthy, and worthiness has nothing to do with the shape of the face, a gray or black hair or lousy talk.

We the teachers of the Western Area Teachers Support Solo-B Group therefore whole heartedly declare our support for the SLPP in the presidential and parliamentary elections come 2007.

Long live Teachers solidarity, long live Solomon Berewa, long live the SLPP.

One country - One People.

I thank you all.

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