Salone News

Update from the campaign trail

28 February 2018 at 05:31 | 1957 views

By Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, mayoral candidate, Freetown

On Sunday the 25th, I had a fascinating trip to a part of the Freetown municipality which a lot of people have either not heard of, or didn’t know was part of Freetown. Tasso Island is up the Rokel River towards the North, almost by Pepel. The journey to the Island lasts about 35 mins with one of the Sea Coach speedboats, but it is much longer using a local boat with an outboard engine.

There are roughly 4,800 inhabitants on the island living in four villages dotted along the island. I was accompanied on the visit by the MP Candidate Dr Umpha Bashe Kanu, the Councilor Candidate Arthur Mansaray, representatives of Hon Usu Boi Kamara, other constituency 114 executive and zonal executive members and members of Team Yvonne, including my mother 🙂!

Our open air cinema team had travelled to the island the day before and had shared our campaign videos with hundreds of villagers as they toured the entire island.

So when we arrived, we were building on the events of the previous evening. We started the visit with a meeting with the chief and other community elders and then embarked on a door to door engagement in the main village. We took a detour out of the village in order for me to see the old cemetery on the island which I had previously heard about. According to the villagers, some of the slave traders who were engaged in the trade at Bunce Island used to live on Tasso Island. Obviously, there is some historical and touristic value there which is as yet under explored. This and other aspects of the island present possibilities for tourism development in the future.

We also met with key stakeholders from the other three villages before returning to Freetown and straight on to a meeting at Government Wharf with the locals (traders and residents) who wanted to highlight some of their issues and challenges.

I got home at about 7.45pm to find 8 pupils from St Joseph’s Sec School were waiting at my gate. They explained that they have been following me on social media and wanted to meet me. Although I was really tired, I invited them into my home, offered them soft drinks and we chatted about their aspirations, the civil rights movement, child labor and the challenges faced by those living with guardians. I am glad I spent that time with them; I learnt a lot and I know that this will be an ongoing process as we seek to address the issues of Freetown and Freetonians.