president Bio

The President of Sierra Leone a West African country with nearly two centuries’ worth of historical connections to New Haven visited City Hall to pay the Elm City respect, and to revisit a statue dedicated to his countrymen that he last saw nearly three decades ago.

That foreign dignitary visits and celebration took place Tuesday afternoon on the second floor of City Hall, where Mayor Toni Harp welcomed Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio, his wife Fatima Maada Bio, and a host of other politicians, state officials, and diplomatic representatives from the small West African nation.

President Bio had made the 4,000-plus mile trip from Freetown, Sierra Leone, to New York this week to attend the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. He said he made the side trip up to the Elm City Tuesday to honor New Haven’s two-decade plus sister city relationship with Freetown.

He said he also wanted to make sure to visit New Haven to celebrate the shared history that the Elm City and Sierra Leone have through the story of the Amistad slave revolt, and to thank New Haven for the humanitarian support it helped raise money for during his country’s 2014 Ebola crisis.

“You have always been a haven,” he told the 50 people packed into City Hall’s second-floor rotunda for the visit. “And today is no exception. We have been warmly welcomed, just like SengbePieh and others who came here not knowing anyone at all. You comforted them. You welcome them.”

Again and again he referenced the story of the Amistad revolt, in which 53 enslaved captives from Sierra Leone rose up against their Spanish captors in 1939, were ultimately imprisoned in New Haven, and subsequently led a coalition of local, state, and national abolitionists in a successful bid to win back their freedom in an 1841 U.S. Supreme Court case.

“This is a great story,” he said. “You are a great people. There is so much we can teach the world about what happened here.”

As Bio and his wife sat in leather upholstered seats at the front of a crowd of enamored onlookers, speaker after speaker took the microphone to praise the work her has done in fighting corruption and making public education free during his year-and-a-half as president of Sierra Leone.

“The respective histories of New Haven and Sierra Leone have been interlaced for centuries,” Harp said, “just as the people of each embrace the values we share. Cherished ideals of freedom, justice, and dignity provide a foundation for our respective cultures. They are the basis for the connection we feel.”

“We welcome you, your Excellency, again to New Haven,” New Haven Amistad Committee President Al Marder said. “Again” because Bio was last in New Haven in 1992, when the city installed the statue to SengbePieh, the leader of the 1839 revolt and subsequent freedom struggle, outside City Hall, where it still stands today.

 

“For the thousands who come to New Haven” every year, Marder said, the statue “informs them of the continual struggle against racism, and for equality and justice.”

Mohamed Berri, the honorary consul of Sierra Leone, praised Harp and Marder for working together while the former was a state Senator to fund the creation of the Connecticut Freedom Trail and the Freedom Schooner Amistad replica.

During the 2014 ebola crisis, he said, Harp led the city in raising $150,000, which led to the purchase and donation of three Ford vans sent to Freetown to be used as ambulances, as well as a Toyota pick-up truck to be used by Freetown’s City Hall.

He praised Althea Norcott, the head of the New Haven-Freetown sister city partnership, for helping raise money in the wake of the 2017 mudslides to build schools and a library and support an orphanage in Freetown.

“Thank you for hosting perhaps the greatest African president who has ever lived,” said SidiqueAbou-Bakarr Wai, Sierra Leone’s ambassador to the United States. Under Bio’s leadership, he said, “We are no longer the Ebola country,” but a country that has become one of the first in the continent to offer cost-free primary and secondary level education.

“I can only imagine the trauma suffered at sea” by the Amistad captives, Bio said. “Taken from their homes and being brought here. But you were generous enough to give them home. You have always believed in freedom. You have always believed in justice, and in the dignity of the human being.”

For that, he said, “I cannot thank you enough.”

After Harp presented Bio with an honorary key to the city, the president and his delegation made their way outside to the Amistad statue, where they took photo after photo.

“The fight for freedom is never finished,” Bio said when asked what the Amistad story means to him today, 180 years after the Mende captives first rose up to resist slavery.

(AYV News)FrontPage04102019.

By Desmond Tunde Coker

Newly appointed head coach of Sierra Leone unveiled as coach yesterday 

The Siera Leone Government has accepted the appointment of Sella Tetteh after the later was rejected to coach the National Team, Leone Stars ahead of the country’s encounter with Liberia.

Director of Sports in the Ministry of Sports, Dr. Kenneth Brima on Tuesday August 20, 2019, pledged the Government's continued support to Leone Stars and the technical team.

The Sports Director made the endorsement during the unveiling of the Leone Stars Head Coach Sellas Tetteh and his backroom staff at the Football Academy in Freetown.

Dr. Brima added that the government will support the Ghanaian coach and his backroom staff, so that the country will qualify to the 2021 AFCON Finals and the 2022 Qatar World Cup.

 

Francis Ben Kaifala

In its drive to enhance integrity in public exams, the North-West Regional Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has engaged Head Teachers and Principals of primary and secondary schools in BurehKasseh, Makonteh, Maforki, BakehLoko, TainkatopaMakama, Lokomasama, Marampa, Masemera and Koya chiefdoms in Port Loko District.

Speaking at the respective meetings in Port Loko, Lunsar and Masiaka on the 26th and 27th September 2019, ACC’s Regional Manager, Al-Hassan Sesay called on heads of schools to be sincere and determined in the fight against examination malpractices in internal and external examinations. He lamented over entrenched examination malpractices scheme that has marred public exams and drop in standard of education, but hastened to emphasize ACC’s determination in reversing the negative trend. Mr. Sesay reminded them of their responsibilities as heads to instill integrity and enhance monitoring mechanisms, noting that they must be ready to stand against corruption. He called on the Principals and Head Teachers not to see ACC’s intervention as witch-hunt but rather a deliberate attempt to join forces with them to restore integrity in internal and external examinations.  He said the Commission recognizes the importance of teachers in the fight against corruption that was why the Commission is constantly engaging them to take decisive and firm position in the fight.

Speaking on some of the issues that continue to hamper the standard of education in the country, the Regional Manager underscored the importance of education and recounted the days when Sierra Leone was referred to as the ‘Athens of West Africa’ because of the high standard of education she provided. He appealed to teachers and school authorities to ensure that they work diligently and refrain from perpetrating corruption as such acts have ripple effects on future generation. He urged his audience to do all they could to tackle this ugly trend in order to avoid a collapse of the country's educational system.

Mr. Sesay used the occasion to explain some key corruption issues prevalent in the schools that require urgent attention. Among them, he noted, are: bloated enrollment figures to attract more government subsidy, regular demand of unauthorized charges, illegal admission, payment for test and assignment, misappropriation of fees subsidy and payment to collect report cards /BECE and WASSCE result. He urged all heads of schools present to desist from such practices as they constitute offences under the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act.

In his address, the Deputy Director of Education, Port Loko District, Joseph M.B. Sesay trumpeted ACC’s determination in curbing corruption within the school system and committed to putting the schools in conformity with anti-corruption measures. He used the occasion to announce the ‘death and burial’ of examination malpractices and entreated them to put in place measures that will prevent its reincarnation.

Senior Public Education Officer of ACC, Sahid Mohamed Kamara explained the various methods of reporting to the Commission and protection of whistleblowers. He dilated on the benefits and importance of reporting corrupt practices to the ACC and admonished all against making false/malicious reports. He gave out the free telephone hotlines of the Commission and implored the heads of schools to reject, resist and report cases of corruption.

 

The engagements were climaxed with comments, concerns, questions and answers.FrontPage04102019.

 

Environmental Protection Agency- Sierra Leone (EPA-SL) has banned charcoal burning and other harmful practices that affects the environment in Grafton, Hastings and Rogbangba communities effective from 15th August 2019.

Hastings and Grafton communities in the Western Rural district of Sierra Leone were once surrounded by natural vegetation beautifying the region’s police academy, the air field, a medical training centre and mangroves along the creeks which made the settlements a centre of attraction serving as a gateway to Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.

Like other parts of the country, these values gradually eroded in these areas long before 2013, when Sierra Leone experienced a dramatic spike in tree loss as a result of rapid overharvesting of timber, and the traditional slash-and-burn farming practices were among the major causes of forest loss in Sierra Leone.

Mr. Kelfala M. Kallon, Bank Governor

By Alusine Sheriff Kebe

The Governor of the Central Bank of Sierra Leone, Dr. Kelfala M. Kallon has declared war on Landlords who demand rents payment in foreign currencies.

In a press release issued by the Bank of Sierra Leone and signed by the Bank Governor of Sierra Leone, dated 20th August, 2019 states that any contract in Dollars including rental fees is prohibited in Sierra Leone.

"The prices for all transactions in Sierra Leone shall be indicated in Leones," It states further.

In other words, this qualifies the Leones as the legal currency in which all transactions should be done in the country.

However, the directives from the Bank Governor has ignited debates within some sections of society with regards the country’s legal tender.

In Freetown and the Provinces, reports indicate that the directive has been received with mixed feelings by both tenants and Landlords.

In most cases, Landlords of private properties charge rents and conduct other transactions in foreign currencies due to the depreciation of the Leones against the United States Dollars and other currencies.

 

By Hasbin Shaw

Commissioner Biobele Georgewill of the Commission of Inquiry on Monday August 19, 2019, criticized the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Sierra Leone campus, for charging Sierra Leonean students unfairly high tuition fees.

The Judge made this observation following discrepancy over payment of grant-in-aid for students between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Limkokwing University, which was brought to the Commission of Inquiry for investigation.

The University authorities are claiming that the Government owes them, while the government is also claiming that it overpaid the University.

The Nigerian Judge said that the Limkokwing University fees are exorbitantly high for Sierra Leonean students.