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SLCU-Holland Independence Symposium

Tuesday 4 May 2010

By Abubakar Koroma, Dordrecht, the Netherlands.

In celebrating the 49th Independence Anniversary of our beloved nation, the Sierra Leone Central Union-Holland (SLCU) once again organised a symposium (1st May) which brought together different stakeholders in the Diaspora to discuss what they described as a “new direction to strengthen the pivotal role of the SLCU” as a parent organization for the progress of the nation.

The symposium was chaired by Mr. Ibrahim Jalloh (Chairman, Utrecht Association), who enthusiastically elucidated the importance of Independence as a way to proclaim self dignity and propel positive change. A special message was also delivered by the staunch SLCU Chairman Mohamed T. Bangura (alias Medoski), on the importance of the SLCU. He urged his fellow Sierra Leoneans to do more for our beloved nation. He stressed the importance of agriculture and said “it’s high time we do something to feed ourselves and not just building houses, especially we in the Diaspora,” and that people should “rely on the SLCU to work towards the betterment of the nation.”

In another development, the SLCU Secretary-General Abu bakarr Bangura, proudly presented the Union’s (2009) achievements that include, inter alia the establishment of SLCU branch in Freetown, the donation of text books (worth 60 euro) which were shared among various higher institutions (COMAHSS, FBC, IPAM, NUC, MMCE, etc) in the country, and the building of a vocational institute at Lungi which will commence by June, this year.

In addition, the issue of Social Welfare of Sierra Leoneans in the Netherlands was also discussed by religious leaders in which the upkeep of family bonds, and the importance of strengthening moral ethics among Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora for a better nation were the core points. However, the importance of team work was also emphasised by Ibrahim S. Kargbo who urged all Sierra Leoneans “to put all differences aside and work as a team for a better Sierra Leone”.

Ambassador Christian Kargbo

In his Independence message to the audience, Ambassador Dr. Christian Kargbo started by extending greetings from His Excellency President E. Bai Koroma as “greetings from the President” and expressed appreciation of the SLCU’s good work in the Diaspora and in Sierra Leone.

He urged Sierra Leoneans to love and invest in their country and even cited himself as an example; as someone who has spent a long time in the West, but is deeply overwhelmed with love for Sierra Leone. In addition, Dr Kargbo categorised the Independence celebration as not only a joyful moment, but a moment to reflect on our achievements, our present status, and how we can move forward.

He acknowledged the fact that we have had war, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for failing to act for unity and progress because there is now peace. Raising his voice he strongly urged all Sierra Leoneans to stop backbiting and maligning others for their good work if they cannot contribute. He emphasized the importance of leadership especially in politics adding that people no matter what, should respect the leader that has been chosen, and to work towards this moral principle for a better nation.

Sierra Leoneans in Holland having a good time, May 1, 2010.

Concluding, Ambassador Kargbo raised three basic questions which he recommended all Sierra Leoneans to ask themselves wherever they are:

 What I am doing for Sierra Leone? What have I done for Sierra Leone? What am I planning to do for Sierra Leone?

He ended by assuring all Sierra Leoneans that he will do his best to represent their interests in the Diaspora, and that they should not hesitate to call on him whenever the need arises.