he most recent revelation on the Hill Station pit disaster must have left members of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party and government bowing their heads in shame.
APC government and party functionaries demonstrated total neglect in the disaster that claimed the precious lives of three Sierra Leoneans – Maurice F. Juana, a final year student at Fourah Bay College (FBC), Bockarie Samai, a commercial motorbike rider, and Fasallay Kamara, a pit digger residing at No.33 Main Road Wilberforce, it is widely believed.
Ernest Koroma, APC Leader
It has now turned out to be that at least two of the three victims who were trapped and subsequently perished in the fifty five feet deep pit are relatives of strong APC members in Freetown and the United States of America (USA).
A report released by the Dallas Chapter President of the APC, Ms. Nannette Thomas, disclosed thus: “The victims were a son and brother of Mrs. Edith Juana, Mrs. Jenneh Koroma, Mr. Ganava Juana and Mr. Moses Juana, (all members of the APC Dallas Chapter) and the housekeeper of Hon. Sheku Koroma and a passerby”.
The aforementioned revelation has heightened the shock of many Sierra Leoneans who had earlier observed the conspicuous absence of APC functionaries during the entire course of the rescue operation that lasted for two days.
Not a single APC party or government functionary availed himself to either partake directly or indirectly in the rescue operation or sympathize with the bereaved families.
The occurrence at Hill Station was a complete opposite of how the APC used to handle such accidents in the country, thus leaving the question of, why the neglect on this particular instance, unanswered.
APC functionaries including the President, Vice President and Ministers had being exhibiting prompt responses to distress situations with their physical presence. These operatives of the ruling APC were at Free Street when an alleged gas canister explosion occurred that involved the loss of scores of lives and properties worth million of Leones few years back; they stormed Mountain Cut when a fence collapsed during a heavy rainfall and killed people; they were recently at Mallamah Thomas Street when fire broke out and razed at least three houses aground; a recent fire incident that claimed the life of a business and his immediate family at Shell Company was equally graced by them; they whisked to Tengbeh Town in split of few minutes after a fence collapsed and killed some inhabitants; traditional floods at the slummy community of Kroobay always attracts APC operatives; and at Wilberforce the APC bigwigs were seen in their numbers when a very high fence collapsed and caused serious mayhem.
The aforementioned are just few instances of the numerous disasters in Freetown that the APC has graced with its presence, though all of the promises they gave to involved victims have never been fulfilled.
It was therefore ironical that none of them spared time from their seemingly tight schedule to visit Hill Station when the pit accident occurred.
Several people have concluded that all the aforementioned APC visits were not done out of sympathy but actions aimed at scoring political points.
“They will not come to Hill Station because they see no need to embark on political campaigns here. Hill Station is not a densely populated area and most of the residents here are government functionaries,” a police officer, who preferred anonymity, commented, adding that all of the APC’s physical presence at distress situations were for political gains and nothing related to showing grief.
This exposure, the Awareness Times has learnt, brings the APC under a spotlight of objective criticism from uncountable quarters regardless of partisan affiliations countrywide. Thus causing social critics to dub the Hill Station pit accident as an ‘APC disaster’. The APC government and party are yet to respond since the wake of this public damnation.
Sierra Leone is one of the undiscovered pearls of Africa, yearning to be discovered by tourists from all over the world. Sierra Leone’s beaches are a lust to the eye, a small paradise on earth. But is Sierra Leone ready for tourism? Let’s take a closer look at the country’s touristic hotspot Lumley Beach, where the country’s most luxurious and most expensive hotels are located. Which places are the main tourist attractions? And which places one should better avoid?
I’m asking this question because as a Sierra Leonean, I have been sick so many times after eating rotten, unhealthy, not well prepared or contaminated food in almost all of the various restaurants along Lumley Beach. While on press, I have a bad diarrhea from food I have eaten at Roy Restaurant this evening. Let’s not talk about my wife and child, who are from the Netherlands, they too have been sick even if they eat an ordinary potato chips from these places. This is a great concern to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and the Ministry of Tourism if they want to attract tourists, holiday makers including Sierra Leoneans and business investors that visit Sierra Leone.
Even though Roy Restaurant did not come highly recommended, my wife and I decided to give the restaurant a try back in 2007. We frowned at the panbodi style structure the restaurant was hosted in, but the pepper chicken, I must say, was the best I ever ate in any restaurant in Sierra Leone. We became regulars at Roy Restaurant. We took our friends and family, business contacts, foreign tourists along with us. Every weekend we enjoyed the ocean breeze at their terrace, wining and dining, and we watched their place develop little by little, and along with it, many new customers making Roy Restaurant one of the hotspots along Lumley Beach. In time, behind panbodi Roy a taller building was erected and so Club Roy, Barbing Saloon Roy and Ice Cream Roy came into being. And that is when the establishment started to lose its leading position. The service has always been crappy, but the quality of the food used to make up for that. Of course, Roy Restaurant was not perfect; an occasional diarrhea has always been attached to their menu. Those days are in the past. The service has gone from crappy to horrific and the restaurant is now a sure guarantee for a severe case of salmonella poisoning. Customers are a nuisance to the untrained and incredibly rude new staff, and if one wants to complain either service or food quality, you’ll run the risk of ending up in a street fight with the restaurant’s management.
We have witnessed the owner and managers engaging into street fights with the handicapped beggars, and therefore, next to declining service and food quality, we decided to look out for other places to have our family dinners. We spent our Christmas dinner at a very local beach bar at Lakka Beach where the service was surprisingly good and friendly, and the fresh seafood was magnificent. Because the Monday after Boxing Day was a public holiday and the traffic from Goderich, where we live, to Lumley was flowing for the first time in months, we decided to give Roy Restaurant a second (or in fact a tenth or maybe eleventh) chance to have our after Christmas celebration.
We came in the afternoon and to still our hunger, we ordered a plate of chips, which came surprisingly fast. Five minutes after ordering. Cold and half raw. So the second chance did not start off well. We should have been alarmed, but in the good Christmas spirit, we ordered for our dinner anyway. It took more than an hour and a half, but at last, a shrimps salad for our fifteen month old daughter, grilled shrimps for my wife and my own pepper chicken were served. The shrimps salad had some sand in it, but being used to bugs and other dirt in salad and lettuce at Roy’s, we washed it off with a, somehow bitter, smile. The grilled shrimps were soft, gummy and blackened all over, but somehow eatable. My pepper chicken though, was raw on the inside.
The girl who served us, and I deliberately don’t call her waitress, since I have not seen worse service anywhere, not even at the most local cookeries, was annoyed when I asked her to take the food back to the kitchen, ushering me to eat it since the kitchen was too tense to cook my food. Needless to say I refused to eat it. She grabbed the plate from the table without as much as a word, leaving me in limbo whether I would see the food again or not. But the pepper chicken came back, the skin blackened and the inside, alas, still raw. I made my complaint to the management, and the food was taken back to the kitchen for a second time, only this time, it did not come back. No apology, not a word. I ended up eating from my wife and daughter’s plates.
Still hungry, we decided to leave early. It took more than half an hour to get the bill, and to my surprise, the pepper chicken was included. Tired of the game they were playing with me, I just subtracted the price of the pepper chicken (Le 55,000 or Euros 12/USD 12.50) from the total sum (Le 173,000 or Euros 32/Dollars 40) on the bill. The girl who served us grabbed the money from my hands before I could put it into receipt book, counting it franticly. In a very rude manner, she demanded the money for the pepper chicken. I refused to pay, and before she could give me a chance to discuss it with her or to explain my complaint, she ran to the other side of the terrace, shouting to her manager, shouting at me, shouting at my wife. No manager showed up though, and because we did not want to subject our fifteen month old daughter to such street brawl which would be more commonplace for street sellers at Sani Abacha Street than what one would expect from a ‘waitress’ of one of the country’s most popular restaurants, we decided to leave quietly. We felt the embarrassment though, having the eyes of the terrace piercing our backs and being followed by a scolding ‘waitress’ carrying a plate with a blackened, completely dried out pepper chicken leftover, from which the side dishes (lettuce and potato chips) were eaten by the staff. We were already in our car, ready to leave, when the proprietor of the place shouted at us that we refused to pay because we did not have the money.
Having been regulars at Roy Restaurant for three good years, recommending the place to countless people, this they felt was the appropriate way to reward us. All of our Sundays, and many times even our Saturdays, we spent at their place. Not once, we have been unable to pay the bill. Most places would consider people like us valued customers. And everybody knows that businesses rely on their ‘regulars’. It is therefore no guess that business must be declining for Roy. And no wonder. Service is a foreign word for them and as far as the quality of the food goes: restaurant personnel that do not understand that raw chicken is the most common host for the salmonella bacteria, should not have our health in their hands.
Considering the fact that Roy Restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in the touristic hotspot of Sierra Leone, I’m asking the indulgent of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Ministry of Tourism to assess the service and inspect the kitchen of the various beach bars and restaurants. If we want Sierra Leone to be discovered by tourists, we need their mouth to mouth advertisement to promote our country. My wife, daughter and I will get our ‘mouth to mouth’ at Lakka Beach where the food is fresh and clean, and where the locals value their customers as Kings. That is how it should be. Of course, we are taking our family, friends, and business contacts with us. And for all those others who are thinking of trying Roy Restaurant in the future: foretold is forewarned. Roy Restaurant is a no go area if you value civilized manners, your intestines and your pride.
The A. P. C. Government, is it serious about the outcomes of the Gbamanja’s Commission and white Paper 2010?
The A. P. C. Government, is it serious about the outcomes of the Gbamanja’s Commission and white Paper 2010?
Professor Gbamanja’s commission, which was on the low performance of pupils in public examinations, gave the lieu way to the 2010 white paper on education, seems to be facing difficulties and challenges with implementation by government. One of the major issues to be addressed in this paper was to uplift the conditions of service for teachers in order to enhance good working performance of them. Eventually, good performances of pupils at BECE and WASSCE examinations have no future. The Sierra Leone Teachers Union (SLTU) has been over the months making frantic efforts and vividly negotiating with government for the effective implementation, not only of the increment in the salary for teachers, but also for the rest of the issues in the white paper. However, as the minister of finance, Dr. Samura Kamara read the 2011 financial budget at parliament on Thursday 26 November 2010, presenting the second reading of the budget to the house, Dr. Samura Kamara made it categorically clear that there will be no salary increase for teachers despite the general increments, which will affect all government sectors, he lamented.
Report reaching Canvass News from parliament indicates that 2011 budget for most of the ministries are far below 2010 ‘s, which further shows that this year’s budget for some ministries were knifed and one such ministry that is affected is the ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, whose projection is about 7. 2 billion Leones. On the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Co-operation Television (SLBC – TV), Dr. Samura Kamara mentioned that the total budget cost for 2011 amounted to about 4 million US dollars. Asked why the budget of various sectors of the economy was slashed for 2011 as compared to 2010, the finance minister, he said that because there is no money and that government cannot give what it cannot get.
Before the pronouncement of the budget for 2011, it was highly rumored that the salary of teachers, which is one of the major issues in the white paper in addressing the poor performance of pupils at public exams, was going to be increased. Nevertheless, this was not reflected in 2010 budget reading and during the presentation, the minister made no mention, as to how much teacher’s salary will be increased as use to be in previous years. One senior teacher of a reputable secondary school in Freetown commented, “if even all the other issues in the white are adequately addressed without the welfare of teachers being addressed, people might begin to wonder as to weather the white paper for 2010 will hold”, so what is the faith of the White Paper on Education 2010?
In Sierra Leone, the issue of youth employment had long been a major problem affecting the socio-economic and political development of the country, and it is an issue of general debate amongst Civil Societies, Local and International Non Governmental Organizations and the Government of Sierra Leone. The rate of youth unemployment in Sierra Leone, according to some school of thoughts is about 60% country wide. This problem has been and still creating serious threat to the hard won peace we have all paid for.
Firstly, one of the problems of youth employment is the issue of putting proper structure in place, such as Institution firms, factories, companies to name but few, which if put in place would minimize the rate of crime among the youth population in Sierra Leone.
If one can look at the present educational system in Sierra Leone, which is the 6334 meaning six years in Primary School, three years Junior Secondary School, three years in Senior Secondary School and four years in University was implemented by the past Government as a way of creating a particular system of education that would cater for all youths category. But if we can closely look at the said system, it lacks all the structures through which youths would have used to go through proper training that would enable them to gain employment. The system was called for the establishment and implementation of technical vocational in the various school system to be able to train other youths that lack the ability to go through the former educational system thus it lacks the structure of youths employment. The said system has left many youths in the street passing without any job. Most of these youths are engaged in picking things from the garbage, criminal activities and the use of drugs.
Another major issue of youths unemployment is qualification set up by companies, such as previous working experience as a criteria set by employers, such as what they called five or more years working experience. To be realistic, how someone can gain five or more years working experience without allowing the person to work. If premium is placed on past experience to gain job, young graduate from Universities, Poly-techniques, Colleges and even Institutes would not apply for such jobs, which as a result would create room for these youths to end up in circle of violence, crime and drugs abuse and excess that will pose threat to the socio-economic and political development of Sierra Leone.
Again, there is another strong stumble block to the youth employment in Sierra Leone, which is what we called ‘’SABABU’’. This is a common social term used among all Sierra Leoneans in search of employment and other assistance that may arise on daily basis, which means ‘’INFLUENCE’’. Most times even if somebody is qualify for a particular job pr position, but that person has no SABABU would not be awarded with the job or position. This issue of SABABU had played and still playing a hold back to the youth’s employment scheme, and many young energetic youths out there are unemployed.
The consequences surrounding this whole issue of youths employment has caused a great harm on the future of the country if not address. Presently, there are youths who are qualified, but do not have the stipulated years of working experience are out of jobs can be mostly found in odd places engage in taking harmful drugs and alcohol abuse. Also, many of these unemployed youths are can be found in the ghettos wasting their time and potentials.
Sierra Leone Ghetto Perspectives – 2nd Series
All over the world, youths are said to be the center of attention of development strives; in terms of policy declarations made by all Government officials, the International Committee, Non Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations.
In Sierra Leone the story is just the same, the Government and many other institutions have been and are still fighting tooth and nail to create mainstream environment within the society for the most destitute group of the nation’s 40% population composition (the youth population).
Like any other post conflict nation, Sierra Leone has numerous youth’s problems; ranging from poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, lack of housing facilities etc. But how much effort is been put into solving the numerous youth problems in Sierra Leone is a topic that requires some serious discussions, which this medium is highly interested in searching for information in the form of survey or research.
From the look of things, there is still much to be done in order to create mainstream environment for the promising youths of the lion mountain (Sierra Leone), but who should take the greatest blame for the present unpardonable conditions surrounding the youth’s population in Sierra Leone?
As our reporter came in contact with some of the youths in the city’s ghettos, he realized that majority of the youths still blame the government for their mishaps. “We were used to fight during the past eleven years civil war, we helped to change the government but today no one cares for us”, A youth commented. “In fact we were cheated from getting the disarmament and demobilization benefits” another comment by another youth who lamented to underline his friend’s claim.
As our reporter continued to probe, some elderly citizens blamed the attitudes of the youths as a storming block to their development while others talk of lack of sustainable youth development programs.
Sierra Leone 2010 national budget is much more important than anything else, even more the Presidential address to Parliament.
The budget is more important, because it is the instrument that determines how the country will be run for the next fiscal year. However, it is also important to note that instead of just airing it live in the electronic media, the people should have a chance of actual reading of the budget, and seeing what it entails, especially with regards to the figures if one consider the illiteracy rate in the country, because of the above issue it is not very easy to recall all the figures being rolled out by the Finance Minister.
However, just like in many other cases in Sierra Leone, people don’t treat serious things, issues with seriousness they deserve in all aspects of life on daily basis, but are highly interested in this budget issue., because that is the only way they can be able to
It is even worse when the Press Gallery, which is supposed to inform people of the activities of their representatives in Parliament, are left wondering as to how they can lay hands on a document as important as the budget speech, which is also known as the Appropriation Bill 2010.
In times past, and in other part of the world, the budget is distributed to the Press and even if they do not want any premature publication, they ensure that it is embargoed till after the speech is delivered by the Minister of Finance. Not also stop there, the Finance Minister should ensure that he briefs the Press immediately after his speech in Parliament to simplify the document in a way that it will be easily understood by the lay man who is also supposed to know the day to day activities of the Government, to explain to journalists about all what is contained in the budget and why, so that the journalists in return will sensitize the citizen of the operation of the Government about what the future holds for them.
SIERRA LEONE—- The Getho Perspectives
“Time is red ripped for the traditional home coming of our JCs, most people come to Sierra Leone from the Diaspora for them to meet with relatives and friends in mother land - Sierra Leone. Their visit is marked by lots of movement and mix –jamming with people within or outside the city”.’ Man Go Bette back’. The latter is the respond from a ghetto boy to a discussion between two gentle men who went past an area ghetto. The logic is simple; for reason been that the marginalized, unemployed and destitute youths of this country have no alternative but to play the pussy-cat trick for survival.
That is just one corner talk about JCs but probe more and you can understand why most of our brothers and Sister in the Diaspora come for a home visit only once in their stay abroad. Once a woman wept as she explained about the ordeals of her only son; whiles he was at their village for a visit from the USA. As the poor woman wept, She talked of how her elder brother confessed of having be witched her son at the time the young man came for Xmas holiday, I ran a cold blood along my spine.
My gentle readers, don’t mind about all been said above, the reality lies within the analysis of a normal ghetto discussion among destitute youths who have the ghetto as their school for learning about “prajets”.
Follow me to see if we can have a talk with them; about education. The first young man of about 30 yrs. Said he is highly educated but he only needs to sit in any office and meditate under the air condition with computers that play music and games. You might think the guy is unreasonably an idiot, don’t even imagine that because the young and the rest of his kinds have the right to conscience and they are simply living in their own world.
Take a walk with me for a night club jam-hunt and see how the so called youths “the eat money “ leke say them getan na bank “.Don’t ask me where they get the money they lavish in the night clubs .Off course they really have alternative sources .Even when I took my time to listen to them they were madly drunk but dressed in very costly outfit —Home Goods. I will explain more my experience after I meet with them again when they become sober.
“IT TAKES TWO TO CHANGE THEIR MIND ———–“
Pharmacy Board Holds CPD for Kono and North
The Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone has conducted continuous Professional Education for Pharmacists in the Northern Region and Kono District in the East of the country.
The training centered on the problem of drug counterfeiting and how to identify counterfeit pharmaceutical products, drugs use in acute respiratory and track infection as well as the use of drugs in the combating of Leprosy tuberculosis in the country.
Speaking on the issue of counterfeit medicines, Deputy Registrar of the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone Pharmacist James P. Komeh told his fellow counterparts that despite the wide spread problem of counterfeit medicines in the world over, the international community and health institutions have provided no harmonized definition of counterfeit medicines; stating however that WHO says “counterfeit medicines are those which are deliberately and fraudulently mislabeled in respect of its identity, content and source.” The Deputy Registrar added that counterfeit medicines can apply to both branded and generic pharmaceutical products and may include products with correct ingredients or with incorrect ingredients and or wrong and misleading labeling as the case may be.
Mr. James Komeh noted that counterfeit medicines are the greatest evils of our times, the silent but most dangerous killer and a weapon of mass destruction on the public health of the citizenry and a gross economic and social sabotage. He explained that the evil of fake drugs is worse than the combined scourge of malaria, HIV and Aids and Armed robbery as according to him, malaria can be prevented, HIV and Aids can be avoided and armed robbery kills a few people at given times but counterfeit drugs he said “kills en-mass and silently”.
Among other things the Deputy Registrar deliberated on the issue of counterfeit medicines are the implications of counterfeit medicines on the public health of the country, types of counterfeit medicines, the global trends in medicine counterfeiting, visual inspection and practical experience with fake medicines and reasons for counterfeiting.
In Sierra Leone he said, Pharmacy Board has been able to identify various forms of fake medicines that include drugs with no active ingredients, drugs with insufficient ingredients, with active ingredients different from ones stated on the packages, clones of fast moving drugs, illegally imported drugs and many more.
Speaking on Drug use in Acute Respiratory tract Infections (ARIs) Pharmacist Ornome Thomas Abiri of the Drug Evaluation and Registration Department of the Pharmacy Board of Sierra Leone stated that these are infections affecting the upper respiratory tracts such as the nose, nasal cavity, sinuses, pharynx, larynx and lower respiratory tract such as trachea, bronchi and the lungs.
Ornome Abiri explained that the most common respiratory infections are common cold followed by pneumonia and are generally recognized worldwide as leading causes of mortality among children in developing countries and is caused by poverty, overcrowding, air pollution, malnutrition and poor case management as being reasons for the high fatality rate in the various cases.
Lectures were also given on the issue of tuberculosis where the head of the tuberculosis control programme of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation gave an extensive overview of the fight against malaria in Sierra Leone. Head of the Sierra Leone TB programme noted the need for good relation between TB programme and pharmacists and according to him; pharmacies are the first point of call for patients suffering from the infection of tuberculosis. He called on pharmacists in the two regions to work closely with the programme and make prompt referrals in suspected cases of TB meeting them at their various posts.
The Beginning of Bad politics in Africa
17 Apr 2011
Reports monitored from Fourah Bay College (FBC), University of Sierra Leone, indicate that former President of the recently dissolved Students Union government of the college, Alfred Minkailu Koroma (Jnr.), was mercilessly beaten to coma in the evening hours of Wednesday 13th April 2011 by unknown people. It remains unclear whether or [...]
No Justice for Youths in Sierra Leone
17 Mar 2011
“In today’s Independent magazine: a shocking article on the child inmates at Pademba Road prison,” a text message from Ade Daramy read. I had just woken up, switched on my mobile phone when this message came through. Ade, a very good friend of mine, always forwards numerous articles by email, often [...]
Youth unemployment and its consequences
28 Nov 2010
In Sierra Leone, the issue of youth employment had long been a major problem affecting the socio-economic and political development of the country, and it is an issue of general debate amongst Civil Societies, Local and International Non Governmental Organizations and the Government of Sierra Leone. The rate of youth [...]
Sierra Leone Ghetto Perspectives (2)
27 Nov 2010
Sierra Leone Ghetto Perspectives – 2nd Series All over the world, youths are said to be the center of attention of development strives; in terms of policy declarations made by all Government officials, the International Committee, Non Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations. In Sierra Leone the story is just [...]
FBC (U/SL) Students Convocate
12 Nov 2010
As the end of the year approaches the Fourah Bay College (F.B.C.), and other constituent colleges of the University of Sierra Leone, will be graduating their hopeful and ambitious students about a month from now. The college, F.B.C., is one of the oldest universities in Africa that has to a [...]
Taia Lion Resources Retains Javelin Partners as Corporate Development Advisors
20 Apr 2011
Taia Lion Resources Retains Javelin Partners as Corporate Development Advisors New York, New York (JAVELIN – April 20, 2011) — Taia Lion Resources Inc (the “Company” or “TLR”) is pleased to announce the commencement of a 12 month engagement wherein Javelin Corporate Development Partners Inc. (“Javelin” or “Javelin Partners”) will [...]
6 Mar 2011
Technical Sub-Comittee present report to President Koroma on escalation of prices
Coopi intensifies support to Food Security in Sierra Leone
19 Nov 2010
Coopi intensifies support to Food Security in Sierra Leone An Italian International Organization –Cooperation Internazionel (Coopi) has intensified it support to the tieless effort of the government in ensuring food security for the people of Sierra Leone; by distributing agricultural tools and organic fertilizer to subsistence farmers in the Urban [...]