The Sierra Leone Bicentenary Trust

Registered Charity No: 700447 England

FEELING GOOD ABOUT SIERRA LEONE

by Ronald Andrew Lisk-Carew
FRIDAY, 14 MAY 2010

This is another honest account of my latest SaLone visit (April May 2010). It was a nice experience, especially pleased about the important progress in electricity supply since the election of President Ernest Bai Koroma in 2007. Yes, this time I am more optimistic about Sierra Leone. There has been significant improvement in some other areas. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) with Abdul Tejan-Cole at its head is well thought of by most citizens.

There are clear signs showing that things are improving in Sierra Leone. I am particularly proud about the biggest change since 2007. People talked excitedly about the Bumbuna electrification project, as they say, little can be done without regular electricity. There are lingering problems like not enough prepaid electric meters. This says, the new Bai Koroma government must be commended for this achievement.

Concern over security is the main issue people commented about and sadly, there is still disquiet that the legal profession aid corruption in Sierra Leone. This bad news and important issue in the fight against corruption is serious concern over the Judiciary. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) must do something about the public employees still criminally asking for bribes to carry out their public duties and/or to bypass laws and regulations. This shocking issue must be handled without fear or favour.

Government must make it an urgent priority to regulate the legal profession, many of whom are known to aid corruption in Sierra Leone. There is definite evidence of complicity between criminals and some members of the legal profession. With appropriate action, there will be greater hope for Sierra Leone.

Malaria and air pollution is still chocking Freetown. That means many people are experiencing ill health and dying unnecessarily. To help prevent malaria, the media ask people to contact hospitals and health centres for free insecticide treated mosquito bed nets but are put off when they do, told only new mothers are entitled, whilst blocked public drains give rise to breeding of mosquitoes.

Significantly, Sierra Leone needs highly skilled, hard working and dedicated managers. People appreciate the apparent end of the cosy relationship between Customs Officers and Lebanese importers in particular through the efforts of ACC.

The focus now needs to turn to other major national issues, like water supply, and regulation of the legal profession vital for justice to prevail in Sierra Leone. Hopefully, and with a bit of luck, the water supply will be the next big priority issue to be tackled. A clear strategy is needed in the national interest that will appeal to people.

In short, as an objective observer, I feel good about Sierra Leone this time. We can be proud of our country's limited progress and thank all who are battling against the odds to do a good job, necessary for a bright future for our country and people. To the few pleasant and hard-working public servants I say, well done and keep up the good work.