The Sierra Leone Bicentenary Trust

Registered Charity No: 700447 England

EPISODE 6 – SALONE VISIT 2016

This is a short account of my recent visit to Sierra Leone.  I will try to reflect and detail one important issue which affects my community.  Short because, people are well aware of the competing views concerning the country as reported in various news outlets and that of the bold musician Emmerson.  One such report can be found at http://www.thesierraleonetelegraph.com/?p=12749 which highlights a special issue, the contrast between the “haves” and the “have-nots”.  This article talks about “…countries such as Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia where there is a massive bulge of working-class and unskilled poor – struggling to put food on the table, there is little evidence of a rise in the middle-class, though there is plenty evidence of the luxurious lifestyle lived by the few – very rich upper class.”  Africa’s rising middle class – time to sort out fact from fiction Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 May 2016.  A must read.

For me, one of the most pressing issues, which I believe is contributing to the negative perception/picture of our country, and which affects and discourages investment is the serious problem of noise nuisance caused by loud speakers.  Not sleeping properly because of excessive noise from one restaurant that operates as a nightclub was my greatest bugbear.  Residents are subject to loud music noise carrying on throughout the night, affecting the local community.

It is well known that “The best time to relax your body and sleep is from 10pm to 4am.”  This is the time the irresponsible activities commence and escalates.  As a result, this affects people/residents who have to go to work, and seriously disturbing the sleep of children who need to pursue their studies for exams but prevented by the lawlessness.  The excessive loud music from giant speakers put outside the building, have a devastating impact on one’s quality of life.  Their customers also block my entrance, making it difficult for me and my visitors to gain entrance into my home.

It is disappointing and frustrating that the authorities allow this to happen to law-abiding citizens, by refusing to take action to enforce the Public Order Act and so ensure that everyone complies with the law, without fear or favour.

Unless this and other lawless disturbing behaviours is addressed, it is difficult to say honestly that there is real improvement in the quality of lives of our people.

I was hugely impressed to find a damaged wall panel repaired by the Race Course ‘Friends Of The Dead’ Youth.  But, I was especially frustrated and disappointed not being able to engage Freetown City Council, in my capacity as Chair of the charitable organization in the UK that constructed the wall fence at Race Course Cemetery, (Sierra Leone Bicentenary Trust, Registered Charity No: 700447 England).  In the process of laying electrical cables by the contractors who are currently working in the area, the trench that they dug was too close to the wall which resulted in the collapse of several panels of the Cemetery wall.  The contractors have promised to address this issue.

In conclusion, I can understand the plight of our people.  In my humble opinion, income inequality is very obvious and so ordinary people are struggling economically.  Left by the government to fend for themselves, people do whatever they need to do to survive, including deforestation and damage to the environment.

Nonetheless, I look forward to my next visit.  Watch out for Episode 7.