My 2011 Reflections on Sierra Leone.
IS SERRA LEONE TAKING THE RIGHT STEPS FORWARD?
by Ronald Andrew Lisk-Carew
Chair, Sierra Leone Bicentenary Trust
Registered Charity No: 700447 England
FRIDAY, 24 JUNE, 2011
I promised to share honest feedback following my visits to Sierra Leone to help inform everyone interested as regards where the Government are doing a great job and where there is still room for improvement.
Since mama “SaLone” has sentimental value for many of us, we are drawn there or feel we can’t abandon the land of our birth. But, frankly, in this 50th year of our independence, you have to consciously decide to adapt in order to survive in the country, where there is very little sign of regular law and order. Violence and intimidation happens continuously even by police officers. Therefore, it is fair to say it is a case of “survival of the fittest”. The environment is also being damaged by sustained littering. People should be educated not to throw rubbish about but more bins need be provided. A “primitive existence” is what one European visitor called life in Sierra Leone.
My latest SaLone visit was a magical experience. Because of the length of time I spent (nearly 7 months) this visit brings back very happy memories of my childhood days. I was able to revisit memorable places like my Fullah Town, Magazine Cut, Brookfields and of course Kissy Brook neighbourhoods, my Trinity Church and Primary School, my Government Secondary Technical School, as well as various other churches and communities.
As Sierra Leone celebrates 50 years of independence, firstly, huge congratulations to All Works Of Life (AWOL Sierra Leone) for saving the day regarding the 50th Anniversary Celebrations. Following the astonishing failure of the government appointed official committee, this voluntary organisation did as much as they could magnificently, signifying that we have capable and dedicated Sierra Leoneans.
In 2011, “50 years forward - celebrating a new Sierra Leone” we salute those who have made the effort in past years and the present for our beloved independent country, to do right, to improve the lives of citizens. To these, I say a big thank you.
I am trying my best to write positively about my country but honestly, there is little I can say, looking objectively at the situation, that one can be excited about. For example, child labour / exploitation are prevalent in the country. No doubt the economic crises, adult unemployment and poverty are contributing to this particular social problem. I am therefore a little concerned about the big challenge particularly of youth unemployment.
Arguably, all in all, the general public are reasonably happy with President Ernest Bai Koroma. Unfortunately, people are unsure about the rest of the government players.
It is shocking how unfairly customers are treated by traders, especially a large number of Lebanese and Indian wholesalers and retailers and there is no one to complain to. Stories are that their attitude is mainly disrespectful, unhelpful to their customers and employees. Goods are sold with no guarantee/warranty, returns are forbidden and refunds are not given for faulty goods.
Standards are definitely very low in Sierra Leone. The court system demonstrates this very well. Courts are usually overcrowded, don’t start on time, Magistrates and lawyers behave very unprofessionally and the maxim of “justice delayed is justice denied” does not hold in Sierra Leone where cases are regularly adjourned willy-nilly several times for no good reason. One notorious Magistrate regularly turns up around 2pm, repeatedly announces he will rise around 3pm saying “and no power on earth will stop me” as lawyers make incredibly silly jokes with each other, amusing each other whilst the Magistrate chews gum and chats on his mobile phone. As a result, landlords face unnecessary delays to legitimately evict tenants.
In the streets one can observe that the very poor are struggling but life does not seem hard when you see the many jollification. Sierra Leoneans happily celebrate at every opportunity. For theatre, I look forward to trips on a ferry from Kissy Dock Yard to Lungi, “Alhaji Ferry” is truly entertaining.
However, it was a real reassurance to see many police recruits in groups patrolling the streets during festive times making communities feel secure.
The scale of the problem facing Sierra Leone is diabolical; especially the behaviour of individuals who break the law with impunity and know all they have to do is bribe the police, Magistrate or Court Official or call on their political masters to intervene, thereby meddling with “justice” and eroding public confidence in the judiciary.
Basic services like waste collection cannot be provided but Mayor Herbert Williams is striving to do things uniquely difficult after years of neglect. Progress is slow but he is right to strongly urge people to only trade at designated markets and so keep the capital city clean and tidy. A naturally beautiful country but Freetown is not clean. Waste is dumped everywhere and anywhere. It is not surprising that shocking mountains of garbage causes health and safety issues for people, particularly after “Operation Pick Plastic” cleaning Saturdays. The City Council should put more effort into organising garbage collection, after inspiring the citizenry to work together for the common good.
People are choking to death from pollution daily. Roads are dangerously overcrowded and travel is a gruelling experience. Travelling through the congested city is hellishly unsafe. One problem that slows down the traffic is broken down unroadworthy vehicles. I therefore cannot agree with those who say motorbikes (Okadas) are the most dangerous form of transport. Many rely on them as a quick means of transport. Traffic jams are also partly caused by road blocks whenever there is a funeral, match-past or when the President, Vice-President and other political figures are expected to pass through.
Other options like recycling could be explored. One option is to use organic waste from household waste to fertilise crops to help deal with the garbage problem. Communities must be encouraged to separate their refuse, thereby reducing the amount of disposable waste.
The safety of the travelling public in particular is seriously compromised by the lax security regime at Lungi Airport too, where police and customs officers openly ask to be bribed and accept bribes in plain view of everyone.
I regret to say that corruption is still rife in Sierra Leone. When challenged, many people are hostile and aggressive, responding that staff do not earn enough and they have to pay escalating prices for goods and services.
If you want a healthy environment - complete peace and quiet, Freetown is not for you. They call this a vibrant environment. It is disappointingly very noisy when you first arrive. This anti-social behaviour can be unbearable especially when many people are too frightened to complain.
One cannot sleep at night due to excessive noise pollution in some areas. We are talking 100’s of decibels. The loud noise from unregulated music at all hours of the day and night is a real concern and can be seriously disturbing and harmful.
A clear example is music from one club with massive speakers outside their building, with turned up volume of the set to the maximum, so loud, it makes my glass windows vibrate. This causes incredible distress which sadly the police are not interested in and the City Council are ambivalent to this problem when asked to help.
There appears to be no planning laws to regulate hoped-for protection of the rain forest. Buildings are subsequently erected in violation of planning laws.
I don’t think it is all bad news. Some improvements can be seen. One positive aspect is the new housing developments by NASSIT (National Social Security and Insurance Trust) that have sprung up in several areas including Goderich, Waterloo, Makeni and Kenema.
Another major improvement in Freetown is that many streets in the West End have received a facelift. Clearly, there is more work to be done to repair and maintain many roads and pavements. Better roads and safer footpaths can only be good for the people and for investment.
We must build on these achievements. The main area of improvement in 2009, was the increased electricity supply. It appears no provision was made for the dry season, to take into account there will be no rainfall to supply water to the Bumbuna hydroelectric plant, resulting in a shortage of electricity this year. Recycling of the water supply would solve that problem.
Considering where we are coming from, I believe there has been progress since 2007, a clear choice now for people of Sierra Leone in terms of who gets their vote in 2012. The Bia Koroma government were trusted in 2007 and we must acknowledge they have succeeded in improving some things in Sierra Leone. In response, we need to cautiously give President Bai Koroma the thumbs up and have faith and confidence in his administration.
Remember, some newspapers are biased, economic with the truth and some publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information about the government in office.
We must remember that President Bai Koroma had his work cut out when he took over leadership of our country. Also, that some newspapers focus on negativity; are economic with the truth and some publish critical, inaccurate, misleading or distorted information routinely. That’s why people must trust their own judgement of progress.
As mentioned before, based on my observations, actual reforms and the tangible evidence thus far seen in the country since 2007, give me faith for the future. I feel the present government represent hope and deserve credit for their effort to consolidate and sustain development in Sierra Leone, even though there is still work to be done. I believe Sierra Leone is moving forward in small ways and steps are being taken in the right direction.
If we care about Sierra Leone; we want the best for ourselves and our community, it is our patriotic duty to vote in the 2012 elections. Vote for hope, for continued progress, for health care, better policies, e.g., on anti-corruption, genuine opportunities and determined, strong leadership for our country.
Looking forward, I am inspired by Dr’s Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Modupe Taylor-Pearce. I have a dream, that one day, this great nation of Sierra Leone will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. I am confident and pray that this nation will be transformed into a true oasis of Unity, Freedom and Justice, making it impossible for evil to succeed there.
In spite of the financial difficulties and frustrations of the moment, with determined effort, “we shall overcome”. It is also worth remembering those who have gone before us. As a Christian, I believe that we will all be reunited one day.
I hope this article will encourage all to redouble our effort for the sake of Sierra Leone. Please share this, my latest article on Mama SaLone, with your family and friends. Please, please encourage your daughters and sons and all who are eligible to vote to get out there and Vote in the 2012 elections!!!! YOUR VOTE AND EVERY VOTE IS VERY IMPORTANT! Lest we forget, we will be right back where we came from. I believe that even though we are a "quiet minority" we can surely make a significant difference by exercising our right to vote. If there was ever a time to exercise our right, it is now -- Please Vote, We cannot become complacent.
A big thank you to the few individuals who gave me good advice and support. I very much appreciate all the help from these people particularly regarding my affairs in Sierra Leone. It is true to say that the projects were hard work for me, but it was a labour of love. With reference to my family land case, the fight for justice continues.
Finally, as Canon Dr. Modupe Taylor-Pearce inspiringly said on the occasion of the Transform Sierra Leone Day Conference, organized by the Sierra Leone Prayer Network UK at Sheffield, England, on Saturday, 18th June, 2011:
The Lord has changed Sierra Leone;
The Lord is changing Sierra Leone;
The Lord will change Sierra Leone.
I would commend the focus on Attitudinal Change bearing in mind the many challenges facing the nation. We all hope and pray that an amazing transformation will be realised in our lifetime.
Overall, I am optimistic and can safely say the process of change has begun.
Continue to have a Blessed and Beautiful 50th Anniversary Celebration year!!!
I love Sierra Leone. The country of my birth and where I grew up has much to offer. This land has plenty of character and history that needs conserving and preserving. This beautiful country has great potential to further the tourist industry.
My 2010 Reflections on Sierra Leone.
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.
ACHIEVEMENTS IN SIERRA LEONE
by Ronald Andrew Lisk-Carew
MONDAY, 15 JUNE 2009
In the words of Elbert Hubbard "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing." Therefore we should publicise positive news; be grateful for and defend the efforts of hard-working public servants who do critical jobs for the nation, not just criticise the failures.
Our spectacular Cotton Tree is still thriving splendidly.
At last one can see things are beginning to improve in Sierra Leone. It would have been quite something to be able to enjoy the start of the promised electricity supply from the Bumbuna Hydro-Electric Project in April 2009 as promised. Nevertheless, there was a vast improvement in electricity supply in some areas of Freetown, the sort of "determined government attention" I constructively highlighted in my 2004 article. Some progress has taken place since my last write-up then about my experience in Sierra Leone, in 2004. The Bumbuna project should have a positive impact on the country. Theoretically, it should mean reduced spending on expensive imported fuel for generators if the savings is used to help drive the economy forward, stimulate development and improve living standards. All we need is the political will, good leadership and management.
I am familiar with the many problems faced by Sierra Leoneans but there's some positive stuff on the horizon to give us hope for the future. I saw some changes but there is still a lot to do to change the negative cultures, attitudes and behaviours. For example, some public employees criminally ask for bribes to carry out their public duties and/or to bypass laws and regulations.
I was particularly impressed by the progress pertaining to the issue of corruption in high places. I hope the feeling that government, especially through the effective approach to bolster the Anti-Corruption Commission is successful. Any new initiative to tackle entrenched institutional corruption must be good. I particularly like the idea of Target Setting and performance targets for ministers, as well as the declaration of assets by all public officials. The same tough approach might work for other sectors of concern to the community.
One of the best, exciting, fantastic development I saw was the eye-catching refurbished Clock Tower. This positively gives a sense of hope. It brought back fond memories of my childhood since it is still located near my Mountain Cut home and Holly Trinity Church and primary school. At the same time, disturbed and put off by too much street trading in the vicinity.
Newly Renovated Clock Tower at 'Eastern Police'.
There were several adverse and worrying comments concerning the judiciary and police. To many, there are major concerns about the judiciary and police who are perceived as being unethical, inefficient and unprofessional despite recent effort by some in this sector to improve the image and culture of these professions. At street level, the police are said to be unreliable, incompetent and corrupt. They need to be better trained and supervised. The Government need to do something about these serious concerns through bold, clear action and determination if criminal acts, lawlessness and anarchy are to be discouraged. Monitoring and promoting judicial integrity is crucial. It will reassure the public; ensure confidence in the police service and restore the tarnished reputation of the judiciary, ensuring peace and development.
There are still many issues for government to focus on and pursue, like road blockages, traffic congestions, the incredible uncontrolled destruction of our beautiful mountains and hills; the need for action against people who deliberately squat irreverently and so desecrate cemeteries are of paramount importance. Many traditional residential neighbourhoods are being downgraded to commercial areas to the extent that these areas are increasingly uglycised. This is a key challenge for the City Council. The proactive strides on the electricity front has raised hopes for many citizens saying they are convinced President Ernest Koroma's government need to be given a chance to address the many challenges they inherited.
In terms of the global economic crisis, there was a worry that not enough is being done proactively by government to alleviate the financial burden or reduce the impact on the population, especially the most vulnerable communities who suffer desperately from high prices of goods and services. Targeted strategies to stimulate the economy are needed to mitigate the tough symptoms for all struggling citizens.
Overall, my visit was wonderfully warming not just from the sumptuous sunshine. I had a fantastic, brilliant and lovely time predominantly. Slowly, I am working on my projects. Therefore, I am so looking forward to my next visit.
Sierra Leone is an exciting place to visit at the moment and so far, the Ernest Koroma government deserve a pat on the back. It was good to see 'cats eyes' road studs on some roads again; the newly constructed Freetown City Council Administrative Building at Wallace Johnson Street; FCC Waste Management vehicles and a few visible public dustbins also.
However, unfortunately, there is no organised house to house collection of refuse. There is a need for modern motor vehicles with hydraulic tipping mechanism for house to house collection of refuse and for public closets and urinals. Government must create public sector jobs; do more to encourage and support job creation by the private sector and address the issue of homelessness. Government should build affordable social housing to help move people from slum dwellings and so improve the quality of life of the nation.
My experience of visiting Sierra Leone over the last five (5) years tells me clearly, that with true leadership and if effective targeted action is taken to tackle the other significant problems, vis-à-vis THE ENVIRONMENT and HEALTH SERVICES, WATER, EMPLOYMENT, HOUSING, and TRANSPORTATION, especially proper management of our human, material and financial resources, SaLone will be a great place to live in the future. I feel and can confirm that many Sierra Leoneans I heard are more hopeful now and so I can see a bright future for our beloved Sierra Leone.
In short, corruption still plagues the country, needing political courage and strong government. As mentioned above, I saw some progress in Sierra Leone this year. No doubt there is a lot of work to be done to improve Freetown but if the present Mayor Herbert George A. Williams keeps up his enthusiasm and if he is truly dedicated, we will all enjoy a beautiful Freetown once more, DV.
CHANGE HAS COME - BE INSPIRED
"The Audacity of Hope" by Barack Obama
"YES WE CAN" REJOICE WITH DIGNITY.
Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk;
MLK walked so Barack Obama could run;
Obama ran so our children CAN FLY!
Hurray for President Elect Obama! On this exciting and historic 4 NOVEMBER 2008. This is a great day!
We look forward to Barack Obama's inauguration as the 44th President of the United States on 20 January 2009, DV, and take residence as the new First Family in the American White House - The first African-American to be elected President.
Congratulations on been elected to serve as the 44th President of the United States of America and "Bonne Chance".
Happy moments, praise God.
Difficult moments, seek God.
Quiet moments, worship God.
Painful moments, trust God.
Every moment, thank God."
+ Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which s/he has overcome while trying to succeed.
Booker T. Washington
+ "Make a career of humanity and you will make a greater person of yourself.......and a finer world to live in." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
+ "We Stand on the Shoulders of Those who Came Before Us"
WE SHARE SYL'S POSITIVE DESIRE TO HELP SIERRA LEONE MOVE FORWARD.
PHOTO : Syl Juxon-Smith
THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING
A NEW MINDSET TO FAST TRACK SIERRA LEONE
"Mix, associate and learn from people who inspire you rather than those who discourage and despise you. A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds".Syl Juxon-Smith.
President Ernest B Koroma`s Attitudinal Change concept, a new way forward strategy for every Sierra Leonean to harness and focus his or her energy with cohesion in a national direction for a better country cannot be actualise or realise if a positive thinking formula is not prescribed alongside the medication.
The way to manage this concept is to embrace the philosophy of Positive Thinking as the vitamin and stimulant for achieving attitudinal change. Individuals from diverse status registered their reservations and opinions dealing with the contents of their very behaviours in conclusion accepted as a way of life their past, resigned to the fact that they cannot change old ways irrespective of how criminal or immoral for a new with rhetoric's they cannot survive or feed their family on. In this case individuals must be accepted and encouraged positively with their views, opinions and in character to understand the dynamics of the situation better to formulate hypothesis to the solution.
Human behaviour is sociological, influenced by upbringing and societal patterns evolvable from childhood to manhood which makes it difficult to readjust or change. As narrated by individuals with same story to tell, they are of the opinion that "when I changed my attitude or ways, what do I do next"? I was a crook, a thief making a living feeding my family out of it, another says, I was a thug and raray man serving a political party rewarded by a job, every month I will go and collect salary to feed my wife and children like any other ghost worker. My salary is nothing to write home about which made me to manipulate and under value payment documents for percentage of what should go to government coffers, I sleep with my boss to take home extras to provide food for my children which my husband salary cannot take care of, I drop out of school into street life and prostitution because my parent lost their jobs and cannot afford to pay my fees anymore. How do we go about solving an immoral situation born out of moral circumstances?
As the saying goes, no one was born a criminal, it is society that makes them what he or she is today. These are factual and complex scenarios affecting the very fabric of society which has lead to many social and political problems. It is very difficult to teach an old man new behaviour and you can take the man from the bush but you cannot take the bush from inside the man". What are is then left is reason to be rational in thoughts and actions and on how they affect others is everyone's responsibility not only the President and the government of the day. The head of state does not choose himself or chooses his country to govern; it is the people that decide, so the onus lies squarely and even more on the people and their sincerity of choice, decisions and degree of cooperation.
A reputable psychiatrist gave an overview in his estimation of the alarming rate of mentally disturbed patients and individuals in the country not taken or observed seriously, down played by various authorities including international organisations and stake holders. Countries experienced high crime rate, increase in domestic violence, child abuse, break down in the social system and values, highly irrational and temperamental behavioural attitudes which are products inherited defined as "the traumas of war syndrome" experienced by a society after going through theatres of war in its history.
Sierra Leone is no exception but another victim of the circumstance. This phenomenon has physiological repercussion affecting the thinking faculties of the people and gamut of bureaucracy and governance in which due attention be given as an integral factor to the exercise of attitudinal change process. Character makes a man or woman and behaviour is driven by egocentrism in many facets positive and negative in value to the society. The premise of knowledge is based on philosophy which translates into ideology enabling us to understand first the things around us, then appreciates its value to ourselves and to society. Positive and Negative thoughts are both contagious living side by side with just a thin line in between. Individuals infect others by the things they say or do and how they respond to given situations.
This happens instinctively on a subconscious level through thoughts and feelings transference through body language. People sense our aura and are affected by our thoughts. Is it any wonder that individuals want to be around positive persons and shun negative ones? People are more disposed to help us if we are positive in expressions. They dislike and avoid anyone broadcasting negativity. Negative thoughts, words and attitude bring up negative and unhappy moods and actions. When the mind is negative, poisons are released into the blood which causes more unhappiness, mood swings and negativity. This promotes failure, frustration and disappointments. Most of those who came to the diaspora during and after the war behave in ways manifesting trauma tendencies in social, work and domestic situations manifesting how deeply the experiences is embedded in the conscious and sub conscious thoughts of Sierra Leoneans.
I have witnessed in countries, scenarios in occasions when references are made in parties, clubs, football fields, and situations of common sense argument degenerating into derogatory exchanges. An individual reiterates in one circumstance; after all we all nar one now, you been de eat eggs and beacon me sef they eat am now. Another reiterates, we all they London now and me sef they use flush toilet. There was no need for such statements in a nutshell. It shows the experience and intentions of the war had different connotation many personalised. It is good for all to eat eggs, beacon and to use a flush toilet which is ones human right to food, hygiene and dignity. What's next? or where do we go from here??? If a Sierra Leonean cannot be like you, you must be like him (pull him down syndrome) influenced by an attitude of jealousy, malice, treachery and hatred a very sad chapter in the country's history still prevailing.
The late President Siaka Probyn Stevens once said "when cotton tree fordom he still high pass grass", When a cotton tree is down it is still taller and higher than the grass on the ground. Many good people fled during the war for their lives including myself finding it very difficult to go back to these kinds of behaviours and attitudinal mischief which is not good or healthy for any forward thinking person or any society that wants to progress. People should look at their improvements as great achievement and blessings to be shared positively rather than a weapon to fight the past with someone not responsible for the choice of ones parenthood or childhood circumstances.
The war in the process brought the society and its citizenry unto their knees to its own detriment, a price the country is paying dearly for the greed, selfish ambitions and ego of the politics of the so called good guys. Diminished responsibility is the cause of inimical decisions and actions from individuals and group of inhabitants in response to situation which could have been solved without any violence or bloodshed through dialogue and consensus rather given preference to unnecessary and unwarranted use of excessive force and mob justice without due regard to human and collateral damage or consequences.
This pattern continues to fuel hate, stress and depression in the country. Modern science today has proven that stress and depression chip away the body's natural ability to fight off disease. Also many medical scientists `believe that the mind exerts direct influence over the immune system and general behavioural patterns and characteristics of individuals. In recent years, evidence has accumulated that psychology can indeed affect biology. Studies have found for example, that people who suffer from depression are at higher risk for heart disease and other illnesses. And people under stress have been found to be more susceptible to headaches, colds and flu, and to have more severe symptoms after they fall ill.
Positive thinking is a mental attitude that admits into the mind thoughts, words and images conducive that are conductive to growth, development and success. A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every situation and action looking always on the bright side of things and life. Whatever the mind expects it finds. Many may not accept or believes in positive thinking but by example globally, it has brought tremendous success and relief to many people and country evolving from the ashes of war to the pinnacle of success a prerequisite warranted cognisance in our own present society. When you want to change someone's way of life or thinking, you need to offer something in return for fruitful and positive response whether physical or spiritual doesn't necessarily matters but it has to be convincing.
Sierra Leone is experiencing a state of trauma no one wants to take the blame for or accept thus allowing the predicament and ailment to continue unabated affecting the development, progress, moral and ethical fabrics of the society. What the country has been through 12 to 15 yrs of war cannot be wiped away so easily or swept under the carpet of illusions pretending all is well. What is happening has happened to many and continues to happen to others going through similar circumstances in other countries. The first step to self realisation is the process of atonement. Unfortunately for Sierra Leone a point of national atonement has still not been observed in respect of the spirits of our ancestors and those innocent souls both young and the old who suffered untimely death in the hands of politicians and other individuals in their quest, adventurism and gangsterism in the name of politics, power and wealth. Innocent men, women and children were victims while others ritually sacrificed for no justifiable reason other than the maintenance of political power and wealth. Blood was shed through out the land still crying and will continue to cry.
Until the people and country atones through the power of positive thinking, acknowledging the deeds and iniquity of the negative and demonic forces at play which is holding back the progress of the country. The key to unlocking the solution is to be able to accept the scenarios and experiences collectively and holistically not going down the easy path of apportioning blame on one another for the failures and lackadaisical behaviour of the bureaucratic gamut. Those who fought and physically participated in the war, those who collaborated with others and those who watch by and saw it happen are all equally part of the experience. A nation that has lost its spiritual sanctity has lost its direction and purity. The man who kills and the man who watches another been killed is as guilty and as traumatised as the perpetrator and in most cases the spectator is left much more traumatised than the actors.
There are three perspective to the war in Sierra Leone; 1. Planners and initiators of the war, 2. Executors, collaborators and beneficiaries of the war, 3. Victims, silent witnesses and spectators who stood bye and did nothing but watch. Every Sierra Leonean was touched by one of these categories in one way or the other. By each and every one of us identifying the true and sincere aspects that affects us, our families or next of kin is the new way to a new beginning breaking the hold of all negative thoughts of the past holding the future down. It is imperative to know that all our feelings, beliefs and knowledge are based on our internal thoughts. We are in control whether we are aware, knowledgeable or not. Aim high and give and do your best. We can be positive or negative, enthusiastic or dull, active or passive. The biggest difference between people is their attitudes. For some learning is enjoyable and exciting while for others, learning is a drag, boring and for many, learning is just okay something required on the road to a job or ticket to survive.
Our present general attitude is influenced by from the feedback of the war, parenthood, friendship, societal interactions which form our characteristics, represents the self-image and portrays the country's world-image. These attitudes are maintained by the inner conversations we constantly have with ourselves consciously and subconsciously. The first step in changing our attitudes is to change our inner conversations. As a nation we must keep our minds focused on nation building and positive issues of general concern. Set goals and priorities for what we want to achieve as an individual then as a country.
If we cannot heal ourselves first from our ailments and past, we cannot heal the nation or country. The challenge facing every Sierra Leonean is enormous and monumental but can be overcome by uniformity of conduct. Studies show that people with positive characteristics are winners in good times and survivors in hard times. Research also shows that, "... people who begin consciously to modify their inner conversations and assumptions report an almost immediate improvement in their performance. Their positive energy increases and things seem to go better ..." Commitment, control and challenges help build self-esteem and promote positive thinking. Here are some of the basics for a new life story.
A Prescription for Building Positive Thinking for Attitudinal Change.
In gatherings and social environments, look for positive people to associate with. In every class and lecture, look for interesting ideas and topics. In business or employment, be ethical and disciplined in the discharge of responsibilities in line with obligations to the one who pays your salary. With every friend, explain and share a new idea you've just learned. With every teacher and elder, ask questions. With yourself, keep a list of your goals, positive thoughts and actions. Remember, you are what you think, you feel what you want.
FURTHER STEPS FOR IMPROVEMENT IN
By Ronald Andrew Lisk-Carew, 24 June 2004
Following my article "The Changed Face Of Sierra Leone" (03 February 2004), a wide range of views were expressed. Some encouraging views articulated a need for the improvement of life in Sierra Leone and included a plea for the immediate publication of an annual Revenue Statement and an Action Plan setting out detailed Local and National policies for open community debate.
The main priority for several people, as a focus point, is decent housing for all. These should include basic facilities, because, it is suggested that this will have a positive impact on health and other social issues; bolster employment prospects in the whole country and thereby secure lasting peace, leading to the prosperity which the people of Sierra Leone very much deserve.
SOME THINGS MAY NEVER CHANGE ??
Many people wonder why Republican legislators are so hard on President Obama. Frederick Douglass gave us the answer many years ago.
“Though the colored man is no longer subject to barter and sale, he is surrounded by an adverse settlement which fetters all his movements.
In his downward course he meets with no resistance, but his course upward is resented and resisted at every step of his progress.
If he comes in ignorance, rags and wretchedness he conforms to the popular belief of his character, and in that character he is welcome; but if he shall come as a gentleman, a scholar and a statesman, he is hailed as a contradiction to the national faith concerning his race, and his coming is resented as impudence.
In one case he may provoke contempt and derision, but in the other he is an affront to pride and provokes malice.”
FOLLOWING THE LOCAL ELECTIONS ON 10TH JUNE 2004, LABOUR LOST CONTROL OF BIRMINHAM CITY COUNCIL. " 'The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones' Julius Caesar."
THIS MARKS A FRESH CHAPTER IN BIRMINGHAM.
I may not live to see my dreams fulfilled, like the end of the appalling and evil racism in British Institutions like Birmingham City Council, but like Dr Martin Luther King, "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: . . I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today."
"All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing." Elbert Hubbard.
Ronald A. Lisk-Carew
THE BIRMINGHAM LABOUR PARTY
by Ronald Andrew Lisk-Carew
Friday, 04 June 2004
LABOUR IS NOT WORKING IN BIRMINGHAM OR FOR BIRMINGHAM
"A change of administration is essential in Birmingham especially after years of mismanagement, corruption and extensive racism" says Ronald Lisk-Carew a former Labour Party Constituency Chairman, Membership Secretary and District Treasurer in Birmingham.
In 2002, even with the collusion of the Trade Union UNISON, Birmingham City Council and Deputy Director, Dr Sonia Sharp were found guilty of Racial Discrimination by way of victimisation at work against Mr Lisk-Carew in his capacity as Senior Education Social Worker with the council.
UNISON shamefully refused Mr Lisk-Carew legal representation at the Employment Tribunal on the grounds that he could not win at the Tribunal. Mr Lisk-Carew represented himself and won compensation.
THE CHANGED FACE OF SIERRA LEONE
by Ronald Andrew Lisk-Carew
TUESDAY, 03 FEBRUARY 2004
I have decided to document my observations and comment about Sierra Leone after 23 years. I am doing this today, (Tuesday, 03 February 2004) three weeks after my return, so that I am not too emotionally negative soon after I came back to England feeling very distressed at what I saw there or too complacent much later.
I will title this article "The Changed Face Of Sierra Leone." I was nervously excited to return home. When I got there it was a far cry from my last visit in July 1980. At that time most things were in good condition, for example, streetlights met international standards. Now there are no streetlights anywhere to be seen. Even the street lighting columns were absent.
On the whole, it was good to return home (for Christmas and New Year) after 23 years away. I was happy that there was no sign of starvation. In general I was very sad to witness for myself the reported problems that people are facing.
Apart from the fact that I missed very close relatives and friends, I was most disappointed about the persistent water problems and to see very many young people without employment and just 'hustling' to survive.
I agree with many people who said that, "everything is a priority here" (referring to the shattered infrastructure; desperate environmental issues; terrible roads; dreadful water supply; appalling electricity, et cetera). I believe that Sierra Leone lacks development but a lot can be done in the short term. One person said, "Sierra Leone is crying, Sierra Leone is dying". Others said, "Sierra Leone is messed up"; "development is not possible in Sierra Leone because the government, Local as well as National, are so ineffectual" and "corruption is still a big issue".
I felt welcome and fairly unthreatened, however I was intimidated by the methods used by the many people persistently 'hustling'. This makes some people feel unsafe. I was struck most by the way people responded to the adverse situation but disheartened by the fact that so many are forced to begging or engaged in very petit street trading all over the city to survive. I am encouraged to observe that the general public are still kind, friendly and helpful. However, pollution from exhaust fumes is seriously damaging to public health. Government need to tackle the rubbish that piles up on roads and drains.
There are too many 'traders' and young people hanging around with nothing to do. Competent government will see that there is proper planning for commercial and residential areas. Roads need to be clean and tidy if there is not to be an epidemic soon. Government don't seem to have any strategy, or power to tackle unplanned building on our once attractive hills and mountains. Visually, this makes the country look unsightly.
It is essential that the water supply facility is upgraded for the future and damaged water pipes mended promptly to help maintain the pressure for consistent supply.
One of the key problems, which has to be addressed, is employment. People must have proper jobs and those in jobs are entitled to consistently expect fair and prompt payment for their labour. Many workers are not paid on time. Unless workers are regularly paid in a timely manner, the workforce will be more inclined to become corrupt. To tackle corruption government must first tackle the causes of corruption. This is illustrated by the fact that officials openly ask for bribes, which is particularly worrying in respect of air travel and state security.
Most of the time there is no consistent electricity. Homes and businesses receive electricity intermittently. This problem needs determined government attention.
People still live in shacks under appalling conditions. The devastation of property during the war is massive. Low cost housing is urgently needed nationwide to ease the congestion in Freetown.
To say that transport is very difficult is an understatement. When Mrs Lulu Wright wrote about the horrendous traffic situation some time ago, I was optimistic that the government will respond positively to address this enormous problem people face. In January 2004, it is still a disaster. Even a minor emergency would trap people and put lives at risk.
In summary, I believe that Sierra Leone is in serious crisis. There is stability, some post war re-construction but no real development. I saw a significant downward shift in the management of the country's human, material and economic resources.
I was disillusioned by the local and national government who hold ultimate responsibility for Sierra Leone, especially as this government was elected with great promise and support. I also now wonder if they have the capability or necessary skills to deal with the problems of the country. Some people have said that the government needs a complete overhaul.
Like many people, I wonder if there are still negative external influences making things difficult for our governments to make development possible.
I also wonder how people in government feel when they see the many issues facing our country. I honestly can't see how anyone can claim to be governing Sierra Leone in this condition. I have to agree with those who claim that "the current politicians in Sierra Leone don't have the country at heart."
People need to see development and improvement in their lives. To move forward, I, in common with many voices I heard, require committed Sierra Leonean leadership. Policies aimed specifically at the development and benefit of the entire country are also essential. We must have Lt. Col. Andrew Juxon-Smith's example of honesty, integrity and discipline as a foundation to build on. Only once we obtain that kind of leadership, will peace and prosperity prevail in Sierra Leone.
I am extremely grateful and say thank you to everyone for holding the fort and everyone who helped to make my home visit lovely. I will, with others, continue to pray for our beloved homeland. I pray for much needed, much better living conditions that people hope to get and deserve through development of value to the whole country if Sierra Leone is not to plunge into another tragedy.
Finally, as I believe that Sierra Leone is potentially the richest country in the world, blessed with more resources than other countries of its size and population, we pray for forgiveness for those responsible for unnecessarily inflicting pain and suffering on God's blessed people whilst looting the nation's great wealth. We must also pray for committed leadership to take our beloved Sierra Leone forward in Unity, Freedom and Justice.
RE: A HEART WRENCHING PIECE ON SIERRA LEONE
"Most Wretched Country"
by Ronald Andrew Lisk-Carew
Thursday, 20 March 2003
I am conscious of the unnecessary hardship our people have had to endure, to survive over many years of crisis and that life remains tough and depressing for the majority of Sierra Leoneans in the country today.
I have (with others) been praying for our beloved homeland, Sierra Leone, sharing in the anguish of the war and its effects. I appreciate the good article "Most wretched country", which critically informs us about life in the capital city, Freetown. It outlines the real situation that exists there. I hope to make a helpful and practical suggestion as a well-meaning contribution to the discussions, to address the problems by focussing on the issue of urbanisation.
Urbanisation, like many social problems, is very complex. Clearly there is no question that government has a significant if not crucial responsibility in these circumstances.
The lack of basic facilities throughout the country (not just in Freetown) is quite rightly alluded to in Mrs Wright's article. However, I am not too enthusiastic about some of the suggested proposals for alleviating the problem of overcrowding in Freetown. For example, as the article rightly imply, "Forced Repatriation" is not a useful suggestion. We must recognise that "Sending people back to 'where they came from' is nebulous and unrealistic since many of their villages do not exist any more and consequently nor do their homes."
There is said to have been "projects since the war ended, to furnish people with basic necessities and send them back to their villages and towns." Knee jerk reactions may work in the short term but invariably do not last.
I believe that real progress and development can only be achieved by some structural changes coupled with a change of attitude and discipline. This is paramount for the whole population "together with a culture of law enforcement".
I am more inclined to suggest the creation of New Towns with modern facilities. I hear Makeni is one of the now deserted 'old' towns that may be a suitable area to begin development fit for relocation / resettlement of people. It is desperately necessary to build New Towns with the vast wealth of natural resources of our country, to build a better, happy and prosperous Sierra Leone, thereby improving lives by creating sustainable jobs, raising the standard of living; effectively and efficiently administered, should have a chain effect to create employment and economic development. Teamwork and real partnership between citizens, local and national government is essential for success.
It makes perfect sense to aim for modern facilities because our people deserve better than "to furnish people with basic necessities". Electrified homes all connected to water mains; with effective water supply and reliable electricity supply; appropriate public transport; a reliable postal system that works; health facilities; modern school buildings; community facilities (including dedicated market areas) and of course clean motorable roads are needed.
I see nothing wrong with the "twenty-five state farms" idea to be "established in different parts of the country".
May God continue to bless Sierra Leone.
With much love, optimism and a hope for a brighter future for my beloved country, Sierra Leone.
Most Wretched Country
by Lulu Wright
Lulu Wright used to teach at the Annie Walsh Memorial School, a school that is over 150 years old. She is the widow of Logie Wright, the renowned classical musician. How very, very, sad what the war has don to Sierra Leone.
Come and learn to do without
Come to Sierra Leone and learn to do without electricity!
Come to Sierra Leone and learn to do without a telephone!
Come to Sierra Leone and learn to do without water!
Come to Sierra Leone and learn to do without public transport!
Come to Sierra Leone and learn to do without all-year-round motorable roads!
Come to Sierra Leone and learn to do without an internal postal system that works!
Future tourists please take note!
Can anyone wonder why ours is the most wretched country of all? Isn't it unbelievable that in our capital city this day and age, at the start of the 21st century, many of us feel as if we are stuck in a bog? We cannot communicate freely - even mobile phones run out of juice and cannot be charged.
5 Taxis from East to West
We spend valuable hours looking for water. We cannot travel in comfortable buses provided by our government or some responsible corporation. We cannot read or sew at night for three out of four days. Our mail is tampered with by post office workers on the look out for money. We wear our shoes and our cars down on bad roads in this most wretched land of all. I got out of a taxi a few days ago, my third from Wellington (I was to
travel by five in all by the time I got home), which deposited me at Clock Tower. I have never felt so disoriented in all my life. It was as if I did not know where I was. It was 6.00 p.m. or thereabouts, and there I was in the middle of nowhere, standing in a sea of bodies surging this way and that. Was this the area in which I wen! t to school and worked for years? Was this my home town? It took me minutes to get my bearings and to decide I needed to aim for PZ roundabout where, with luck, I could get my fourth taxi.
These vehicles were conspicuous by their absence in the muddle of traffic in and around the pedestrians. When I did see one just past Gibraltar Church, it was stuck in a jam and I was far better off walking. How I got to PZ on foot was a miracle. I was jostled and jolted on all sides, bumped into a dozen times. At others, jets of spittle missed me by inches. Now I love my compatriots dearly- every single one of them, but not when they squeeze me off pavements or spit across my path, or ease themselves profusely practically everywhere. It reminded me of a similar occasion when I was caught one morning just before Xmas, in a wave of walkers from the top end of Kissy Road going towards Clock Tower. At least on that day, most of us were progressing in the same direction. This time the crowd was going eastwards as I battled my way towards the west. But is this what we are to continue to experience in our city? You could not tell where pavements began or ended. Most of them consisted of broken slabs anyway.
The black hole of West Africa
Everywhere was strewn with litter (when is Kissy Street swept?) in this most wretched city in the world. Freetown is one never-ending market with ramshackle stalls all higgledy-piggledy proliferating along streets and pavements. Incidentally what road works are being done now, and where?
The total indiscipline in the new population together with the lack of a culture of law enforcement makes it impossible for the prettiest capital in West Africa geographically speaking, not to be the black hole of West Africa. It is also one enormous urinal. And yet, I heard a comment from a visiting VIP recently, that our President was the best President in Africa or West Africa or somewhere! So the best President presides over the country with the dirtiest, most poverty-stricken capital! I wonder whether H. E. was flattered by the compliment or whether he had cause to blush because he had walked incognito one morning or evening down Kissy Street as I did. If he had, he would have made some interesting discoveries about the state of his capital and the condiions under which people function, first hand.
If he had, he would have made some interesting discoveries about the state of his capital and the conditions under which people function, first hand. The first task the government has to tackle, I would have thought, seems to be to clear the city of its recently acquired surplus population most of whom do not belong here. Sending people back to "where they came from" is nebulous and unrealistic since many of their villages do not exist any more and consequently nor do their homes. They have become a nuisance, a menace, a threat to the human rights of bona fide Freetown dwellers simply by force of numbers, albeit through no fault of their own.
One has heard of projects since the war ended, to furnish people with basic necessities and send them back to their villages and towns. Quite obviously, a year of gentle persuasion has had no effect. What we need is a three-month deadline after which firm action is taken to entice them to leave. We need to think and act fast. About twenty-five state farms could be established in different parts of the
country with IMF relief funds or some other funding the government can surely access, with school, church, mosque, clinic and community centre in each- all simple structures and dwelling houses.
Idlers to work in State Farms
Then all the idlers, those men who stand in serried ranks along Lightfoot-Boston Street impeding the passage of pedestrians and traffic, the seething masses of Kissy Street and Clock Tower should be obliged to work on the newly created farms and help improve our food production. Look at the quality of rice most of us are now obliged to eat! Anyone who cannot produce convincing evidence of residence in Freetown since 1991, or regular employment i.e. of one partner in a couple, should be screened and firmly encouraged to go. Their uncontrolled presence in the city together with the manifold implications as described above, is one of the strong reasons, only I am sure, for our placing at the bottom of the world ladder of poor nations. Migration and urban! ization are not new phenomena. They happen in all cities to a greater or lesser degree.
Screen and Re-locate
But our case is exceptional. Because of the war, this little strip of Sierra Leone skirting a few hills is now home to more than half the population of the country. One year after the end of hostilities, there is no evidence whatsoever of the city being cleared of displaced people. We need a concerted, fearless effort on the part of government, to carry out a screening and re-locating process. A government, which does not have the guts to take decisive action on such an issue, is content to see us designated last country on the scale. We need to see proof that something is actively being done. To make pious pronouncements about people being resettled and to live in the turmoil and disorganization of present-day Freetown are two different things.
City Council Useless
The City Council can do nothing worthwhile since all their efforts are systematically neutralized by masses of people fouling up streets and drains and virtually exhausting utilities already stretched to the limit. So all the Council workers can do, I imagine, is shuffle around their offices wringing their hands in frustration. They simply cannot cope with the numbers. If the government cannot take effective action because it is afraid of losing the votes of thousands of idlers and hangers-on who are happy to perch on the fringes of Freetown life even if they only sell safety-pins on a non-street-trading street, then we shall remain at the bottom of the international ladder- the most wretched state of all!
Poorest country, most wretched country!
How long can! it go on using the war as an excuse? Five years last of all nations! A friend of mine said lately 'This must be some kind of a record!' And are we the Sierra Leoneans content to sit dumbly by while we are placed last for a sixth year? For goodness sake, let us shake ourselves and challenge the government to do something immediately or resign.
Governments have fallen elsewhere on lesser issues. A capital city that dreams of attracting tourists cannot boast of a regular organised public transport system. Who would have imagined that the Freetown of colonial days with its regular services from town centre to suburbs and villages, infrequent but reliable, and the Double-Decker era with its regular twenty-minutes service from Cline Town to Congo Cross, would degenerate to a state of no public transportation at all except for private taxis and miserable mini buses from which seats have been removed and
replaced by metal benches? Of course - we're last! Most wretched country of all!
No regular public transport, no regular electricity supply, no water supply at all for months- even years as in my case, inside t! he city, no decent roads, no proper telephone system. Responsibility of the Government? Surely at least one of these services could have been brought up to scratch by now if proper targets had been set and the right moves made. One good move would have been to sack the whole lot of inefficient workers and replace them by small teams of foreigners from China, USA, Japan, Sweden etc. for a period to train new staff and set the systems right. Otherwise, foreign experts could have been invited to head these services for a period.
Look at the Police and the Army!
What was possible there could have happened with the telephones, water etc. We
must lift ourselves out of the rut; and this is not a case of people doing nothing but talk and expecting Government to do everything. The responsibility lies squarely with the Government.
Jeannette E. Wright (Ms)
by Ronald Andrew Lisk-Carew
To many, the millennium (the year 2000) is going to be a big affair - the dawn of a new millennium could be the start of a new era for Sierra Leoneans - not something everyone gets to see during their lifetime.
I am optimistic that the changing of the year could bring with it a host of major developments for Sierra Leone in particular, Africa and the developing world in general. Are we going to be able to meet the challenge? Are we prepared to contribute to making our beloved Sierra Leone better in the future?
We can seriously consider making the millennium year a very special time. As many of us from around the world who can, should return to Sierra Leone to celebrate and pay our respect to family, friends and fellow Sierra Leoneans. School organisations can plan reunions of past and present pupils' functions (I suggest a concert for my Secondary Technical School) to help raise funds for our alma mater. This will also help Sierra Leone in a positive way to progress.
The goal is to 'improve on previous best' in terms of peace, unity, freedom and justice for our homeland. I believe if we go home for the year 2000, this will provide a unique opportunity to appreciate once more, the splendour of Sierra Leone; for school friends who now live and work all over the world to meet-up once more and to reminisce about "the good old days".
To mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of Freetown, the examples of the late Wallace Johnson, Sydney Boyle, et al, inspired me in 1987 to write "A Short History of Sierra Leone".
A SHORT HISTORY OF SIERRA LEONE
(1787 - 1987)
[With grateful acknowledgements to "A History of Sierra Leone" by Christopher Fyfe and "The Creoles of Sierra Leone" by Leo Spitzer].
On May the 10th 1787, a convoy of about four hundred settlers from England entered the Sierra Leone River. On May the 15th the people disembarked and started their settlement (first named Granville Town - after Granville Sharp, one of a group of philanthropists who successfully pressured the British government to permit the transportation of the emancipated Negroes to Sierra Leone - then Province of Freedom, and finally Freetown).
The Sierra Leone Company was chartered, listing the famed humanitarians William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson, Granville Sharp, and Henry Thornton among its directors in 1791. The company aimed to substitute legitimate commerce between Africa and Great Britain for the slave trade and was empowered to take over all lands in Sierra Leone which had been acquired by purchase or grant from indigenous chiefs.
The Creoles who settled around Freetown in Sierra Leone shared a diverse and unique heritage. Although born in Sierra Leone, they were descended from immigrants: a group of "Black-Poor" sent there from England in 1787; a group of auxiliaries from the United States who had fought for the British in the Revolutionary War and who were later relocated in Nova Scotia; and a group of Maroons who had revolted from their slave masters in Jamaica in 1800. The fourth and largest immigrant group was made up of the Liberated Africans (Recaptives) - men and women freed from slave ships by the British anti-slavery squadron in the years after abolition. These groups, together with smaller numbers of others, formed a colony literate and British in manner. The Creoles developed flourishing newspapers in which they gave lively expression to their sentiments and social views, in prose as well as in verse.
The Creoles were even more than their fore-fathers, taught to prize Europeanization and the status that it conferred in the colonial order. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, however, during the heightened racism which characterized the age, Creoles were increasingly rejected by their British mentors and began to undergo a crisis of cultural self-confidence. In these circumstances, many Creoles decided to look within their own society, to analyze its character and values, even questioning the major premise on which their culture was based - the validity of the African adaptation of European ways.
Creole involvement in the National Congress of British West Africa (NCBWA), the major West African movement of the first quarter of the twentieth century, was the clearest indication of their post-war shift from cultural introspection to political action. The NCBWA emerged from the same cauldron of post-World War 1 expectations that had engendered movements like the first Pan African Congress, held in Paris in 1919 under the leadership of W.E.B. DuBois, and Marcus Garvey's United Negro Improvement Association in the United States. In 1918, at the insistence of Messrs. J.H. Thomas and Cornelius May, a committee was formed to take the first practical steps toward organizing a conference of West Africans. In March 1920, at the instigation of the well-known Accra barristers, J.E. Casely Hayford and T. Hutton-Mills, the first conference of the NCBWA was convened in the Gold Coast (now named Ghana). Delegates from Nigeria, the Gambia, Gold Coast, and Sierra Leone participated, of which Dr. Herbert C. Bankole-Bright (a representative of Sierra Leone) was the General Secretary.
By 1945 the direction and shape of the political and social developments which would lead to independence for Sierra Leone was discernible. The formation of the West African Youth League (Sierra Leone Section) [Motto "Liberty or Death"] of which Alphonso Sylvester Lisk-Carew was President; Isaac T.A. Wallace-Johnson was the Organising Secretary, and S.M.O. Boyle, General Secretary - now living in Birmingham, England - was the first extensive attempt by Creoles to reach out beyond the confines of their own ethnic group and self-interest and to form an alliance with the indigenous inhabitants based on racial unity and perception of imperialism as exploitative of all peoples of African descent in Sierra Leone, not just Creoles.
Despite British attempts to halt the growth of the Youth League movement, the seeds for national co-operation remained alive and contributed to Sierra Leone's independence.
In 1799 Freetown became the first municipality in Africa.
On April 27th, 1961, Sierra Leone became a Sovereign and Independent State within the Commonwealth of Nations, and was on the 27th September of the same year, admitted as the 100th Member of the United Nations. Sierra Leone became a Republic on the 19th of April, 1971.
Sierra Leone is also a member of OAU, ECOWAS, the Mano River Union and is an ACP State of EEC.
By Ronald A. Lisk-Carew, JP [May 1987]
in Celebration of
THE BICENTENARY OF
and mark the founding of
SIERRA LEONE BICENTENARY TRUST v1787-1987
Registered Charity No. 700447 England