Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 December 2018:
Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland – Mr Tamba Lamina, and his wife, are wishing Sierra Leoneans living throughout the UK and Ireland, season’s greetings and a prosperous and happy New Year.
This is their message:
“On behalf of myself and my dearest wife, Mrs. Salma Lamina, our family; and on behalf of my abled deputy High Commissioner H. E. Mrs. Agness Dugba Macauley and all the hardworking staff at the Sierra Leone High Commission in the United Kingdom, I am delighted to take this wonderful opportunity to wish every Sierra Leonean in and out of the country, (especially those living in or visiting the United Kingdom), a very joyful festive season and a glorious 2019.
“May the New Year usher in a renewed sense of unity, patriotism and progress; and may we continue to enjoy the national (and indeed global) peace and security that will enable the New Direction, through the graceful guidance of God almighty, and under the focused leadership of H.E. President Julius Maada Bio, to successfully usher in the envisioned level of meaningful socio-economic development that will positively touch the lives of all Sierra Leoneans and make our nation truly proud of itself.
“May we all live to enjoy a satisfying share from the abundant bliss, the fulfilling joy and the endless grace that our Heavenly Father has in store for us; not just for the coming year but for many more glorious years ahead.
“May our collective destiny as Sierra Leoneans empower each and every one of us to work for the benefit of our nation and towards the actualisation of the dreams of generations past, present and yet unborn.
“Stay safe, think positive, act patriotic, count your blessings, share your joys and touch as many lives as you possibly could. Thank you for believing in Sierra Leone.”
On Friday 21st December, 2018, High Commissioner Lamina took time off his official schedule, to pay a pleasant season’s surprise visit to many of the members of the Sierra Leonean business community in London.
Without a speck of formality attached, the High Commissioner visited his “Sierra Leonean brothers and sisters” to share the compliments of the season and to personally deliver his handwritten Christmas cards.
High Commissioner Lamina visited Jaffa store, Jumbo store, Kroo town road enterprises, Cool & Cozy entertainment centre, Bakardi’s, Maranda, Lolly Pop, Sabinah store, IBB’s, and many others.
“Business is one fundamental building block of our national economy”, he said; adding: “Sierra Leoneans engaging in businesses need to be encouraged, whether they are operating inside or out of the country because their trading activities help to improve the health of our economy,” said the High Commissioner.
This is a visit that was much appreciated and welcomed by all the proprietors visited.
Some of the entrepreneurs were visibly shocked, expressing gratitude for the High Commissioner’s visit.
Many also expressed their genuine satisfaction with the current direction of the new government, particularly in the areas of education and in combating corruption.
Last Friday’s visit to the Sierra Leonean business community in London, represents the High Commissioner’s first among many planned engagements with the Sierra Leonean community across the UK in the New Year.
On Saturday, 9th of February 2019, High Commissioner Lamina will be the Guest of Honour at a Charity Fund Raising Dinner Dance, Fashion Show and African Excellence Awards Ceremony, organised by the Sierra Leone Poverty Alleviation Charity Trust (SALPACT) in Leeds, UK.
The Trustees of SALPACT are hoping that the event will raise funds to support the establishment of school farming projects and tree planting by various schools in Sierra Leone, so as to mitigate against the growing and deadly threats of climate change and deforestation. (Photo: High Commissioner Lamina with the founders of SALPACT – Mr Abdul Rashid Thomas and Mrs Fawzia Thomas).
In August 2017, heavy rains and mudslide killed over a thousand people in Freetown, leaving hundreds of families homeless and many children orphaned.
Speaking about his visit to the London Business community, High Commissioner Lamina said: “We have to continue to directly engage with our people so that we will not lose sight of whatever really matters most to them”.
Although the response to the High Commissioner’s visit was overwhelmingly positive, when asked about their concerns regarding the running of their businesses, some of the proprietors expressed dissatisfaction with the high cost of shipping goods from Sierra Leone.
Others wanted to see themselves selling more Sierra Leonean made products in their stores, not simply as a patriotic gesture but as a profitable business venture.
However, their disappointment in that respect, is that Sierra Leone does not really produce much for export – a situation which they hope, would be actively looked into by the new government of President Bio.