Today, all over Sierra Leone, families and friends are reuniting to renew ties, enjoy each other's company, and celebrate our Nation's independence anniversary. April 27, 1961 a day we found our liberty and unity. Today, we can acknowledge that we have our faults, and lots of problems, but we have the courage to be happy and proud because we are free, and we know the best of Sierra Leone is yet to be.
April 27 is a time for a celebration of the best of Sierra Leone through our music and creative and performing arts, showcasing our deep reservoir of talents to Sierra Leone and the rest of the world, while inspiring hope and unity. Independence Day is also a time of reflection on our journey as a nation, from the era of slavery and colonialism to our achievement of nationhood in 1961.
This year’s commemoration has taken on a somber note, as the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 global pandemic. With more than 148 million cases and over 3.1 fatalities, it is clear that the tentacles of this formidable enemy have left no area of the globe untouched.
We are, indeed, living in unprecedented times. We must unite to fight our common enemy - poverty. We all know in Sierra Leone today, getting access to these basics - food (bread, butter, cooking oil, fuel, etc.), shelter (decent and affordable accommodation) and clothing is becoming financially strenuous. In instances where the goods and services are available, a significant number of breadwinners cannot afford to purchase these necessities. We must redefine our future as a nation. At this moment in our national history, Sierra Leoneans are crying for leadership that cares for the ordinary people.
Notwithstanding the ongoing turbulence, I believe that we have a bright future ahead if we join hands and hearts to make Sierra Leone a better place. As is attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, “what lies behind us and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” As we strive to secure a safe and prosperous Sierra Leone for current and future generations, we must plan our national development goals and objectives to enable us to “Build a Better Sierra Leone.”
I take this opportunity to reassure all Sierra Leoneans, at home and abroad, that we have much to be proud of, and that our innate self-confidence will enable us to emerge from the challenges we have now stronger and more resilient than ever before.
United, we will overcome this challenge. As President John F. Kennedy said during his Inaugural Address,” United, there is little we cannot do; Divided, there is little that we can do.”
Happy 60th Independence Day, Sierra Leone!