From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
Sierra Leone President Kicks Off Regent-Grafton Road: Lauded by Regent's APC Patriarch
By Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Dec 21, 2011, 17:59

President of Sierra Leone has assured the Government and People of China as well as all Sierra Leoneans that his Agenda for Change was continuing at full steam in the strive to develop the country. The President was speaking during the occasion to mark the turning of the sod for the Regent-Grafton Highway which, at 30 million dollars, will be the biggest ever infrastructural development undertaken in Sierra Leone by the Chinese Government.

At the occasion which saw thousands of residents from the Mountain Rural District throng into Regent and Grafton, all dressed in bright red colours, the Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone said he will not hesitate to express that as far as China was concerned, President Koroma was on the right track.
Dressed in bright red shirt, the Chinese Ambassador heartily congratulated the President for taking Sierra Leone in the right direction. He spoke of the relationship between the two countries which has spanned 40 years now ever since Sierra Leone helped to champion the right of China to seat at the United Nations in October 1971.
Munda Rogers holds on to 92 years old S.A.J. Pratt as the old man approvingly taps Salone’s smiling President Koroma’s shoulders yesterday at Regent

An interesting development yesterday was when Prof. Solomon A.J. Pratt, former Foreign Minister under late President Siaka Stevens who used to represent the area from Regent to Grafton in Parliament, was asked by President Koroma to pour libation in the African tradition.

The APC Patriarch of Regent village, who at 92 years age, remains to be the oldest living member of the 1967 APC winning team, thrilled the audience when he recounted of his APC hey-days as a Minister and Parliamentarian. He informed the visibly amazed Chinese Ambassador of the role he played as Foreign Minister in October 1971 when as the de-facto Leader of the pro-China argument, he had stood firm during that year’s United Nations General Assembly against Nations who did not want China to be represented at the U.N. general Assembly.
President Koroma introduces Prof. Solomon A.J. Pratt to Chinese Ambassador

Whilst pouring libation, Solomon Pratt, prayed for the souls of the faithful departed to intercede in the spiritual world so as to put the enemies and detractors of the APC to shame. Pratt expressed pride in what President Koroma was currently doing in the country as leader of an APC-led Government and urged all Sierra Leoneans to join hands with the President in building the country.
It is a fact that virtually all bridges and roads currently in the Mountain Rural District were built by S.A.J. Pratt's Self-Help Project during his tenure as the elected representative. Thus, many Regent indigenes at the occasion yesterday, expressed happiness with President Koroma for inviting Pa Solomon Pratt to be by his side to turn the sod for what will be the most significant road project since Pratt retired from politics. Many opined it was a most appropriate gesture highly appreciated by people of Mountain.
Whilst making his statement, President Koroma first of all paid tribute to late President Siaka Stevens and other APC patriots who had paved the way in terms of infrastructural developments. He specially recognised the presence of Pa Pratt to thunderous applause from residents.

The President cited of how most significant roads and infrastructural edifices in the country were built by former APC Governments or by his own APC-led Government.

President Koroma said on the contrary, their political opponents would spend most of their time in governance wasting money on “workshops and consultancies” talking endlessly of their “intentions” as compared to the APC which he said was an implementing regime and not an intention regime.
President Koroma and his able Vice President Sam-Sumana flank the Chinese Ambassador with Chinese Contractors standing at two ends

President Koroma who was seated on the High Table with his Honourable Vice President Sam-Sumana by his side, described his government as a courageous one which will not be distracted from its focus to implement the Agenda for Change in the country.

The President stated that when infrastructural development was widespread in a country, it encourages investors to treat the country as one worth investing within. He spoke of how he is ensuring visible development was taking place in all the 12 districts at the same time as well as in the Western Area. He proudly spoke of how his visions for energy and electricity, roads, health, women’s empowerment were all on track and, to rousing applause from the mammoth gathering, the President promised to sustain the momentum of serving his people.

President Koroma informed that the Regent-Grafton road project was being 100% funded by the Chinese Government with the Sierra Leone Government being responsible only for compensation to  affected land-owners as well as ensuring tax-free entry of all equipment by the Chinese Construction Company. He informed that the contract was for completion within 25 months and smilingly informed that he would be personally monitoring the project’s implementation. He joked of how he would even be making unannounced strolls down from his Hill Station Presidential Lodge to check out the work in progress. The President is well known for mingling unannounced with his citizens.

Also speaking yesterday was the Chairman of the Western Area Rural District Council Alhassan Cole and several Ministers including Finance, Works, Energy and Lands.

Following the turning of the sod, the President moved to Charlotte to formally commence the start of the Hydro-Electric Project at Charlotte Water Falls which should provide electricity for the entire Mountain District when completed. From Charlotte, he moved to Grafton where he also addressed the people at the point where the road should end at Kossoh Town.

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