OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
PRESIDENT KOROMA REMEMBERS FALLEN SOLDIERS
President Ernest Bai Koroma was today officially decorated with a poppy by members of the Ex-Service Men Association in remembrance of their fallen colleagues and those who survived the first and second world wars.
The association was led by Defense Minister Paolo Conteh, accompanied by Chief of Defense Staff Nelson-Williams and senior officers of the Military.
According to the association’s Secretary General, Emadu Rogers, their purpose of visiting was to ask the President to declare Thursday 23rd to Saturday 9th November as poppy sales period in memory of fallen Sierra Leonean heroes in the two world wars. He said another aspect of the poppy sales is the desire to raise funds and remind Sierra Leoneans of the great sacrifices made by the fallen compatriots. He said "a poppy in its red form is a sacred emblem of courage".
Responding, President Koroma thanked the association for what he described as "a very important day, as we remember those who sacrificed their lives for their country." He then declared Thursday 23rd October to Saturday 9th November as poppy sales period. "We must remember those fallen and those who survived the bloody wars," the President said. He gave a token of contribution with regards the sales of the poppy, and a moment of silence was observed in memory of the heroes.
The ceremony was conducted at State House and witnessed by Secretary to the President E.B. Osho-Coker.
PRESIDENT KOROMA TIGHTENS MARITIME PROTECTION
True to his recent promise of taking stringent measures to protect the territorial waters of Sierra Leone during the launching ceremony of a site for the building of a jetty and other ancillary facilities in Goderich, Freetown, President Ernest Bai Koroma today made an on-the-spot tour of fishing-surveillance vessels of the naval wing of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed forces (RSLAF) at their maritime headquarters at Government Wharf, Freetown.
The President and entourage, after taking a presidential salute from naval officers, was taken on a conducted tour of the navy’s ‘Sir Milton’ boat by Capt. PJB Yokie, and of the private-owned ‘Rock Fish’ boat by Capt David King.
President Koroma stated that a more robust approach to protecting our waters should be adopted with immediate effect and all poachers caught brought to book. He said there should be a coordination of all the maritime agencies including the navy and the Ministry of Marine Resources. He revealed that the UNDP was in the process of supporting the sector in order to beef up their activities. "We should not wait, we should not delay the process; keep doing your work until the UNDP and other support comes."
In explaining about the capacity and capability of the ‘Sir Milton’ boat, Capt Yokie said the vessel has all the required equipment like a radar to see objects as far as 25 nautical miles and the necessary speed to track down any other fishing craft. He said they recently apprehended some poachers, but are daunted by lack of adequate logistics. On his part, Capt. King said his vessel has anti-piracy monitoring devices, including detectors, forward-looking infrared and video-recording equipment.
Before leaving, the President said there would be the need for air protection for the naval vessels, and that within sixty days the joint operations would have started after details of such operations would have been sorted immediately after the tour.
Present at the ceremony were Vice President Chief Sam Sumana, Minister of Defence Paolo Conteh, Acting Minister of Marine Resources Rosalind Oya Sankoh and the military top brass, including Chief of Defence Staff Nelson Williams, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff R.Y. Koroma and Joint Forces Commander S.O. Williams.STATE HOUSE
THE PRESS SECRETARIAT
23 OCTOBER 2008