Last Friday January 23rd 2009, the Honourable Vice-President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Chief Sam Sumana, has said that Sierra Leone has abundant commercial investment and business potentials that could be the centre-point of fruitful bilateral relations between the country and Miami Dade County in the United States. This was revealed by the Minister of State in the VP’s office, Hon. Leonard Balogun Koroma who said the Vice-President made the statements while addressing the Miami Dade Board of County Commissioners in Miami Dade. Koroma said the 13 Commissioners the VP addressed represented the 13 districts of Miami Dade County. The Commission’s Chairman is Bennis C. Moss.
At the commencement of the program, Vice-President Sam Sumana and members of his delegation were introduced to the Board of Commissioners by Commissioner Dorrin Rolle, who also gave the welcome address. After the welcome address, Vice-President Sumana was given the podium to address the Board of Commissioners.
In his address, VP Sam-Sumana extended greetings to the Commissioners and Miami Dade County on behalf of His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma. He told the commissioners that Sierra Leone has successfully emerged from a devastating civil war and in 2007 she conducted democratic Presidential and Legislative Elections. Sierra Leone also conducted successful district council elections last year, the VP went on and he informed the commissioners that these elections were conducted in a transparent, free and fair manner and were acclaimed worldwide. The Sierra Leone elections, the Vice-President continued, are now being used by the international community as models of transparent elections that adhered to democratic principles in Africa.
Vice-President Sumana told the commissioners that Sierra Leone and Miami have a lot in common and he believes that this can be the centre point of bilateral relations between the two places, especially in the areas of tourism, health, air and land transportation and infrastructural development. He said that he was particularly impressed by the airport and seaport (The Sierra Leonean delegation had earlier been taken on a conducted tour of the Miami seaport and international airport). The Vice-President thought that using these two areas (The seaport and the airport), Sierra Leone and Miami Dade could enter into useful cooperation by twinning the ports of Miami and Freetown.
Hon. Sumana intimated that such twinning would hugely benefit Sierra Leone and Miami Dade because of the potentials both share —Freetown having one of the best natural harbours in the world and the Miami being a success story in port management and development and also being the gateway to the Caribbean Islands and to Latin America.
MEANWHILE, Vice-President Sam Sumana has invited the Board of Commissioners to visit Sierra Leone to further strengthen the ties that have been established.
In other discussions, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Dauda Sulaiman Kamara, also discussed the possibility of twinning the two cities—Miami and Freetown, a process that he said was being examined by a group called The Twinning Sisters International.
The Minister of Information and Communication, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, also held discussions with private sector businesses on cooperation in the telecommunications sector.
This rounded up a 4-day visit to Miami Dade by the VP and his delegation who were invited by the Commissioner of Miami Dade, Ms. Dorrin Rolle.
The Vice-President yesterday Sunday January 25th 2009, reportedly held a town meeting with Sierra Leoneans in Washington DC before heading back for home.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.