Apr 4, 2012, 12:44 PM
The celebration was attended by various diplomats, heads of mission, government officials, cabinet ministers, among other heads of institutions.
In delivering the independence speech, Ambassador Soulay Daramy expressed appreciation and warm welcome to all those who honoured his invitation by attending his country’s 55th Independence Anniversary celebration.
The Ambassador said last year the celebration was muted by the aftermath of the Ebola viral disease, which caused devastating havoc to thousands of people in the sub region.
“In Sierra Leone, the epidemic threatened to destroy our country by throwing the economy into recession and causing social discomfort.”
He added that even Ebola- free countries like The Gambia felt the pinch of the menace, but with concerted efforts and support from everybody, “we were able to win the fight against the epidemic.”
He went on: “Thankfully, Sierra Leone is back to normal.The country is back to the growth path with heightened determination which has made us Africa’s investment destination in areas such as fisheries, tourism, agriculture and, of course, mining and general trade.”
He said the government in Sierra Leone is relentless pursuing its socio-economic development activities, with renewed zeal and determination to improve the living standards of the people.
Infrastructural development, particularly road construction, is at its highest since independence some fifty-five years ago, the Ambassador said, adding: “Today, citizens move across the country with ease and in comfort.”
Ambassador Daramy said on women’s empowerment, that the Government of Sierra Leone has continued to encourage and put women in higher national positions of responsibility.
“At the international arena, Sierra Leone remains committed to our obligations,” he said.
“Sierra Leone always condemns acts of terrorism in any part of the world, and respects the right to self- determination of every sovereign state irrespective of size, geographic location or above all region.”
He said the bilateral relationship between Sierra Leone and the Islamic Republic of The Gambia “is very strong and cordial.”
Both countries share strong desires to collaborate in many areas that will be of benefit to the two peoples, he noted, and this was concretized by the signing of a joint Commission Agreement in January 2015 by both governments.
“Our well-known colonial political ties, the strong bonds of families, friendship and similar cultural heritage keep our two countries closer than most others.”
He also recalled that there are many things Sierra Leone and The Gambia share in common, which is why the people of both nations relate “so well and peacefully co-exist in both countries”.
“And as we live in peace and harmony in the two countries, as a consequence of the very cordial relationship that so happily exists between our two countries, let us express our appreciation to our two government,” Ambassador Daramy said.
“To His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya A.J.J.Jammeh Babili Mansa, and his Government for creating an environment conducive for our people here in The Gambia.May the good lord continue to bless our two countries.”
He continued: “As we celebrate fifty-five years of Independence, let me use this opportunity to remind my compatriots that it is high time every Sierra Leonean, no matter where you are, developed a sense of love and responsibilities to our country.”
He added that it is the responsibility of all Sierra Leoneans to ensure that Sierra Leone moves forward in the right direction.
In delivering a statement on behalf of the Government of The Gambia, Hon. Mrs Neneh Macdouall- GAYE, Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the Government of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia is proud of the presence of Ambassador Daramy in the country, because “we are all witness to his indefatigable efforts to propel our economic, social and cultural relations with the sister Republic of Sierra Leone to higher heights”.
She said: “On behalf of the Government of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, I also wish to pay tribute and express our solidarity with the Government and people of the Republic of Sierra Leone for the remarkable strength and fortitude with which they have been able to overcome the dreadful Ebola epidemic, which threatened to destroy the true fabric of the Sierra Leonean society and family.”
She added that under the distinguished leadership of both President Jammeh and President Koroma, The Gambia and Sierra Leone are on the path to continuous collaboration and partnership at the bilateral, sub-regional and international levels.
“This has been made possible to a large extent by the presence of successive and seasoned diplomats of the Republic of Sierra Leone who regard The Gambia as their home,” the Gambia’s foreign minister said.
“These personalities have contributed immensely to the continuous strengthening of our cordial and fruitful bilateral relations.”