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The Mayor of the City of Lowell, Massachusetts proclaimed Saturday April 26th 2014 as “Sierra Leone Day” in the City of Lowell

Written By Sallieu H. Conteh, Massachusetts, USA —

“We have every reason to celebrate 53 years of Sierra Leone’s existence as a sovereign state.” That in a nutshell was the message delivered by the Sierra Leone’s Honorary Consul for the New England States; Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhoda Island, Maine and Vermont, to Sierra Leoneans and friends of Sierra Leone who gathered at the Lowell City Hall, 375 Merrimack Street, Lowell, Massachusetts on Saturday, April 26th, 2014 for the annual flag-raising ceremony in recognition of Sierra Leone’s 53rd Independence Anniversary.

Lowell Independence11Honorary Consul Mohamed Barrie, who was the Keynote Speaker at the 53rd Independence Anniversary flag-raising ceremony in Lowell, Massachusetts, expressed his profound thanks and appreciation to Mayor Elliot and the City of Lowell on behalf of the government and people of Sierra Leone for the honor and recognition accorded to him and Sierra Leoneans domiciled in Massachusetts. Honorary Consul Mohamed Barrie lauded the effort of the Sierra Leone Organization of New England for putting together the program for the flag-raising ceremony, and he thanked the people of Lowell for their warm hospitality to Sierra Leoneans.(The New England States Honorary Council, Mr. Mohamed Barrie)

“We still face challenges, but we are putting the worst behind us. Early this year, the United Nations Security Council hailed us as a symbol of laudable transition from dictatorship, war and destruction to peace, democracy and recovery; our economy is now amongst the fastest growing in the world, our citizens now stand taller than ever before in international circles; thousands of jobs are being created; agriculture is being transformed; governance systems are improving than ever before, and we are acting to create a constitution that better reflects our democratic aspirations and international best practices”, the New England States Honorary Consul Mohamed Barrie confidently maintained.

“The Sierra Leone turnaround from a failed state to a hailed state is an achievement of all Sierra Leoneans, and it is the obligation of every Sierra Leonean to enlarge these achievements. It is our warrant to expand upon the freedom that our forbearers sought; it is imperative that we underpin our political freedom with economic empowerment, with better work ethic, with visible achievements, with increased access of our people to health, education, good roads, and job opportunities. Also, the President Koroma ‘Agenda for Prosperity’ is based on these imperatives. We have no option but to continue this journey for a better Sierra Leone; a Sierra Leone that respects its historic aspirations; a Sierra Leone that avoids human rights violations and dictatorship, a Sierra Leone whose youths are as disciplined as they are talented; a Sierra Leone where it is the business of everybody to fight the scourge of corruption; a Sierra Leone that moves on with faith that wisdom inspires, and a zeal that never tires; a Sierra Leone that is expanding the promise of prosperity inherent in the gifts of its people and the endowment of its land”, the Honorary told the emphatically the Sierra Leoneans and the City of Lowell.

The Honorary Consul, Who served as the 53rd Sierra Leone Independence Anniversary flag-raising ceremony, Mr. Mohamed Barrie gave a brief synopsis of Sierra Leone from the founding of Freetown as a home for freed slaves in 1787 to present. He also highlighted the major changes that culminated in Sierra Leone’s Independence on April 27 1961 – present, that put Sierra Leone on the threshold of Independence.  “Sir Milton Margai, who was the country’s first prime minister was able to convince leaders of other political parties to join him in forming the United Front which went to Lancaster house in London to discuss Sierra Leone’s Independence.“

Lowell Independence2Mr. Mohamed Barrie saluted the many other Sierra Leoneans, from all walks of life, from every region of the country, from every political party, from every generation, from every part of the Diaspora, whose actions kept alive our country’s promise of unity, freedom and justice, he concluded.

In his proclamation, the Mayor of the City of Lowell, Rodney M. Elliot, proclaimed April 26th 2014 as Sierra Leone day in the City of Lowell. Reading out on the Proclamation, Mayor Rodney Elliot said, (The Mayor of the City of Lowell, Mayor Rodney M. Elliot)

WHEREAS – “Fifty-three years ago, breaking a century of colonial rule, Sierra Leone gained her Independence from Great Britain, liberating a nation of talented people from foreign occupation, domination, and exploitation. A climate of self-rule, tolerance and nationalist spirit flourished; and…

WHEREAS– The nation was ripped apart in 1991 by a brutal civil war fueled by tribalism and corruption that lasted a decade and left more than 50,000 people dead, much of the country’s infrastructure destroyed, and over two million people displaced in neighboring countries as refugees; and…

WHEREAS – The City of Lowell opened arms to a community of Sierra Leoneans searching for safety, security and prosperity settled in its historic and diverse neighborhoods. Today, Lowell’s Sierra Leoneans-Americans remember those who died in defense of the nation’s new-found peace. Together, they dream of a better, brighter future.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rodney M. Elliot, Mayor of the City of Lowell, Massachusetts, do hereby proclaim Saturday, April 26, 2014 as “Sierra Leone Day” and urge all Citizens to join in the celebration.

GIVEN THIS__26____ DAY OF __April __ 20 __14___   


Rodney M. Elliot, Mayor,

City of Lowell

Lowell Independence6Prior to the address by the Keynote Speaker, the Public Relations Officer of the Sierra Leone Organization of New England, Mr. Ghazali Allen, who also served as the Co-Master of ceremonies for the flag-raising ceremony, gave the welcome address. He also gave a brief synopsis of the Sierra Leone Independence; he told the celebrants that “on the 27th April 1961, Sierra Leone was granted Independence by Britain, with thousands of Sierra Leoneans across the nation, taking the street in Sierra Leone to celebrate their new Independence, 53 years ago today. Giving the accountability of our community organizing activities in the Middlesex and Worcester Counties, and at the same time, joining other Sierra Leoneans all over the world in the celebration of our Country Independence Day”, Mr. Allen told his audience.(The Co-Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Ghazali Allen)



Lowell Independence4The President of the Sierra Leone Organization of New England, Mrs. Agnes Kaimachiande introduced the event Keynote Speaker, Honorary Consul, Mohamed Barrie, who has a well placed and established profile within the United States and Sierra Leone societies.  According to Mrs. Kaimachiande, Consul Mohamed Barrie is “a Native of Gbinti-Dibia, Port Loko District, Northern Province of Sierra Leone; who he received his Secondary Education from Koyeima and Kenema Government Secondary Schools with post secondary from Graham Junior College and Suffolk University respectively”, she said.(The President of the Sierra Leone Organization of New England, Mrs. Agnes Kaimachiande)

She also said the event Keynote Speaker “is a community activist and a religious leader for the Sierra Leonean community in Massachusetts and that he has fostered relationship with other Communities to promote the welfare of Sierra Leoneans”, Mrs. Kaimachiande concluded.


Lowell Independence5Earlier, Mr. David Fofanah introduced Council Woman, Rita Mercier, who in turn introduced the Mayor of the City of Lowell, Mayor Rodney Elliot. Council Woman Rita Mercier said, ‘Mayor Elliot is a very patient man that waited for a very long time for his turn to become the Mayor of the City of Lowell”.(Lowell City Council Woman, Rita Mercier)

A well known young and vibrant community organizer, Ms Florence Thomas was honored and given special recognition by the Sierra Leone Organization of New England for her effective participation in the Affairs of the Sierra Leonean Community in the City of Lowell, with a plaque and an undisclosed amount in the form of a gift certificate in an envelope.

Ms. Florence Thomas who also gave the 53rd flag-raising ceremony vote of thanks, she thanked members of the Sierra Leone Organization of New England for the plaque and the gift certificate and also the Mayor Rodney Elliot and Council Woman Rita Mercier for their supports to the Sierra Leonean Community and the Keynote Speaker, Honorary Consul, Mohamed Barrie for his inspiring speech.

Lowell Independence10Muslim and Christian prayers were done Mr. Sidikie Kamara who also served Co-Master of Ceremonies and Mr.  Edward Jaward.

The Sierra Leonean Community “movers and shakers” were on hand to grace the 53rd Independence flag-raising event, members of the Islamic Society of New England, Alhaji Abdul Razak Dyfan, Alhaji Mohamed Aziz, Deputy Imam of the Islamic Society of New England, Alhaji Ibrahim Sesay. The Lowell Community movers and shakers, Dr. George Bowah Tucker, Haja Mariatu Dumbuya, Ms Fatmata Sangarie, Imam Sangarie and John Omasa Kanu.

Members of the Sierra Leone Organization of New England were also on hand, Mr. Mohamed Bangura, Financial Secretary of the Organization, Mr. Samson Fofanah, Treasurer, Mr. Sallieu H. Conteh, Mr. Richard and Chris Lamboe members from Worcester, and Mr. Tejan Barrie and partner.

Immediately after the flag-raising at the Lowell City Hall, a reception followed at the Mercier Center were the Sierra Leone Independence birthday cake was cut by the Honorary Consul, Mohamed Barrie alongside the President of the Sierra Leone Organization of New England and members of the Organization.

Lowell Independence18

(The Vice President of the Sierra Leone Organization of New England, Mr. David Fofanah)








Lowell Independence17

The cutting of the Sierra Leone 53rd Independence Cake

Lowell Independence3

Lowell City Proclamation2

The 2014 Lowell City Council Proclamation