By Alimatu Fofanah
Sierra Leone –– A delegation of UK Lead Coordinators and team, led by the Mayor of Freetown, Sam Franklyn Gibson yesterday met the Hon. Vice President, Ambassador Dr. Victor Bockarie Foh at his Tower Hill office in Freetown.
Introducing the delegate, the Mayor of the Freetown Municipality, Franklyn Gibson told the Hon. Vice President that Hull City in the United Kingdom as being selected as the City of Culture for 2017 and that since then the team has been moving forward wanting to reintegrate and to copy the country’s culture as the two cities, Freetown and Hull City are twin cities.
The Head of British Council Sierra Leone, Simon Ingram-Hill, in his statement said they were very happy to have the opportunity to work very closely with the Government of Sierra Leone and the Freetown City Council. He said the six men delegation was the first for his Council to work with since the end of the deadly Ebola viral disease that ravaged the country and took away the lives of meaningful citizens. Mr. Simon Ingram-Hill said his country, the United Kingdom and Sierra Leone have so many ties in common and that it was now time for the two countries to share those ties especially in the area of culture, education, arts, sports, among others.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, the Councilor and Deputy Leader of Hull City, Mr. Dalan said they are proud to be in the country as they are enjoying a confortable stay. He said their purpose of visit was to reintegrate and strengthen the city’s proud Negroes who died years back.
Also, to develop concrete programme for Hull City and Freetown in 2017, he added. The UK Hull City structure in 2017 will serve as a road link to strengthen the two cities’ cultural links that will lead Hull City to get an international feel come 2017, adding that to achieve that they knew where to start and the partners to engage with. He said they chose Sierra Leone because of the country’s diverse creativity and rich culture.
He furthered that another reason for choosing Sierra Leone was to strengthen the civic and educational links between the two cities wherein knowledge can be spread and also to leave a legacy not only for them but for Sierra Leone and their partners.
Rev. Taylor- Pearce, in his statement, said that every four year, the United Kingdom will decide which city will be the city of culture and that Hull City has won that bid and that to be first in England they have to prove that Hull City and Freetown are indeed twin cities for about 32 years now.
He said with Freetown being chosen, the Hull City team will give out things that will re-energize the city and its people, they will unearth things that were not seen and they will work together to develop them and that the process will equip those in the area of culture with wisdom.
Welcoming the delegation on behalf of His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, Hon. Vice President, Ambassador Victor Bockarie Foh noted that the visit of the delegation was indeed as assurance for the country that United Kingdom has confidence in the country while going through a post Ebola period.
He said Ebola is gone and that the people of this country need to build up a whole lot of other areas in their lives; and that one such area is culture.
The Vice President said that he believed that the team is in the country to look out for what culture the city of Freetown may give them. He said the links including that of culture between the two countries were so strong that they have been there for too long, adding that their visit to Freetown was to strengthen those links and bounds. These bounds and links, he assured, will be strengthened once again with time.
He said indeed Hull City and Freetown are twin cities and that they are going to give their support in making the two cities meaningful and for many to see.
He assured the team that with the permission of his boss, His Excellency, President Koroma, he is going to be with Hull City Society in Freetown and it partners to showcase their culture.
He concluded by thanking the UK government and its people for the great assistance given to Sierra Leone and her people during the Ebola crisis; the International Community and the West Africa sub region for standing strongly by the country and its people during the Ebola era and for taking the country and its people from where they were during such crisis.