Your Excellency Sir,
This is now my 3rd decade edition of this column, (“Passionate Letter”) in which I have been freely divulging my opinions on several issues pertinent to popular interest and even proffering solutions where necessary. I can acknowledge that certain of my recommendations and/or advices have been taken into good part and thus helped to forge our complex society; for which I wouldn’t necessarily like to accord myself accolade, other than feel partly fulfilled that I am adding my little part in shaping our beloved country. On the other hand I feel disappointed when some of my foresighted interventions on several other issues that were either discarded or probably glossed over seemingly ended up to look the better or reasonable option for popular interest. I do hope that we all (and especially those in public governance and service,) learn to examine with critical and open hearts proactive interventions and/or opinions by many public commentators/writers/activists, in order to aid them in making wise and suitable decisions and policies that would enhance popular interest and national development.
One major area that is very appalling and even “frustrating” to me is the general negative attitude of “exploitation” of Sierra Leoneans towards one another. That is, while Sierra Leoneans (whether as commoners or those in public leadership/service,) are generally disposed towards helping “foreigners,” we are unfortunately disposed towards heartlessly “exploiting and/or extorting” from one another. This is what I call a “dog-eat-dog” syndrome.
For example, after the government announced the overdue reduction of fuel prices for less than 10%, it is very disheartening to observe that fuel dealers frown at this welcome and globally rational action, and that some are have even started hoarding the fuel. This is very sickening and unfortunate given the fact that with the drastic global reduction of fuel prices for over six months consistently, the actual corresponding reduction could have been +/- Le. 2,500.00/Litre. But realizing the devastating effect of the Ebola scourge on our national economy (whereby government may not be able to service their normal subsidy to fuel prices,) this reasonable reduction is very acceptable and any reasonable Sierra Leonean would have expected an empathetic business community to have readily flown along with this “gentile tide” of government.
And I would like to propound that this type of attitude bears undue pressure on those in governance and governance structures as it would eventually leave a government with popular interest as its watch word and disposition to stop at nothing in order to ensure compliance by all and sundry just to ease the plights of the masses. This however could be avoided if only people could be more considerate and empathetic with the suffering masses, especially at such a gruesome moment of our national history.
Having stated the afore observation, I would like to draw our attention to the very disturbing and continually exploitative trend in Sierra Leone that “once prices of commodities increase they almost never come down again” even when the socio-economic conditions stabilize and may consequently require a reduction in prices. And those in public governance and/or service don’t seem to bother about that sinister trend. That is why I have come to the logical conclusion that popular interest in Sierra Leone is a big (herculean) problem that needs to be reversed if “popular prosperity” is to be realized sooner than later.
Sir, do allow me to ask the next logical question. If these fuel price reductions remain or continue for a few more months what would be the corresponding reflection on prices of goods and services generally?
I would like to end this piece by reminding your good self and office, (along with the SLRTSA/Drivers Union/any other relevant authority) about the non commensurate distribution of Vehicular allocations to Regent and across the Freetown-Western Rural Districts.
“Another pertinent and burning issue I have observed is that the distribution/allocation of commercial vehicles by SLRTA at destinations such as Regent is very uneven. By this I mean when you get to the Regent Vehicle Park you would easily notice that whereas there are always “extra-surplus” vehicles in queue waiting endlessly for passengers going to Grafton/Jui, the Wilberforce and down town axis that have more passengers have very few and grossly inadequate vehicles allotted them. As such the latter destinations always have long and unending queues, with commuters made to unnecessarily stand in long queues (and sometimes even rubbing on each other in trying to understandably force their way into the limited vehicles).
This could be avoided if the Drivers Union and the SLRTA officials collaborate in order to seek the interest and comfort of the commoners, whose taxes are used to pay them – and I would imagine that this kind of abnormal scenario at the Regent Vehicle Park could be similar in some other parks across the municipality.”
Sir, I trust my reactions/interventions this year again would be meaningful. May the good and just Lord grant you the wisdom and temerity to lead this nation at such a precarious time as this? Amen!! Long live our beloved Sierra Leone. And wishing all Sierra Leoneans an Ebola free Sierra Leone and a popularly prosperous post Ebola Sierra Leone (sooner than later).
LAND THAT WE LOVE OUR SIERRA LEONE!!!
Abraham J. Williams
(Clergyman/Human Rights Advocate)
Tel.: (+232) 76 994 152 / (+232) 33 563 721
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Your Excellency Sir,