I am a concerned citizen that went to school with Jamel Shallop and I have known him all throughout my life. Everyone that has met this gentleman will never ever say anything negative about him. All the negative press reports about him and newspaper and social media reports are meant only to smear his character and nothing else.
Since his school days in Blama and Kenema, Jamel has always socialized with us Sierra Leoneans rather than Lebanese families. In school he hung out with us, had lunch together with us during lunch break eating (Tanga-Jesa) cassava and akara all together in the same plate. After school he also hung out with us either playing football or sitting together and chit chatting.
In my entire life knowing him I have never ever heard him disrespect anyone no matter the background of that person. His whole life is Sierra Leone and it’s very unfair that just because he is white, people brand him as a foreigner. There is nothing Lebanese about Jamel Shallop. Everything that makes one a national of a country (besides color) including language, food, social interaction, habits, mannerism etc is 100% Sierra Leonean about Jamel.
The man does not even hold a Lebanese Passport and is not even entitled to it. He has been to Lebanon only once in his life time on holiday and only for two weeks as a tourist. So my dear brothers and sisters, how on earth can you refer to such a person as a Lebanese or foreigner? Besides, his entire investment is in this country. No other private individual is employing more than he is. No other person is giving to society more than him. Sometimes I sit in his office and I see the generosity this man is doing, he helps almost everyone that has a problem especially the sick whether he knows them or not. I know he has been giving to the handicap rice and money for over 30 years now and never stopped and never says it or try to capitalize on it.
By himself he built a church in Pujehun district, after it was destroyed by the rebels and never talked about it. I know of countless people he has helped medically. The man is humble to a fault and it’s high time that someone like myself speak for him. This man is not a Politician so let’s stop branding him. He is a very serious businessman who invests heavily in Sierra Leone and has a stake in this country and cannot afford to be aligned to any political party. He is not a fly by night businessman that would leave the country whenever a new government comes to power.
He is a serious Investor and should be commended instead of being cried down. As we speak the man is investing on a $20m (Twenty million dollars) project to refine palm-oil with its by-products. We cry for investors to come to our country and we have someone like him and we cry him down? By no account that is fair treatment. On the contrary he should be supported and encouraged by the Government. Because its people like this that set the pace and others will follow. He will create hundreds of jobs directly and indirectly. What else do we want? At lease he invests his money back into the country unlike others that repatriate it. How can we call this man a foreigner when his entire life and his business is in Sierra Leone with all his achievements he has not changed a single bit? He is as humble as ever. He is still hanging out with us and eating and drinking with us. Let’s STOP the smear campaign about his character.
I feel strongly to write this piece about him because it’s just not fair the perception about the man. He is nothing that the Press is making of him. As a matter of fact I also know that the APC Government was not even paying the man the debt they owed him. His cheques have been at the Ministry of Finance for 4 years now without payment. Is that really not an indication that he was not the favored one?.
In the year……………….he bought in a full container of medical equipment including hospital furniture and chooses to donate them to the Kenema and Blama Hospitals where he came from. At the Golf Club where he plays Golf all the young boys there refer to the man as “BLACK MAN” because of his interaction and humbleness with everyone there no matter their class or status. And yet still we refer to him when it suits us as Lebanese businessman. No he is a Sierra Leonean businessman and someone that I am proud of.