One Country One People!
Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise so that we can take one minute of silence for all the people we have lost in the SLPPNA family this year and the last. May their souls continue to rest in peace.
Distinguished Dignitaries, Party Conference delegates, Chapter Chairs, Council of Elders, Regional Executives, and the general membership, I say welcome to the 2021 SLPP North America convention.
On behalf of the Regional Executive, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all our newly elected and re-elected Chapter Chairmen and Chairwomen along with your executive on your recent victory in your various chapter elections to serve our region. Congratulations!!
I also want to welcome our new chapters in the SLPPNA Regional family, the North Dakota Chapter, the Maryland Chapter, and the returning Minnesota Chapter. Chairman Mr. Patrick Maada Koroma of North Dakota, Maryland Chairman Mr. Askia Abu Hassan Koroma, and Mr. Momojar Lansana Chairman Minnesota. Welcome to the SLPPNA Regional family.
Today, we meet at a time when our party and our region SLPPNA are at a crossroads, working to elect party executives at all levels across the party to form the administration that will lead the party into the 2023 Presidential, Parliamentary, and other local elections in our beloved Sierra Leone.
We stand facing a global healthcare pandemic, the financial downturn in economies worldwide, including in our beloved country Sierra Leone that requires us to simply work together as one people and one country.
There comes a time when history judges a leader by how he leads when given the opportunity to serve. I stand before you to say that I am very proud of what my administration accomplished during the past almost 3 years in the SLPPNA family.
Two and half years ago, you elected me as your chairman to serve this region with the rest of my executives. It has been a great honor to work with my fellow executives in service to the region and the SLPP. My fellow executives made me strong as they challenged and held me accountable for things that they believed were not right. In the end, we were able to work together regardless of the situation to deliver for the region. Together we were able to ensure this region continued to play a great role in our national politics. I want to thank them for their service, and I am happy to report to you that we kept our promises despite the challenges we ran into during our time in office serving the region.
Our region achieved several priorities under my administration during my last campaign and during my tenure as your chairman.
Our successes include but are not limited to the items below.
My administration formally registered the SLPPNA as an organization to get our region in compliance with the laws of this country. Our administration is the first in the history of SLPP North America to secure a 501c nonprofit status that gives this region a tax-exempt status. This allows us to solicit more funds and other resources from corporate donors, businesses, and individuals who may want to donate to the SLPPNA and be able to get tax benefits as they do so. All corporate donors look for and expect tax-exempt status to inspire them to make large size donations to any organization. We believe collecting money from members within our general membership is not the only answer.
When we took over the region in 2018, we met all the previous bank accounts closed. Today, I am proud to say we have two accounts at two banks. We raised up to $170,000 during my administration, with a current balance of over $50,000 remaining in the account. Our fundraising goals were much higher, but we canceled all fundraisers in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic that hit this country and the world. This was a huge problem for my executive. This year all delegates’ fees of $500 each were canceled, candidacy fees were also canceled, and chapter registrations were postponed due to Covid-19. Yet still, I am very proud that we were able to raise and maintain the amount we have in our Region’s bank account.
Obligations to Freetown
When we took over, my administration was able to immediately able to negotiate with our party national leadership in Freetown to reduce our annual contribution by $5,000. This not only helped us to save money, but it created opportunities to spend the money saved on funding to support our region.
We believed that to run an effective executive; we needed proper bookkeeping and more. Therefore we approved funding to buy two (2) laptops for our Secretary-General and the Regional Organizing Secretary to be used in service of the region.
The world is now a technological one, and I promised to build a website for the region during my campaign for election in 2018. I am proud to say that was accomplished, and it is still online at slppnorthamerica.com with contact information about the region and chapters that people can use to find us, as well as get information on other regional and national SLPP issues. Please visit and let us know your thoughts so that we can improve as we go.
During my administration, we supported one (1) council election and four Members of Parliament by-elections in Sierra Leone. We also supported the party office constructions going on in Sierra Leone and still have money pending to be sent soon to support the ongoing building projects at home.
I am proud to say that we supported our government and party through our PRO by having several radio station programs that helped to bring awareness to several issues like the white paper, Covid-19, and other video chapter heads participated.
Recruitment and Expansion
Our administration was able to add four chapters to the SLPPNA family during our time in office. Through this action, we were able to give the opportunity to other Sierra Leoneans across this country to join the SLPP through our Region. They are:
- Seattle Washington
- North Dakota
New Constitution Review
In August of last year, a new constitution was approved and took effect. In 2020, during a review of the draft of the constitution, our regional administration successfully petitioned and was granted our petition by PPRC, which helped remove a residency clause in the proposed constitution. This clause would have imposed a requirement to be “ordinarily resident” in Sierra Leone to be eligible to run for party symbols for parliament and other positions within the party. As a result, SLPPNA members and party members worldwide do not have to reside in Sierra Leone to qualify to run for symbols as MPs and other positions. Our next step was planned to start campaigning to get the dual Citizenship law for MPs reviewed and changed, but the Covid 19 pandemic prevented us from launching that campaign.
We were able to empower our young generation wing by giving them all the support we could for their programs. Last year they undertook many projects in Sierra Leone. We sponsored them to donate food items and other logistics supplies to young people in Sierra Leone. They were able to mobilise young people both here in the states and back home to promote the vision of His Excellency President Bio, our government, the party, and our region. Currently, they have many social media outlets like Facebook and Whatsapp forums where they are fully active.
The women’s wing hosted a fundraiser for Hands Of Our Girls in New York last year. Raising a nice amount of money that was sent to support the program headed by our First Lady Fatima Maada Bio.
With all that I have just said, our administration was only still functional for just one year. Since last year March, our administration faced serious challenges, especially when the US government closed down the entire country because of covid-19. We canceled all chapter inaugurations, Young Generation Annual event, and most Women’s Wing events too. This led to serious challenges to raise funds for the region. All we have been doing is spending without receiving any income for the past year or more. This year, we canceled the $500 delegates’ fees, candidate fees were also waived, and we agreed to allow all chapters to participate as part of the region without paying their regular annual fees that all brought money to the region. Even though the chapter collected monthly dues before their chapter elections but we agreed to give them the opportunity to raise funds and postponed all payments.
Currently, we have set up a By-law committee that is working on drafting by-laws for approval by NEC under the new 2020 constitution.
We have also put a hold on the education committee set up last year in January 2020 to launch the Regional Education Basket Fund. We planned to launch it during our President’s visit in November in New York, but it never happened due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Our administration also planned to set up the SLPPNA 2023 campaign team that was going to attempt to raise a minimum of $100,000.
We lost many people in the diaspora especially within the SLPPNA over the past year or more to COVID-19 and other causes. May the souls of all those lost continue to rest in peace.
I want to thank my fellow executive for working closely with me during this journey despite the challenges we faced and worked through despite our disagreements and differences in opinion. Even though we had our ups and downs, in the end, we tried to stick together in service to the party and region.
Members of my administration are running for re-election, including myself. We have worked hard for and sacrificed for the region despite the challenges we ran into and under a global Corona emergency.
I hope we are given another opportunity to continue the good work we started and those that we have delivered on, as I have laid out above.
Thank you, SLPPNA, for allowing me to serve as your Regional Chairman. It has been an honor to serve.
One Country, One People!