Guest Speaker - Alex Bockarie's Speech at the SALNAM Inauguration 2018
Distinguished guests, Former President Mr. Abubakarr Kamara (Alias Biggie) and his executives, Mr. President Alie Hassan Nasrallah and his executives, members of the Sierra Leone Community, young and old, good evening.
It is with great honour and humility to stand before you tonight as your guest speaker. Firstly, I want to thank Mr. Abubakarr Kamara and the out going executives for leading our community for the last three years. It is never an easy task to be the leader of anything, but you did the best you could for the Sierra Leonean Community. For that, we are grateful and we thank you.
For our newly elected, President Mr. Alie Hassan Nasrallah, and his executives, I say congratulations and I wish you all the best for the next three years to steer our community in a positive direction and make us one of the most viable communities in Manitoba.
Sierra Leoneans, we are amongst the best communities in Manitoba, and with our support to our newly elected executives, I believe we can do great things for our children, our motherland Sierra Leone, our community, and for the larger community right here in Manitoba.
How do we achieve this; I believe we can do all these great things with TOGETHERNESS, UNITY, AND SINCERITY. We can accomplish great things together, we can make our community stronger and better together. My core belief is UNITY. If we can rise above tribalism, sectionalism, and our different political beliefs back in Sierra Leone, then I believe we can achieve great things.
I was truly amazed at our recent turnout for our community general election. Young and old crawled out of their beds, some directly from work, some even came in early to cast their vote before going to work that morning. It was amazing to see so many folks out that day exercising their civic rights. Thank you to all those who came out that day, and for those who did not have the chance to vote for whatever reason, I hope you can after three years.
Community members, we are at a crossroads. We have been tested and our community is falling for the tribal line. It has been going on for far too long and we are all afraid to address it. We have tribal, sectional, and political divisions in our community. As I said, it has been there far too long before our recent general election, during the election, and it is very much prevalent now after the recent election. Let us not hide from it or deny it. Let us recognize it and start to do something about it. We are Sierra Leoneans first and foremost. Together we are bigger than any tribe, any section, or any party. When it comes to SALNAM, our community can only be stronger when we are united and stand as one.
I am very hopeful and optimistic. I am hopeful because in spite of all our differences, as community members, as Sierra Leoneans, and as an individuals, we always show up when things happen in our community, whether it be naming ceremonies (pull na doe), weddings, or tragic events, we are always there. A prime example is the sudden and shocking death of one of our most prominent community members, Mr. Alfred Sahr Koineh, who passed away on October 25th. He was a father, a brother, and an uncle. He was a community darling that did so many good things for our community behind the scenes. The way we showed up as Sierra Leoneans, as a community, and as individuals makes me believe that we can rise above anything and stand united as one. We have to have the courage and determination.
I am hopeful because together with all of you, we are building a better community for our future generations.
I would like to thank Mr. President for the opportunity to be the guest speaker tonight. I would also like to thank Mr. Biah Tarawally, Mr. Aruna Bangura, and Mrs. Elizabeth Joko-Johnson for helping conduct a successful and peaceful election in our community.
Finally I would like to thank Sierra Leoneans in Manitoba, for we are all community builders.
Alex Bockarie (pictured above)