Speaker of the Sixth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone, Honorable Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu has described the maiden speech of Honorable Alfred Ayodele Thompson delivered on the address of President Julius Maada Bio, on the occasion of the state opening of the Sixth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone, as eloquent and fact filled.
Hon. Thompson had joined Hon. Mohamed Bangura in Parliament, against the directive of the opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) party to abstain from participating in any levels of governance in protest of the just concluded general elections result.
His speech of eloquence was on wide-ranging themes of agriculture, fishing and capacity of the navy, national peace and cohesion, and above all, the elephant in the room, the disputed June 24th, 2023 general elections outcome which he described as not transparent even if not rigged.
Hon Thompson commended President Bio for striking the right cord with the food security initiative and as a critical area of the President’s address that requires valuable insights, for the success of it. He recommended capitalizing on fish as a nutrition source, improving on dietary options. This he says can be possible with securitized manning of our fishing waters.
For feed Salone to be achieved, action needs to be taken on the overfishing of our waters by foreign trawlers which have destroyed the fishing industry. It is about taking a stance to get the Chinese out of our waters and get them on our farms to help. We also need equipment to help our Sierra Leone Navy to be well equipped because overfishing is destroying the fishing industry. The navy also needs ethical training because the trawlers are encouraging them with dollars that are affecting our country. The Chinese, Vietnamese, andKoreans are experts in rice production, we must have them helping us in our farms and making feed Salone work, Hon. Thompson said.
He recalled the days when the country used to export rice and other commodities globally unlike now when other sectors have taken over from agriculture. He quizzed on what happened to the SLPMB, enquiring on their struggles with rice production. He recommended a duty-free framework for agricultural implements underscoring his position on less talk and more action.
On national peace and reconciliation, Hon. Thompson said, his APC colleagues are not around because the party felt that the ECSL did not do the right thing and decided not to go to court,
That is why I decided to come to parliament to let my voice be heard to stand up for my party and let the world know that the APC is not happy with the elections. I am not saying that the election was rigged but I am saying it was not transparent, again I am not saying that the election was rigged but it was not transparent. My party wants an independent international review of the elections. My party is not happy with the result; again, please do not beat the messenger, I have come to speak my heart. The ECSL was not transparent but again for the betterment of our country Sierra Leone must move on" Hon. Thompson deposited without hesitation.
He added that he will not use the platform to bash President Julius Maada Bio as he deserves respect as father and face of the nation and needs the support of everyone be they in governance or opposition. He expressed hope that President Bio will empathize with the people and for unity to prevail between APC and SLPP.
Hon. Thompson urged all not to fight generational scruples and called for observations of reconciliation efforts of other countries, towards development.