The newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff Brigadier Alfred Claude Nelson Williams has in an exclusive interview with Awoko a few hours after his appointment was made public said that “Hard work is recognized.”
Speaking to those who are coming up in the military now and whom he wants to act as a model for, Brigadier Nelson Williams said “One thing I want them to know is that hard work is recognized, hard work is compensated, and if you are determined you are ready to work the sky is the limit.” He went on “we can train you and I believe that training is the best form of moral and if this has happened to me I don’t see any reason why it cannot happen to others and with me at the helm I will do my utmost to seek the welfare of troops I want to bring things like discipline things like accountability and things like probity within the military and also in the long run to enhance their morale so that we get an army that continues to be subjected and subordinate to the constitutional authority.
On the question of how he felt after being named the new Chief of Defence Staff, Brigadier Nelson Williams said “I feel humbled and also challenged”. He said he was humbled because the President chose to appoint him as the Chief of Defence Staff and “challenged because I know by the grace of God the confidence reposed in me will never be misplaced.”
Questioned what were his thoughts when he joined the force 33years ago, the soft spoken Military Chief said when he “joined the republic of Sierra Leone armed forces as another rank (it was) to serve my country and within the military I have gone through several courses both at home and abroad (and) I have done the junior staff courses, the senior staff courses, the war college and also the university of Ibadan.” He stated “I believe with that progression based on merit … the sky is the limit,” which he said “is just not for me but for everybody who is determined to work and be patriotic.”
Questioned about the problems and challenges facing the force Brigadier Nelson Williams explained “We have diverse and multifarious problems – we will have to seek the welfare of troops and also we have problems like accommodation, we need to send people on peace keeping operations we have the maritime wing that generates funds and also that arrests some of these people with drugs and also contraband and piracy but I think the greatest challenge is finance.”
The new Military boss explained that “the country is going through very difficult and trying times and when you take into consideration all the other departments the government under President Ernest Koroma has been doing their utmost also to satisfy the military.”
This he said against the backdrop of “competing interests like other things like roads, electricity, medical so there are times you need to prioritize” he warned.
At times he said “as much as we have our own priorities within the military we have to take into consideration the other competing interest even within the security forces” noting “where you have the delicate balance … this brings a trade off.” By Kelvin Lewis