The formerly impressive Bintumani conference centre which hosted African Heads of States in 1981 and successful national delegates conferences for the resolution of the rebel crisis in 1996 before the elections is now used by the Chinese occupants as a welding and metal workshop.
During an unannounced tour of the building yesterday by the Tourism, Presidential Affairs and Trade and Industry ministers, they openly expressed their shock at the dilapidated condition of the once state of the art international conference centre.
Speaking to journalists at the scene Tourism Minister Hindolo Tyre said that in 2004 “the (then SLPP) government wrote to the management of Bintumani hotel to quit the conference centre but with great dismay they never complied with the government directives”.
Mr Trye noted that the conference centre which has hosted many national and international conferences has five committee rooms and the main conference hall takes over 500 people.
The minister disclosed that the government has invited NASSIT with the possibility of taking over the building to rehabilitate it.
Mr Tyre maintained that “cabinet has pleaded for the repossession and maintenance of the infrastructures”, adding that Sierra Leone has cancelled many international conferences because the country does not have a good conference centre.
The minister disclosed that when he took over the ministry of Tourism, he gave the Chinese management 14 days to quit the building but they refused to reply.
Now he said, government will take court action against them.
Adding his own voice, Alpha Kanu the Presidential Affairs minister said that, government plans to breathe new life in the building which will attract international funds and tourists. He added that, the conference centre will create an impact on the government, economy, and provide job employment for the youth.
Mr Kanu pointed out that it is heart rendering when President Koroma visits other Presidents and is hosted well but he cannot host other presidents.
With the rehabilitation of the buildings other Presidents will visits Sierra Leone and other international and national conferences could be hosted in the country he said.
Alpha Kanu warned that if the Bintumani hotel management does not comply with the government they will take drastic action against them.
Alimamy Koroma, Minister of Trade and Industry said that with the rehabilitation of the building it will catch the eyes of the international market which will bring revenue to the country.