President of the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL), Tom Barnett has called on government to declare 6th January (J6) as a “Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day.”
He made this declaration during an ecumenical service at the Maroon Church, in Freetown, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the cataclysmic invasion of Freetown by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council.
Rev. Barnett also called for a full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report.
Touching on the recent visit of the Libyan Leader to Sierra Leone which had raised a lot of negative reactions from Civil Society generally, Rev. Barnett implored government to be “sensitive to the feelings of the people”; and said that the Libyan leader, Col. Gaddafi owe Sierra Leoneans an apology.
Resting the hope of the nation on the assurances of Jesus Christ, Rev. Barnett said that J6 “will never again” happen in Sierra Leone; but, he cautioned, “to be sure” that J6 never happens again, “the needs of youth must be addressed.” These needs he said must include “access to quality education”; the lack of which is leading our youth more into imbibing narcotic drugs, and moving some into becoming armed robbers.
Rev. Barnett’s words were underlined by the Catholic Archbishop, His Grace Tamba Charles, who said that J6 “could have been avoided” if justice had been enshrined in our society.
The Catholic prelate bemoaned the reality that the factors which nurtured J6 are still present in Sierra Leone today, adding that most importantly, was the absence of “justice” in our society.
He called for a “radical change of heart” of all Sierra Leoneans, especially those in the justice sector, to address injustice which is eating the fabrics of our society.
The ‘peace’ that Sierra Leoneans clamour for will only come through justice, both Christian leaders stressed. Both Christian leaders emphasized that the Christian Church in Sierra Leone will always lend its “prophetic voice” to ensure there is justice in Sierra Leone; and would continue to critique and proffer suggestions to government whenever necessary.