The Mayor Freetown Herbert George-Williams last Thursday received in audience a three-man delegation from the Monuments and Relics Commission, who were there to apprise him of their work and discuss opportunities for interfacing with the Freetown City Council.
In his introductory remarks the Chairman of the Monuments and Relics Commission Charlie J. Hughes said that the Monuments and Relics Commission was the oldest continuously existing commission in Sierra Leone; dating back to a 1947 Ordinance. He said that the Commission was an institution charged with the task of identifying, maintaining, preserving and promoting ethnographic, scientific, natural, or man-made objects of historical value in Sierra Leone.
Chairman Hughes reminded the Mayor that the highest number of declared national monuments and relics were in the Western Area.
These included Bunce Island, the De- Ruyter Stone at King Jimmy, the Maroon Church, the Government Wharf slaves-steps, the Old Fourah Bay College building, and the Gate to the King’s Yard at Connaught Hospital among others.
The Freetown City Council therefore had a complimentary role to play in the protection, preservation and promotion of historical heritage, Hughes said.
In responding, His Worship, the Mayor thanked members of the Monuments and Relics Commission for the visit. Mayor Herbert George-Williams acknowledged that indeed the Freetown municipality possessed a large number of monuments, relics and other symbols of Sierra Leone’s history for which he was proud as Father of the City. The Mayor said that preserving these was of great benefit to educating generations of Sierra Leoneans and tourism. It was very important therefore that the Monuments and Relics Commission and the Freetown City Council begin to dialogue in order to build trust, cooperation and strategic partnership, Mayor George-Williams said.
The Mayor said that development of the city of Freetown was his ambition. He said that it was important that while the city was going through a phased structural change, consideration will be made for it not to lose its historic looks and beauty. “I do not have a monopoly of knowledge, and I will always welcome technical inputs and ideas from institutions like the Monuments and Relics Commission” Mayor Herbert George-Williams said.
Mr. Adonis Aboud of the Monuments and Relics Commission reckoned with the Mayor’s point and maintained that a close partnership between the Commission and the City Council will go a long way in shoring up some technical ideas to be factored into projects that seek to beautify or rehabilitate objects of historic importance. Mr Aboud assured the Mayor that the Monuments and Relics Commission was supportive of objectives to ensure that the city is given a new look.
The Commission, Mr Aboud said was only asking that it provides inputs in the planning with a view to preserving history.
Members of the Freetown City Council and the Monuments and Relics Commissioners agreed to keep lines of communication open from now on. Both parties decided to work together to resurrect Sierra Leone’s history that reflects education for ourselves and our children, cultural awareness and development. At the end of the meeting Mayor George-Williams promised to present a Gold Clock to the Museum at a date and time the Commissioners will be duly notified of.
At the meeting with the Mayor were the Deputy Mayor Mr Gibrilla Kanu and the Chief Administrator Mr. Bowenson Phillips.