[I am] Ambassador June Carter Perry, ambassador to Sierra Leone, previously ambassador to Lesotho.
I’m happy to say that Sierra Leone has moved forward in a very positive manner since that era of “blood diamonds”. And certainly President Koroma has made great steps in establishing an anti-corruption commission and in taking a very, very strong role on counternarcotics. I think that this puts Sierra Leone on the path forward. We hope that certainly this will benefit women, children and the youth, particularly, of Sierra Leone.
The diamond issue certainly remains an issue but not nearly as grave an issue as it had been years ago. Fortunately because of the legislative measures that have been put into place, efforts to enforce the Kimberley Process--all of these have brought a new dimension, a positive dimension on how to handle these resources in the country.
I certainly hope so. Certainly the President of the country, the Parliament are very together on this and very supportive of the youth. I am happy to say we are seeing an increase in U.S. investment interests as well. All this bodes for a brighter future for Sierra Leone.
You are most welcome. My pleasure.
(Recorded on Nov. 16, 2009)