By Amin Kef Sesay
In celebrating Europe Day 2020 last Saturday 9th May 2020 the European Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Tom Vens, disclosed that they were marking Europe Day and the 70th anniversary of the formation of the European Union.
He opined that at the heart of Europe Day is the very important occasion to celebrate peace.
“On Europe Day, the European Union Institutions and their Delegations all around the world traditionally organise a variety of events and activities to mark this important occasion, to celebrate the European values of unity and solidarity and to reaffirm our ties with our partner countries,” he revealed further highlighting that the COVID 19 pandemic has not made such possible during this year.
Ton Vens stated that the ongoing crisis leaves no room for social gatherings saying their thoughts are going out to all those who are fighting against the virus or suffering because of it. “The COVID-19 pandemic is touching every community and every household, affecting nearly every aspect of our daily lives,” he underscored adding how that has become very personal for many of them.
He noted that COVID-19 is changing our world stating that we must not let it drift us apart but rather the global challenge should bring us together as a world community as has never happened before.
The European Ambassador stated that at the global level the European Union is taking resolute actions and mobilising all means at its disposal to help their partner countries with their national responses.
He said the European Union firmly stands with Sierra Leone during these difficult times pointing out that they are here, together. “We are supporting the Government, the People and communities of Sierra Leone to eradicate the COVID-19 virus and to make the country safe for all. This is not just a commitment: we are doing it,” Tom Vens expressed determination.
He said they are constantly adapting their priorities, programmes and projects and have mobilised additional funds to support the COVID response in Sierra Leone.
But at the same time, he continued, they cannot be blind to the other development needs stating how they will continue to build roads and bridges, continue to invest in education and stronger institutions, continue to support agriculture and food security during these difficult times.
“At a time like this when it is easy to be overwhelmed by emotion, fear, anxiety and insecurity, staying true to our values of solidary and unity is crucial,” he furthered adding beating the coronavirus pandemic requires extra-ordinary efforts at all levels and from all of us.
He said at a time like this, even our smallest actions as individuals can have great meaning maintaining that we can all do something to make things better: by uniting as a nation and making space for constructive engagement, by complying with guidelines and measures that have been put in place, by spreading awareness about the virus, by sharing facts instead of rumours, by preserving a peaceful environment.
Tom Vens said they know that Sierra Leoneans are strong and resilient saying they saw it during Ebola and know it is possible now.
“Are you passionate about your country? About partnership and development? Do you want to share your views on how we can all help during this pandemic ?” he asked sending an invitation to make voices heard on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/EUinSierraLeone/, where ,he said, they are creating a virtual space to celebrate Europe Day, starting last Saturday.
He said on the occasion of Europe Day, as EU they would also like to express their sincere thanks and appreciation for all those who are on the frontline to combat the COVID-19 disease in Sierra Leone.
Tom Vens said they take hope from all the doctors, health care professionals and sanitation workers who bravely and tirelessly provide vital care and support during this crisis.
“If you help a person, you help a family. If you help a family, you help a community. If you help a community, you help a country. If you help a country, you help humanity,” he enjoined ending up in Krio: “Tem lek dis, wi for join an togeda for fet corona virus komot na Salone. Wuna tenki!”