Amb. David Reimer
Independence Day Celebration, July 1, 2022
Freetown, Sierra Leone
Good evening and welcome to the U.S. Embassy in Freetown and our celebration of the 246th anniversary of the independence of the United States of America.
Director General Cole, honorable ministers, fellow members of the diplomatic corps, members of parliament, traditional and religious leaders, ladies and gentlemen: Today is a great day!
Our last official celebration in Freetown of the birthday of the United States took place in 2019. That seems like ages ago. But today, as the COVID situation continues to stabilize, we are finally able to see each other in person and renew the many ties that unite the people of Sierra Leone with the people of the United States.
The United States and Sierra Leone have important ties of history and culture, of trade and investment, and of a shared commitment to work together to promote the health and well-being of the people of Sierra Leone. But most importantly we are fellow democracies.
No two democracies are the same — but all democracies derive their authority from the will of the people, reflected in responsible political discourse, and freely expressed in honest and fair elections. Those are some of the ideals enshrined in our Declaration of Independence 246 years ago, and those are the same ideals that unite our two countries today. No democracy is perfect, but all democracies must continuously strive to live up to their highest ideals. That is what truly brings us together for this celebration, and that is truly what makes today a wonderful day.
Director General, there is much to celebrate. Underlying all that our two countries are doing together is your government’s commitment not just to democracy but to the rule of law, to tolerance and religious freedom, to fighting corruption and promoting economic growth. And we are doing a LOT together:
Our work today is primarily in the field of health care. The United States has delivered over 1 million COVID-19 vaccines, along with equipment and training to fight the pandemic.
We have provided over $76 million in assistance to help Sierra Leone prevent and treat malaria and other diseases, which continue to prey upon the children of Sierra Leone.
I am proud to say that in the coming year our cooperation will expand in breadth. We will continue our focus on improving the health of Sierra Leoneans, but will also fund projects that promote democracy and good governance.
We will continue and expect to expand our cooperation with the Maritime Wing and Ministry of Fisheries to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, which is a serious threat not just to Sierra Leoneans employed in the fishing sector but to all Sierra Leoneans who depend on fish as a source of food.
We are working through the Millennium Challenge Corporation to establish a Compact, which potentially includes a record amount of assistance. Conclusion of a compact will depend upon a successful election in 2023 and continued progress on democracy, governance and corruption.
And I am delighted to say that after an absence of more than two years we just earlier this week welcomed the return of Peace Corp volunteers back to Sierra Leone.
As I said, U.S. cooperation with the people and government of Sierra Leone is increasing significantly in both depth and breadth.
And so it is with a spirit of optimism, and hope for our future, and commitment to the work ahead, that I ask you all to join me in raising a glass to toast the Government and people of Sierra Leone and the enduring friendship between our two nations.