The chairperson of the Monuments and Relics Commission, Isanti Smith has on Thursday 25th February, 2016 in the usual weekly government press briefing at the Ministry of Information and Communications conference room in Freetown updated news men on the mandate and activities of her commission.
Madam Smith explained that the Monuments and Relics Commission (MIC) is the government agency established in 1948 following the passing by parliament of the Monuments and Relics Ordinance in 1946. The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs is its line ministry under the Cultural Division.
She further noted that the Commission was established to “provide for the preservation of ancient, historical and natural monuments, relics and other objects of archeological, ethnographical, historical or other scientific interest”.
Explaining the mandate of the commission, Ms. Smith stated that the Commission was reconstituted by His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma on the recommendation of the Tourism Ministry and all new Commissioners were appointed.
“This action can be attributed to the fact that this government, unlike previous ones, finally realized that a nation’s cultural heritage is a vital resource that could be an integral part of the broader cultural life of a nation” She said adding that, Culture can be a vehicle for economic development, for building stable social cohesion and can help achieve environmental sustainability as well as foster resilience in local communities.
Highlighting the progress made so far by her commission, Madam Smith said the reconstituted commission was faced with a number of challenges some very basic and others profound.
“Chief among these was the fact that the Commission had no Secretariat, no staff, the Act guiding its activities was obsolete; there was no strategic plan to map its future activities” she lamented.
Upon assumption of office, she said, the commission quickly prioritized the areas that needed immediate intervention and went to work. From 2014 to date, using funds provided by the Government of Sierra Leone, they have implemented activities either completely or partially. Some of these activities include:
Institutional and Human Resource Capacity Building, MRC Secretariat established, Staff Rules and Regulations drafted and approved, Programme and Support Staff hired and other vacancies identified, refurbishment of the office of the Curator and Coordinator at both Museums and restricting and upgrading staffing system in both Museums.
In terms of Legislative and Regulatory Framework, Madam Smith said Review and update of the Monuments and Relics Act is 70% complete, Development and implementation of a 5 years strategic plan for both MRC and Museums was also under way.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.