Sir Tony while in Sierra Leone visited President Julius Maada Bio and Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh to explain how Westminster can help the government enhance security at the airport in particular and the country in general.
Mr. Baldry further told AYV that they are investing lots of money in procuring security equipment to keep passengers safe, citing that they have trained lots of Sierra Leoneans to be in control of the operations at the airport.
He added that they have put in a proposal to the President to see how they can play their part to further strengthen aviation security in the country.
He added that Westminster is a British-owned company with all the shareholders being British and that the company is listed in the London Stock Exchange, and that they are operating in about 50 countries across the world.
“We started operating in Sierra Leone in 2012 when the country was in dire need of a professional company to handle ground handling of the Freetown International Airport. At that time, we sent in 30 experts to work with Sierra Leoneans and today only three are still in the country, adhering to Sierra Leone’s Local Content Policy.”
Hon. Tony Baldry said they have spent huge amounts of money to raise the handling standard of the airport and today the airport is safe, with less complaints of stealing luggage. He said they will continue to invest in modern equipment and sniffer dogs because wherever they work they believe in giving quality and adhering to standard.
He said he met with President Bio and Vice President Juldeh Bah because he cannot come to Sierra Leone and not meet with the president and his vice president to discuss how his company can help in the development process of the country.
“Discussing with President Bio was an opportunity as we talked about how to modernize the airport, how we can work on bringing down the ticket prices, to get direct flights from London to Sierra Leone, ecotourism and how we can help in the investment conference next month in London,” Hon. Baldry said.
He added that the Sierra Leone Government and Westminster will soon start talks on how they can reduce the price of tickets so that it can be at par with other Mano River Union countries so that Sierra Leone too will be competitive.
“On my return I will look for flights that will start operating between London and Sierra Leone as presently there is no direct flight between the two countries. I will try my best to make sure that we get cheap flights to operate this route. Today in Uganda and Kenya, ecotourism is doing very well and I am sure it will be the same for Sierra Leone, as this is another area that we will pursue to help the tourism sector grow in the country,” he said.
He added that they are the only British company working in Saudi Arabia and Iran and that they have partners in Saudi Arabia for ecotourism that they will talk to for them to come and invest in Sierra Leone. He went on to say that Sierra Leone has all it takes to develop ecotourism in the country and that he is determined to see Sierra Leone grow by leaps and bounds.
“I was told by the president of the investment conference next month in London and he said he will be attending. We discussed at length on how Westminster will be of immense help to work with the Sierra Leone High Commission in London to make sure the conference is successful. As we are one of two British companies in Sierra Leone, we would be at a vantage point to entice more British companies to come and invest in Sierra Leone. We will do all in our power to make sure that this investment conference becomes successful in order to see more British companies coming to invest in Sierra Leone.”
When asked about the atmosphere in Sierra Leone for investors, Hon. Tony Baldry said if the atmosphere is not conducive, Westminster will not be here. He added that in every country, there are challenges, but that challenges are always overcome through cooperation. He maintained that with more investments in the country, more job opportunities would be created, and services and products for the people multiplied.