Last Saturday was very cordial and challenging environment at Bamberk Basch in the Wohldorfer Strasse 30, 22081 Hamburg, when the Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana met the Ghanaian Community to discuss a range of issues confronting the Community in Hamburg.
The Ambassador, H.E Mr. Paul King Aryene was accompanied by the Minister Counsel at the Embassy, Mr. George De Souza and Mrs. Sabina Werner represented the Ghana Consulate.
His Excellency spoke on a number of issues including the formation of the Diaspora unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also challenged the community to be eager taking leading positions, thereby enabling them channeling their proposals and grievances properly.
He spoke on the UGAG (Union of Ghanaian Associations in Germany) reports on Ghanaian who would be going on pension in the next five years, that most of the people will be in poverty on retirement.Ghanaians are very hard working, nevertheless because most of them are unskilled, earn less and contribute little to the pension scheme.
The community must do more to encourage the coming generation to take education seriously.He also encourages his people to take advantage of the GIZ programs. The GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit ) (German Society for International Cooperation) The main activities in foreign developing countries are focusing on sustainable development and resource management.
Many are those very critical at the GIZ, they are of the view, it is almost impossible to access their assistance. It shall therefore be appropriate to identify experts, with GIZ track records who can assist private individuals.
The outspoken ambassador did not minced words on alcohol and gambling issues and reiterated that it is a bad practice and that his people should desist from it. He jokingly said gambling is for rich people.He insisted learning the German language is a must, as foreigners you need to learn the language so that it will be easy to interact with the locals.
The issue of leadership crisis was dominant, the embassies and consulates shall continue assisting the various communities, but cannot in any way impose leaders.
Mr. De Souza was of the opinion that forming a Ghana Council, might not be a bad idea, a society that is having challenges managing a union, must not in any way attempt running two parallel unions. What could best be done is forming Council of Elders, previous leaders an founders shall serve on this board as advisors.
The Questions and Answers time generated a lot of tensions, the following issues arose, financial responsibilities of the Consulate and the Embassy, data collection Dual Citizenship, ID Cards & Ghana Union structure.
On the Dual citizenship issue, the public wanted to find why it was possible for Nigerians and the Gambia to acquire double citizen and Ghanaians not. Another area was finance, which institution has to pay for official events, the consulate, the embassy or the community.
The Ambassador insisted going begging for money was not the best, the Ghana community in Hamburg is large and therefore, if proper mechanisms are put in place, financing such occasions should not pose any challenge.
Most Ghanaians after the event, complained not been aware of the gathering, and besides were not amused about the early departure of His Excellency and his Deputy. This in effect led to almost half of the people leaving the hall at the displeasure of the other half which remained to discuss subsequent matters.
Desmond John Beddy -/ Yeboah Breman