SPEECH DELIVERED AT A MEET & GREET SESSION ON THE EVE OF 59TH INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION ORGANISED BY GHANA ASSOCIATION OF HAMILTON
The Mayor of Hamilton,
- City Councillor-Matthew Green
- Representatives of Friendly Associations
- Fellow Ghanaians
– Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me pleasure and honour to bring you greetings and best wishes from His Excellency Dr. Sulley Gariba and the entire Ghana Mission in Ottawa and Toronto. (Introduce accompanying Staff)
Let me also use this opportunity to extend the apologies of His Excellency, the High Commissioner, who would have loved to be here to interact with you, but could not do so due to other pressing official engagement currently on-going in Ottawa. He has asked me to commend your association for holding the flag high. It is indeed a show of patriotism and love for your homeland Ghana.
I also seize this opportunity to commend the leaderships of the Ghana Association in Hamilton for the invitation to interact with you. For this is in tune with the Mission’s commitment to engage with the entire Ghanaian diaspora community in Canada. We shall visit you another time to have conversation on the Mission’s strategy on diaspora affairs and other matters of mutual interest.
I understand that this event is dedicated to celebration of Ghana’s 59th Independence anniversary. But wish to caution that we treat this gathering appropriately as an event held on the eve of Ghana’s Independence anniversary celebration because as we are all aware, the official celebration is yet to unfold in Ghana tomorrow, and we should not be seen to ‘dive in head first ‘for protocol sake.
Nevertheless, I will share some perspectives on Ghana’s independence and its historical significance for the entire African continent.
Ladies & Gentlemen, Fifty-nine years ago, Ghana attained independence from British colonial rule through the blood and toil of our forefathers. Led by our indefatigable first President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory, our beloved country Ghana became free on 6th March 1957 and since then her citizens reserved the right to determine their own future. Ghana became a trail blazer in the enterprise of independence in Africa. By 1958, a year after self-rule, most African countries began to look up to Ghana for inspiration, political leadership and direction to prosecute their own independence agenda. That eventually led to the liberation of several African countries under the tutelage of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
Indeed, Ghana earned the enviable reputation as the BLACK STAR OF AFRICA on account of the outstanding leadership she provided for the emancipation of colonialism in Africa.
Dear Compatriots, We observe this annual ritual with pride and excitement as it symbolises freedom to make our own choices in life. So the question is what choices can we collectively make to turn Ghana into a better place for generations yet unborn.
Before I attempt an answer to that, I wish to acknowledge the immense contribution of the Diaspora to the growth of the Ghanaian economy, not only in terms of the remittances you send home for your families and friends but your contribution to boost tourism in Ghana owing to your frequent visits home. Ghanaian Diaspora tourist expends money more than any group of tourists while in Ghana. Each time we visit home the pile of bills one has to deal with from performing funeral rites and greetings of deceased immediate and extended family members, friends, schools fees, and other bills which have accrued for settlement is phenomenal. I commend you to keep up the good work.
That notwithstanding, I believe that the self-rule fought for by our forefathers imposes on us a far more responsibility to galvanise our efforts and deploy our skills and resources for sustainable development of our families and the communities we live. Here, I wish to underscore that, as members of the Ghanaian diaspora you are privileged to leverage on your extensive networks and experience you’ve acquired to navigate the process of sustainable development of your motherland, beyond the feat of remittances and diaspora tourism. I have no doubt that you can contribute your quota by mobilising your network of contacts in Canada and elsewhere to set up programmes and projects that will inure to the benefit of the Ghanaian society , especially, the youth who are our future stewards. [Incidentally, the official theme for this year’s independence celebration is “Investing In The Youth For Ghana’s Transformation”].
Fellow Compatriots, It cannot be gainsaid that proper investment in the future of our youth goes beyond provision of food, clothing and shelter. Our youth need purposeful education, mentorship and good parental guidance and counselling to grow up as responsible adults. All of us especially, parents have the onerous responsibility to ensure that our youth stay focused on good course for posterity. I therefore, urge you all to make time from your busy work schedules to monitor, supervise and direct our youth onto the good path of life. Remember that children turn to find comfort in their peers where parental guidance is lacking. We should also seek to inculcate our rich cultural ethos in our second and third generation youth so as to develop their interest in mother Ghana.
In closing, I wish to encourage you don the garb of unity and be each other’s brother’s keeper. I believe together we can brake the barriers of sustainable development and prosperity.
Thank you for your attention.
Speech delivered by john bosco dery-kpebesani, CONSUL-GENERAL, Toronto –
5th march, 2016 – HAMILTON – ONTARIO