February 9th 2015 – A group of representatives made up of GCAO Executives and Advisers, Ghanaian News, Ghanalinx Media, Nananom, Youth and the Clergy made a successful trip to Ottawa Friday February 6th to formally welcome the Ghana High Commissioner to Canada – Dr. S. Gariba and apprise him of some of the community projects that are currently in progress.
The group was warmly welcome by the entire Ghana Commission His Excellency Dr. S. Gariba; Ms. Florence Akonor, Head of Chancery; Honorable John Bosco – Toronto Consul General and entire High Commission staff.
Pastor Obiri, Ghana Methodist Church representing the Clergy, offered the opening prayer and straight away business proceedings began
- Nana Kwarteng representing Nananom summarized our welcome message from the typical Ghanaian tradition that they were there to welcome him to Canada and that they were ready to work with him to improve the lives of our people. The High Commissioner responded that he had not presented his credentials to the Canadian Government that is why he has not paid an official visit to Toronto. His Excellency mentioned that he was scheduled to present his credentials to the Governor General Feb 18th, in Ottawa
- E. Duodu, Wofa Yaw Nyarko and Dr. Awafo highlighted the strength of our community in Toronto made up of lively Churches, vibrant Community Associations, evolving strong youth leadership and thriving Ghanaian businesses. With the progress and strides made by Ghanaians in Ontario they wanted His Excellency to know that there is much to be done to help our people. They asked His Excellency to assist in implementing three projects —Resource Center, Community Center and Gathering Stats On the Ghanaian population in the Greater Toronto Area—-that would help our youth, create opportunities for unemployed/ underemployed, elderly care and a center for strengthening our Ghanaian Canadian identity
- In the ensuing questions and answers period, the group articulated that the assistance being sought from the Ghana High Commission is to support them in their endeavor to partner with Municipal, Provincial and Federal Government. The Consul General and His Excellency pledged to provide any support needed to move these projects forward
- His Excellency Dr. S. Gariba, informed us that he sees the urgent need to know the number of Ghanaian living in the various municipalities and provinces and he is setting up a team and would need our representatives to have a census of Ghanaians. With a credible and consistent census it would help us when interacting with any level of government officials for support. His Excellency and the Head of Chancery made us aware that they are there to support and assist any Ghanaian who intends to set up any business in Ghana
- We were introduced to one of the High Commission staff whose responsibility is to oversee Ghanaians in Diaspora initiatives. There is more to come on that front.
- His Excellency recommended we set up a business like forum with him for a day in Toronto and invite Government officials , civic leaders and our community leaders and seek to implement these projects we have highlighted. His Excellency also encouraged us to unify around the projects we have in flight and as a community he counselled that we encourage unity in diversity.
The Ghanaian Canadian Association of Ontario extended an official invite to the High Commissioner to attend the 58TH Ghana Independence celebration March 7th 2015 at The Continuation Hall. More information on this event to be published.