Lakeshore Hotel, Chicago Illinois , December 28 2017 : The current President of the Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago,GNC, Paa Kwasi Sam , reiterated his call for the community to unite behind his leadership to enable the community finally achieve some of the landmark goals that has existed on paper all these years. The most prominent and elusive of all these goals is the Ghana House or Ghanaian community center project that has been talked about for more than 20 years. Paa Kwasi made the call when he and his executives met elders and leaders of the Ghanaian community at the Lakeshore Hotel, 4900 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago Illinois.
President Paa Kwasi Sam listed the following as his vision for the next three years. They are:
• Unity : The President bemoaned the factionalism that has permeated the community and asked that community leaders and members unite behind the GNC. He said “ We are all Ghanaians and there is no need for us to divide ourselves into factions and fight each other” !
• Youth Empowerment: The president want the youth in the community to work with the GNC because the future of the Ghanaian community like any community, rests on the active participation of its youth.
• Town Hall Meetings: President Paa Kwasi Sam promised to engage community elders, leaders and the whole community at large, in an ongoing basis by holding quarterly town hall meetings. This he believes would not only help bring the community together but help to improve relationship within the community .
• Ghana House or Ghanaian Community Center: The President stated that if the community come together , it will be possible to achieve the Ghanaian community center dream within his first term in office. President Sam stated that raising funds for the Ghana Community project will not be a good idea because some people would misconstrue any amount raised as enough to build the center. “Giving members in the community the option to invest their money in such a project would be the ideal way to raise funds to accomplish our goal”, President Sam stated. He narrated that at a recent meeting in the community, some Ghanaian’s in the community were ready and willing to invest thousands of dollars in Ghana. President Sam advised that it would be prudent for us to invest in the community we live before we look to invest elsewhere. He said a community center in Chicago will serve the immediate needs of all community members and if run properly, it would generate enough revenue to pay off the initial investment and dividends in the shortest possible time.
Reverend Dzifanu Agbenya noted that it is a good idea to reconstruct unity in the community by way of these quarterly meetings but he cautioned that the idea should not be a nine-day wonder. “These meetings should continue and I pray it should not deflate later, which would be a disappointment to all” Rev Dzifanu advised. Former President of the GNC, Mr. Clement Timpo, advised that the GNC must be visible in the community and should not treat the chieftaincy council as a foreign entity. He said during his term he did not meddle in the financial department of the GNC and that recent problems he observed were a result of past presidents direct involvement in the financial dealings of the council !Mr. Timpo ended by asking the new executives to start using check requisition forms before checks are issued!
Reverend Nonoo said “ if we work together, it will be more fruitful” .Nana Afua Dansua, Queenmother of the Fante Benevolent Association advised that members of the executives must belong to an association. She also asked the GNC to look for funding so that the chiefs and queenmother’s can attend the independence anniversary celebrations free. Reuben Hadzide chastised the GNC members for tolerating discussions on the GNC floor that a donation of $15,00.00 given to the council sometime ago was given because the donor wanted to deduct more than the amount donated. He explained that all that the council ought to concern itself with should have been to report the amount donated on their 990 returns. Reuben concluded that such behavior by council members may discourage prospective donors .
Members spoke about the need to resolve conflicts in the community. Reuben Hadzide noted that some of the reasons why conflicts are not resolved in the community is that some elders in the community do not like to side with the truth. They tell different factions what the factions want to hear to the detriment of the community. He stated that telling the truth doesn’t mean you are siding with anyone! Reuben Hadzide used the occasion to address the amount of money left in the coffers of the GNC by the outgoing regime led by Ebenezer Antwi-Nsiah. The outgoing treasurer, Evelyn Mensah said that by December 31 2016 the council has no liabilities . The Final financial records of the GNC as at December 31 2016 were:
o ISF Bank $7960.50
o Citibank $1997.24
o Receivables $19,750.00
Total cash left by the Nsiah administration within three years would have been $19,257.74 had they not paid debts incurred by John Henry Assabill’s regime. That is the best performance so far by any regime in the history of the GNC.
Reuben also put the new executives on notice that he will from time to time approach them to verify financial and other information as needed for accurate reporting.Nana Owusu Bempah raised concerns about that when he said that if everyone is allowed to enquire information from the GNC, the officers in charge would be overwhelmed. We noted however that the problem in our community is not the overwhelming request of information from our leaders, but the lack of thereof. Also, if an information is broadcast in the community, the chances that others would request the same information is minimized and may avert unnecessary rumors! Reuben Hadzide reminded the new executives that the GNC lacks credibility with the community on the Ghana House issue because a restricted account for the Ghana Community center or Ghana house project was dissipated under John Henry Assabill’s regime.
Some of the community elders and members Present are Nana Yirentsi Bonsu, Chief of Okuapeman; Mr. Clement Timpo, former President of the GNC; Nana Addae Baffour, Asantefuohene; Maxwel Anani, GNC Member ; Naa Issa Samori, President of the Chieftaincy Council; Frederica Buckman,President Ga-Dangbe Community Organization; Habiba Abdallah,Queenmother, Ghana Northern Union; John Abbeyea, former Vice -President , GNC; Reverend Dzifanu Agbenya,Living Comfort Ministries; Nana Afua Dansua, Queenmother , Fante Benevolent Society; Pastor Nana Owusu Bempah , Reverend Dr. Kofi Noonoo, Simon Addo, Regent of the Ewe Association; Rev. Emmanuel Amonoo, Resident Pastor, Church of the Ghanaian Community of Chicago and members of the GNC Executives.
The executives used the occasion to release a press statement for immediate release on the upcoming Ghana @ 60 celebrations in Chicago.