A lecturer at the University of Ghana’s Institute of African Studies, Dr. Michael Kpessa Whyte, has accused the United States government of trying to bully Ghana with its recent visa restriction threat.
The United States (US) government has threatened to impose visa restrictions on Ghanaians if the Ghana government fails to comply with international obligations regarding the issuance of travel documents to Ghanaians awaiting deportation in the US.
[contextly_sidebar id=”B1JAQHF6iEWexsDsuVpn1X4yceOZBSz7″]According to a statement issued on Wednesday by the US Embassy in Accra, it said they will be forced to begin implementing the visa restrictions in accordance with U.S. law as a responsibility owed to the American people.
But speaking on Citi TV’s morning show, Breakfast Daily on Friday, Dr. Kpessa Whyte said the threat is a calculated attempt to force the Ghana government to sign the documents.
“US government is actually bullying Ghana by trying to incite Ghanaians against the government. What they are saying is that they will restrict visa regimes. Who are they restricting visa regimes to? It is not to the government officials. In fact, in September they will go to the UN in large numbers. You can’t restrict them. It is to the ordinary Ghanaian,” he said.
Dr. Whyte, who is also a member of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), and a former Executive Director of the National Service Scheme, said the move is geared towards inciting Ghanaians against government.
“…Basically what the US is trying to do is to get the ordinary Ghanaian who goes to the embassy to queue for hours to get a visa to get upset and then get access to radio or TV or social media and begin to lambaste the government, then the government is forced to cave in and sign those documents so those Ghanaians over there could be deported,” he added.
He said the threat is in bad taste especially when the US government is seeking a place to host its military troop in Ghana.
“You have the US government represented by the Embassy here begging and telling us that we shouldn’t worry about the defense agreement, everything is okay in it and the [Ghana] government is siding with them in that line. On the other side you have the same Embassy saying that if you don’t speed up to sign the documents so that we can deport your citizens, we will restrict visas to Ghanaians. And I’m asking myself why is the government allowing itself to be treated this way?”
“Why didn’t you take advantage of the fact that the US needs something from you now and so in negotiating whatever agreement they have in that defense thing, we will make this one of the things on the table. It is either you leave those Ghanaians to be there before we sign the agreement; because the agreement in its form it terrible anyways,” Dr. Kpessa Whyte added.
Gov’t showed no interest in US concerns – Apaak
Clement Apaak, an NDC MP for Builsa South on the other hand accused the Ghana government of failing to address concerns raised by the US government about delays in issuing travel documents to Ghanaians awaiting deportation in the US.
The MP on Eyewitness News said the government did not show a keen interest in the matter when it was initially raised by the US Ambassador, Robert Jackson sometime ago.
“I have to be honest in saying that government has demonstrated its colossal lack of interest in this issue, and I say so because just about a month or so ago, Ghana’s Ambassador to the US was on record and even granted interviews to various media houses, indicating the discomfort that he was feeling and the fact that the American authorities were pressurizing him to sign a document that will grant the authorization for deportation of Ghanaians in the US believed to have entered that country illegally.”
“I had called the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to come to the house and explain to the people’s representatives on what exactly is going on and to seek clarification from the Americans in terms of how many they should deport; whether they were going to come in one tranche or different tranches; what their records were in terms of any violations in US law; whether they had been allowed to exhaust due processes; whether their rights had been respected or whether they had family and property to leave behind if they were to be deported. Unfortunately, neither government or the Minister paid heed and although I had gone on to file a question, the question is yet to be admitted.”
By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citinewsroom.com/Ghana