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Ghana repays Barbados

Gercine Carter

Ghana repays Barbados

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Barbados has recovered Ghana’s promised half of the cost of repatriating 97 Ghanaians stranded here almost three years ago.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean yesterday confirmed that Ghana had repaid its half of the $618 446.40 the Government paid to charter a flight back home for the Ghanaians who first arrived in Barbados for a two-week stay on February 1, 2008.
They were forced to remain on the island  illegally after the Ghana Airways flight which brought them never returned, and Immigration authorities were alerted when it was discovered some of the group were working here without work permits.
McClean, who was serving as Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for Immigration at the time, said yesterday: “It was unfortunate that we had that situation, because the continent of Africa and, certainly, Ghana as one of the more successful of the West African countries – there is potential for us to collaborate”.
And she added that Government was looking at its policy positions in relation to Africa generally.
McClean told the Weekend Nation: “We should not allow that single event to colour our perception of how we can interface.
“I think some of our unscrupulous people were trying something which did not work.”
The minister reflected on what she described as “a difficult situation”, and explained that countries from which the Barbados Government needed to secure transit visas for the Ghanaians “did not agree” .
McClean said it was “a sad experience” for people whom she thought were simply “victims of a situation”.
 “There were young men for the most part, and a couple young women, who were promised jobs in this country,” McClean said.