With Ghana's preparation towards her 50th anniversary and its anticipated visitors, there is a call for all to get involved in condemning sex tourism. This call was made by the Minister for Tourism and Diasporan Relations, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, in an exclusive interview.
Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey, while conceding that the Ministry could not pretend to have control over the internet, said "If Ghanaian women choose to show themselves naked on the internet, it is something that we all must deal with." Soliciting the assistance of the various tourism service providers, especially hotel personnel, the Minister stated that if a guest, for instance, brings a juvenile to his hotel room and his actions smack of pedophilic intent, the onus lies on the hotel personnel to draw the attention of the necessary authorities.
Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey revealed that plans are in place to organize a series of events aimed at attracting the large number of tourists who will visit the country during the Ghana at 50 celebrations to return on more visits throughout the year, adding that his Ministry was drawing the attention of the various ministries concerned to address, among others, issues of safety and security as well as food hygiene. “We are going to have a lot of visitors coming in and we have to do everything in our power to enable them have a good time. If they come here and they are robbed or attacked, it would reflect very badly on Ghana and it would hurt all of us,” he stated.
Elaborating on the relationship between his Ministry and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly in the modernization of the city of Accra, Mr Obetsebi-Lamptey explained that the AMA maintains its original responsibilities of running the capital city whereas the Tourism Ministry is responsible for modernizing the capital city, adding that there was always some misunderstanding whenever the issue of cleaning the city came up. He therefore took the opportunity to clarify that the cleaning of Accra is not the responsibility of the Ministry of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City but that of the AMA, adding, “even though we've tried to explain it, people chose to understand it in their own terms.”
When the Minister was asked on the rationale behind the change of name of his Ministry from Ministry of Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City to Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations, he said that the “Diasporan Relations” referred to the country's relation with the original African Diaspora, that is the people who were taken from Africa and enslaved in the West and the Ministry is currently trying to get them involved in the country and the African continent as a whole.
He also mentioned that as part of championing the “Joseph Project,” which is Ghana's outreach programme, the Ministry received a lot of résumés from people living in the Diaspora hence President Kufuor found it prudent to add 'Diasporan Relations' to the Ministry's name so as to further attract more people to Ghana. The Ghana “Joseph Project” is aimed at making the 21st century the African century. Its strategy is to reconcile and unite Africans and to harness positive attributes in Africans to elevate Africa and Africans world wide.The Minister also mentioned that his Ministry was implementing two projects: the relocation of Sodom and Gomorrah and the regeneration of Accra Central.