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01.11.2008 Editorial

The Cat's Out Of The Bag

By Daily Guide
The Cat's Out Of The Bag
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WHEN AN Israeli businessman was kidnapped a fortnight or so ago, a rare occurrence in this country, we had cause to editorialise on the subject, rather painfully.

We called the attention of our compatriots to the gravity of the matter and the need for all Ghanaians to be security conscious.

We did state that should the suspects behind the crime be Ghanaians, it underscored the sophistication crime had assumed in the country and the need for all of us to consider being security conscious.

On the other hand, if the suspects are non-Ghanaians as it has turned out to be, there is something wrong with the management of our immigration procedures.

Now that our national security apparatus has proved its mettle by subduing the miscreants we are the wiser about how a faulty immigration can lead to all manner of characters finding their way into a given sovereign territory.

To be fair to our immigration management apparatus, otherwise known as Ghana Immigration Service, their work has been complicated by the ECOWAS protocol which allows citizens of the regional politico-economic grouping access to all the countries within it.

Be it as it may, this development alongside others recorded in recent times, calls for another look at the way we do things about our immigration procedures.

We are not asking for the scrapping of the protocol governing the ECOWAS treaty or the discouragement of our neighbours from coming here. Not at all. We are only asking that our immigration apparatus seeks an appropriate balance between our national interest and that of the regional grouping.

Our national interest certainly over-rides that of the regional grouping and so we cannot fold our arms when miscreants from our neighbouring countries abuse our hospitability to the extent of creating a diplomatic embarrassment for us.

It appears the ease with which foreigners can enter Ghana and establish business is being abused.

We would repeat the call we made in a previous editorial about the need for all Ghanaians to be security conscious.

When we start getting inquisitive about strangers in our midst we would be able to stem the incidence of crime by foreigners in the country.

Our compatriots working in the hospitality industry for instance can contribute immensely towards the maintenance of our national security by cooperating with the national security or even the Ghana Immigration Service.

Hotel workers if a proper arrangement is made between them and the national security apparatus can lead to the unearthing of criminal activities being executed by some of our guests from the ECOWAS regional grouping especially most of them check into the cheap hotels dotting the outskirts of our urban centres.

The perpetrators of the kidnapping could have easily been identified by workers of the hotel in which they checked in if we had been a little security conscious.

Such hotel workers could have posed a few questions to establish whether the suspects were here for genuine business or not.

Now that they have been arrested, we think a lot of facts can be extracted from them about their modus operandi.

Such information can assist in working out a better approach to managing immigration in the country.

It is our position that a collaboration between the immigration departments of the ECOWAS grouping is another effective way of stemming the high incidence of crime in the regional grouping.

When eventually adequate evidence is assembled the law should take its course.

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