Ghanaian-Canadians Celebrate 3rd annual Achievement Awards Night
There was a big turn out at the Pentecost Church Banquet Hall in Toronto on the night of October 26, 2002 to celebrate the 3rd Annual Ghanaian-Canadian Achievement Awards. The event which, could be described as one of the most well organized and well attended in the Ghanaian community in Toronto was hosted by the Ghanaian News.
As early as 8:00 p.m. that night the Banquet Hall was packed with hundreds of Ghanaians from Toronto, Oakville, Montreal and Winnipeg as well as well-wishers and invited guests including politicians from the federal, provincial and local governments. When the MCs for the function, Ms. Akuyo Dogbe of Toronto and Michael Baffoe from Montreal, were welcomed to the podium, they invited Rev. James McKeown Quainoo of the Church of Pentecost to commit the night program into the hands of God. The prayer was immediately followed with a beautiful rendition of the Ghanaian and Canadian National Anthems by Master Ebenezer Oteng of Earnscliff Senior Public School in Brampton.
In a brief welcome address, Emmanuel Ayiku, the Publisher/Editor of the Ghanaian News acknowledged the large number of youth who volunteered in the organization of the event. And said, “it is also gratifying to note that most of the youth achievers who were honored in the two previous Awards Nights have moved on to higher grounds and glory.” He extended his gratitude to the Awards Planning and Selection Committees, the sponsors and the large number of volunteers across Canada for their painstaking with in making the event happened
The keynote speaker for the Awards Night was Hon. Roy Cullen, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke North. He pointed out that the tremendous idea to award excellence in the Ghanaian-Canadian is highly appreciated by the Canadian government. For, the Ghanaian community contributes immensely to the vitality of the cultural mosaic of Canada.
He promised to push the Canadian government to support the trade mission from Ghana to Canada initiative. Roy Cullen revealed that already a financial guide has been put in place to assist Ghanaian businessmen who would like to participate in the proposed trade mission. He also spoke about good governance and said, “it is a key factor to development. I am therefore happy that President Kuffuor and his government are committed to fighting corruption at all levels in Ghana.”
Othere speakers at the function included His Excellency Mr. Odoi-Sykes, Ghana’s High Commissioner to Canada, Alvin Curling, M.P.P. for Scarborough-Rouge River, Acting Inspector Nick Memme of Community Policing-support who represented the Toronto Chief of Police, and Thomas Saras, the President of the Ethnic Press Council of Canada.
Mr. Odoi-Sykes called on Ghanaians in diaspora to uphold the culture of Ghana and maintain as well as demonstrate their faith in religion.
Alvin Curling on his part, recognized the tremendous work that the Ghanaian community in Toronto is doing for the Canadian society. He admitted that as a Jamaican Canadian, he is close to Ghanaians. “Jamaicans are Ghanaians and Ghanaians are Jamaican,” he stressed. Alvin Curling praised the rich culture of Ghanaians in Canada and remarked, “our rich culture enhances the cultural mosaic of Canada.
Thomas Saras also emphasized that, “in Canada where all the cultures of the world meet, we are the basis of tomorrow’s Canada.” He praised the good work of the Ghanaian news in the Canadian society, and promised to honor the Published and the publication next year.
Other dignitaries who graced the occasion with their presence included Susan Hall, Councillor for Ward…. in Toronto, Yaw Obeng who is the Principal of Brookview Middle School in toronto, Asantefuohene of Toronto, Nana Asare Bediako, Asantefuohemaa of Toronto, Nana Amma Serwaa, and Mrs. Cullen, the wife of the keynote speaker.
There were also special greetings from the Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chrietien, the Premier of Ontario, Ernie Eves, the Hon. Jean Augustine, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women), Judy Sgro, Member of Parliament for York West, Dalton McGuinty who is the Leader of the Official Opposition in Ontario, John Hastings, Member of Provincial Parliament for Etobicoke North, and Howard Hampton, the Leader of Ontario New Democratic party. Other goodwill messages came from Mel Lastman, Mayor of Toronto and Julian Fantino, Chief of Police, Toronto.
The individual Ghanaians and groups from across Canada whose excellence and hardwork were recognized during the Awards Night included Nana Afua Bour Quainoo of Toronto, Selasie Adzo Doe-Demosse (8yrs.) of Ajax, Crosby Acher Jnr. and Lawrence Darko-Mensaa both from Montreal for academic excellence. The Bethel Humanitarian Mission also presented the four who received the academic achievement awards with a total cash award of $1,000. Other awards recipients were Ohene Kofi Werehene Andoh, Wofa Yaw Adusei-Nyarko, Dr. Samuel D. Jatoe and Roger Kwadzo Amenyogbe for community service. Aako Boateng, Onipamu Baah and Rebecca Mensah (Calgary) for entrepreneurship and Joseph Oppong Addai and the Okuapemman Cultural Association for cultural promotion.
Others were the Toronto Ghanaian S.D.A. Church for religion cum community outreach; Dr. Yaw Twum Barima for professional excellence; Augustina Oppong-Boateng for Volunteerism; Samuel Kabu Asante for community business; Rev. Dr. Ralph Dartey for gospel music; Cal (Ricky) Telfer for music production; Kweku Bilson Ekwam for his contribution to music and; Patience Asante and Jerry Kofi Ntakra for sports.
The night was colorful, vibrant and splendid with cultural display and entertainment by the Sankofa Group of Toronto which performed the “Panlogo” dance, the Toronto Ghanaian S.D.A. Church Choir which sang patriotic songs, the Tehillah Dancers from Liberty Assembly of God who did the gospel “sign” dancing and the Ghana Methodist church choir supporting Ricky Telfer. The master keyboardist and pianoist, Kweku Bilson Ekwam displayed his skills on the piano to entertain the gathering.