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14.04.2005 Travel & Tourism

Security Concerns In Ghana A Big Minus For Tourism

By Mr. CNN-Mensah

LOTS OF "ATA AYIS" STILL IN BUSINESS Infamous Ata Ayi, the most notorious "pussy cat" criminal in my book was arrested after a massive advertising campaign for his arrest over a six year period. It was published by various newspapers that a bill board was built just for his whereabouts. Ata Ayi was noted to have committed heinous crimes which involved many of the victims shot and killed. Some lost large sums of money as a result of his operation.

The Ghanaian community worldwide was elated and very happy that finally the "big fish" had been finally caught from the Osu "river". Some thought it would at least bring a closure to the many Ghanaian nightmares and also lessen armed robbery in Ghana.

While armed robbery is on going, the Ministry of Tourism and the Modernization of the Capital City (MTMCC) has been promoting tourism in Ghana worldwide.

It was shocking to hear that the US Embassy in Ghana had issued a security precaution for American citizens in Ghana on April 5th. It cited; a recent increase in violent crime in Ghana involving American citizens and other foreigners. These incidents include armed home invasions, highway robberies, vehicle break-ins, and street crime. Some of these incidents have resulted in serious injury and, in one case, rape".

One must not definitely be surprised by these acts, because it is nothing new. In America we do see on television and read articles relating to some of the heinous crime ever committed in American history. The increase in armed robbery in Ghana is something to worry about. The authorities are doing whatever they can to deal with the perpetrators. It is a detriment for Ghanaians in the Diaspora having the feeling that they might be a target when they decide to go home for a visit.

Tourists and Ghanaians in the Diaspora increase the volume of the amount of money pumped into the Ghanaian economy as a result of their constant travels to Ghana for vacations and adventure.

A bad experience for tourists can send a wrong message that our country is not the best place for tourism as advertised. An American tourist upon being a target of an armed robbery can share his or her experience to a national news media such as CNN, NY Times, Washington Post or others. When that is broadcasted to the millions of people, it will become a warning signal to those who would like to go to Ghana for tourism. We need every penny from every tourist in order to make our country the best "hub" for tourism in the world. Currently, we have not seen any American who has been attacked and has become a hot topic for the news media. If that happens, our country would be subject of hate and negative campaign.

We encourage the security authorities, Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense, MTMCC to act quickly and put more money on employing security patrols in the country or employ more police officers round the block.

One Police officer told me during my visit in Ghana in January that he has been working for the force for 36 years and his salary is terrible. He had dealt with it for so many years because he does not have anything else to do. The police officers should get better incentives to make their job worth working for.

It would be sad for Ghanaians in the Diaspora that after working so hard and decide to go home for a vacation, their experiences become a nightmare. There are so many unemployed Ghanaians who have decided that since petrol prices have been increased, the economy is in a horrible state, they cannot find jobs or have no inspiration from elsewhere and the best way to richness and living comfortable was the fast way of inflicting injury on others, attacking tourists for their hard earned money and very glad that the security is at its worst so they would not be caught. They prey on tourists who are new in the country. They act like they are good Samaritans but on the contrary.

The more people fear to travel to Ghana for tourism, the more money Ghana Tourism Board loses. I am sure the security authorities are doing their best to make our country safer.

We encourage our traveling brothers and sisters to be extra vigilant and follow security precautions giving out by US embassy in Ghana.

Many people can attest that our country is a place for a peace of mind and less stress even though the poor is getting hit harder. We are not going to be afraid and make these criminals overtake our country just as coup deta'ts overtook our country for many years. Let us make those "Ata Ayis" remaining pay for their mischief. Together, we will get rid of them one by one just like the real Ata Ayi is now in incarceration where he would rot forever. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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