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Ghanaians Stranded At London Gatwick

John Ahwere-Bafo
Diaspora Ghanaians Stranded At London Gatwick
SEP 10, 2005 DIASPORA (UK & IRELAND)
Ghana's Budget Airlines: A Dream Or Nightmare As Ghanaians Get Stranded At London Gatwick? With the demise of our national flagship, Ghana Airways, thanks to massive mismanagement and corruption, Ghanaians have to resort to budget airlines to commute between Ghana and abroad. Yet in the wake of a startling revelation that some of these budget airlines have been barred from travelling to certain airports in Europe, Ghanaians especially students were yesterday subjected to yet another case of fraud and 'ganged robbery' as the aircraft carrier, Monarch Airlines issued letters that the Agents, Startrek Travel has gone bankrupt and that Monarch Airlines are owed some money.
Monarch Airlines issued a statement that their services from London Gatwick Airport have been withdrawn to Accra Kotoka Airport. In the ensuing surprise, Ghanaian travellers who could afford an additional £350 had to join another airline FlyJet that had been reported to be bankrupt even up until yesterday. Some of us who thought this as a raw deal from the Agents and Monarch Airlines resorted to sleep at Gatwick Airport to register our disapproval of the treatment meted to us. Besides, most student visitors who were returning to Ghana had either vacated their rented accommodation in the UK or were coming from areas outside London and for which they could not return. As the crowd kept discussing the problem, London Gatwick Police was brought in to hang around (and scare us away?).
As yours truly took photo shots of the situation, I was confronted by one of the Police Officers not to take further photographs however he stopped shot of seizing the shots. He attempted to invoke the UK Anti-Terrorism Act to support his orders.
Knowing the fate of other innocent people such as the Brazilian shot dead at the London Tube recently, I told him that I would not argue with him over that even though there are no visible signs or notices to say no photographs are allowed I would oblige for the sake of his uniform. I did point out to him that his invocation of the Anti-Terrorism Act and the use of photographs of stranded passengers to highlight our plight were not straight and misconstrued. About 5 minutes later, the entire Police team left us to have our naps on the bare floor of Gatwick Airport in front of Monarch Airlines stand. As I left with my young family this morning because my little girl was showing signs of illness from the cold whether, there were at least 15 visiting students from Ghana who were still banging on hope to return home.
Meanwhile, all calls to Startrek Offices in London has proved futile. Whiles I continue to pursue these CROOKS for my money, I will urge all Ghanaians not to patronise these budget airlines in order to banish waste and inefficiencies. Also, the government has TO evaluate critically the participation of private companies in such a sensitive area especially in our defunct Ghana Airways.


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