Minutes of the GUSS General Meeting
Sunday June 1st, 2003 at Rinkeby Folketshus
Kofi Sapathy, Francis Boamah, Grace Mahama, Say Akolor, Neequaye, Kasim Abdul-Kadiri, Anthony Turkson, Jerry Tettey, George Adu-Boahene, Baba Ibrahim-Nabigah, Hilla Agbo, Barbro Turkson.
1. President’s opening words
2. Reading and approval of last minutes
3. Matters arising out of the last minutes
5. Proposed constitution
6. Other Matters
1. President’s Opening words
The president declared the meeting open at 1505 hours.
2. Reading and approval of last minutes
The secretary read the minutes of the previous meeting to the rapt attention of members most of whom had obviously not read the minutes sent ahead with the invitation to the day’s meeting.
The president called for amendments, additions or omissions. There were none coming from the floor leaving the way for the president to point out three things he thought were either omitted or incorrectly recorded:
a. the Gate proceeds committee for the 20th anniversary/women’s day was to include Nii Allotey and not just Say as reported in the minutes,
b. the meeting with the Friendship Association was one between the two executives and not the president alone meeting the FA as recorded in the minutes,
c. payments made to the Val2002 project were made without the knowledge of the GU executive. The entry in the minutes didn’t indicate this.
Turkson wondered if the ansvarsfrihet that was demanded by the old executive was granted since there was nothing in the minutes indicating that. After a brief discussion, it was agreed that such was, indeed, the case since the raising of the motion to that effect and the secondment thereof by a member implied acceptance.
In the absence of further corrections, the president called for someone to move for the acceptance of the minutes subject to the corrections pointed out. Grace made the move and she was seconded by Baba. The minutes were thus approved as the true record of events at the previous meeting and accepted as the property of the union.
3. Matters Arising Out of the Previous Minutes.
Grace pointed out that the auditor’s report should have been what absolved an outgoing executive of any financial hangovers from their tenure of office. Hilla was of the opinion that receipts were very important in financial dealings.
George gave a report of the preparations being made for the proposed picnic to be held jointly by the union and Friendship Association at Fitja Strand on June 14. Baba expressed concern about the venue pointing out that the place would not be exclusive to the Ghanaians since there would be so many others there barbecuing at the same time. Say pointed out that the sale of strong alcohol was not allowed at public places without a prior permission from the authorities. Turkson also warned about the risks in selling alcohol and said we should be careful. Baba also talked about the attendance of many free riders who were not members of the union. Kassim said we could use the occasion to educate the free riders to join the union. The president said the issue of free riders was discussed with the FA executive and they agreed to convince them to join any of the organisations. He added that he had written letters of invitation to some of them to join the union without any success and appealed to members to help him in the individual recruitment effort. Kassim suggested that we could organise a cultural competition between the two unions to make them more appealing. Baba cited bad reputation and financial difficulties as the major reasons behind apathy to the unions. Jerry suggested that we could print out advertisements for joining the union to be distributed at the picnic to the floating members. Say suggested that we could create a coordination committee to help and advise new arrivals. The president said something to that effect was actually in existence but it was not GU’s official policy. Jerry cited a similar thing that he knew of in Austria. Baba said we should concentrate on the Ghanaians who are already in this country. George gave an example of some of the difficulties involved in setting out to help new arrivals and how such a facility could easily be abused. He cited his own experience in such things. The president said there was the need to discuss the issue further and the meeting moved on to the next agendum.
5. Proposed constitution.
The president expressed the hope that a decision could be taken at this meeting on this oft-postponed issue. His hopes, however, remained unfulfilled. Nobody had a copy of the draft constitution at the meeting and not even a citation of the major highlights of the draft by both the president and Say could save the day. The president and Say were not even agreed on what the major highlights were. Some of the highlights included the two year tenure of office, a limit to the years of holding an office and the youth wing. These were generously commented on. But the issue of approving the draft constitution could not be taken up and the matter was postponed again to the next meeting when we could bring along the draft constitution.
6. Other Matters
The president read out a letter from the Agbos thanking the union for its concern and help on the occasion of the passing away of the fathers of both of them.
Grace then gave a report of the efforts of the committee sent by the executive to contact Suberu and Ladi. The delegation could not find a suitable time to meet them. But they had learnt that Suberu was either unwilling or unprepared to meet them. It was pointed out that Suberu took part in other activities of the union like the Agoromma practice. Grace said Suberu had said that he was always available to help the union in any way short of his being a member. The president pointed out the practical difficulties of their acting on behalf of the union like signing things and representing the union on other bodies without their being formal members of the union. Baba suggested that we should write them asking for a clarification of their positions. Say said the secretary’s job was vacant but nobody minded him. It was agreed that the executive and members write separately to Suberu and Ladi rejecting their resignations and waiting until after the summer recess to make a decision.
The matter of the Val2002 project was then taken up and the president informed the meeting that the issue had been resolved and all outstanding payments made. Jerry wondered if the receipts had been scrutinised before the payments but the president said he thought the report was more important. Jerry felt it was not right to pay the rest of the money without going through the receipts. Say supported him on this issue but pointed out that there was no time to go through the receipts. Kofi said it was a compromise solution that was arrived at. Jerry felt that the proper thing to do was to have gone through the receipts and a letter sent to the project leaders telling them that the union was satisfied with the accounts. Neequaye felt that it was necessary to have asked the project leaders to explain things. Someone asked if the receipts were available for scrutiny by members and the president said the receipts were the property of the union and available to any member who wanted to look at them. Say said we were acting as typical Ghanaians who got suspicious once somebody asked to take a closer look at our accounts. The president said the union was mostly kept in the dark about the activities of the project. Baba advised that we should learn to conduct our affairs in a more formal way. There was a long discussion of the issue with several contributions from all members present. It was the general opinion that the execution of the project and the involvement of the GU left a lot to be desired. The atmosphere was one of sadness, disappointment and regrets from members over how the entire issue was handled. It was the view that we should learn from the mistakes and that any such project in the future should be more properly mapped out and duties clearly designated.
With nothing further to discuss, the president asked for someone to raise a motion for the meeting to be adjourned. Say moved, Jerry seconded and the meeting came to a close at 1745 hrs CET.
Tea and coffee were served during the interval. Everybody commended Grace on her choice of bread and Kofi took the cover of the bread home so he could buy the same kind of bread.
Vice Secretary President
Minutes taken down by Kofi Sapathy
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