Minutes of the GUSS General Meeting
Sunday October 26th, 2003 at Rinkeby Folketshus
Kofi Sapathy, Francis Boamah, George Adu-Boahene, Say Akolor, Baba Ibrahim-Nabigah, Suberu jnr. Jerry Tettey, Enoch Ablorh, Nurudeen Allotey, George Opoku, Gabrielle Nilsson Opoku, Abena Nyarko, Emmanuel Osei-Poku,
The following sent excuses for their absence: Anthony Turkson, Diana Ablorh, Hilla Agbo.
1. Report and discussion of anniversary celebrations
2. Programmes for rest of year
3. Membership recruitment
4. Other matters.
One of the most well attended general meetings for a long time was opened at 1427 hours with some new faces.
The secretary read minutes of previous meeting. Enoch moved for minutes to be accepted. Jerry seconded. There was a discussion about if we should have a special agendum: matters arising out of the minutes or if such matters should be taken up during the course of the meeting and under other matters. Secretary promised to make it a special agendum.
George Opoku inquired if we had special times when our meetings started and ended. The President explained that we had a fixed time between 2 and 6 but this was extremely flexible since we always come late. A discussion was started about the perennial problem of we Africans coming to occasions late. A few suggestions to improving the situation were made but none was found workable.
2. Anniversary celebration.
The President said the celebrations were a huge success but there was room for improvement. Say gave a report of the gate proceeds. Entry tickets were sold for 8300 kr and food tickets for 4170 kr making a total of 12400. Out of this, The Black Rhinos was paid 6000kr, Ahmadou Jah 3000, and Kristina and co 2000kr leaving 1470 kr. The president commended the gate keepers for a job well done. George Adu-Boahene pointed out that gate-keeping was a very difficult job. Nuuruh said their work at the gate was made more difficult by the fact that they had no prior knowledge of the officials who were to be admitted free. Moreover, no entry fee was specified on the advertisement. Baba suggested that in the future officials like band members should be given tickets in block. He also said the live band music was not satisfactory. There was general agreement on this. Kofi pointed out that the matter of a live band was not adequately discussed at the union meeting but he was met by protests from Enoch and the president who said the matter was discussed at two meetings, at least, and agreed on. It was the general view that the idea of a live band was, in principle, good but it would be difficult and very costly to get a live band that could play to our satisfaction.
Say wanted to know if any losses were made. Osei-Poku pointed out that the entire accounts of the celebration should have been presented by the treasurer. Say said this was not possible because the various people involved could not get the time to meet and collate all the accounts. The president said the treasurer had records of all the expenditures and receipts.
Say suggested that in future a place should be provided for people with small children who needed to rest in the late night and that a mother could be around to take care of such children.
There was a long discussion again about punctuality. Some of the issues raised in the discussion included the following:
- The president was missing when it was time for the function to start with the pouring of libation. He was sitting among the crowd waiting to be summoned
- Nuuruh suggested that in case of lateness we could jump over some of the items on the advertised programme. Kofi suggested a cut down in the time each item was allotted. George Adu-Boahene didn’t think we could jump over items
- someone suggested that we could start the programme even if there were only two people present at the advertised time. Baba said that was impractical since the festival was meant for people and could not be started without them.
- Say said we shouldn’t put any time on the programme at all, then there will be nothing like getting behind time
- Jerry felt a division of the work to be done would help speed things up and save time
- Baba said we should start functions as early as possible and reshuffle the programme along the way
- George Poku said we must be conscious of time and make time work.
- Kofi said we shouldn’t underestimate the power of the phenomenon of African time and felt that appeals to our sense of punctuality wouldn’t work because we were Africans and such appeals didn’t work in the past and won’t work in the future either.
- Mrs Poku said we should write out the time the music at a party would start
George Adu-Boahene, the organising secretary, extended special thanks to all who stayed behind and helped in the cleaning up after the party. He said the president did well even though, at times, he upset people by the way he talked to them. He added that for him, this was no problem, anyway.
Say wondered if we received any letter of congratulations from the ambassador in Copenhagen. This brought up a discussion of how the present ambassador has ignored us since he assumed duty. Osei suggested that the executive discuss the issue and write a letter to him. Baba felt the entire issue of the present ambassador’s relationship with the Ghanaian community in Sweden was at issue. Say said a motion should be raised to write a letter of enquiry to the embassy. The meeting agreed on this and unanimously voted in favour of the following motion: that the executive of the Ghana Union in Stor Stockholm write a letter to the Ghana Embassy in Kopenhamn enquiring 1. why the new ambassador has not deemed it fit to meet the Ghanaians in Sweden since his resumption of duty and 2. why the ambassador did not send a representative to attend our 20th anniversary celebration. The motion was submitted by Say and seconded by Nuuruh.
3. Programme for the rest of the year
The issue here was if we should have an ‘Xmas party and if so, how big and whether it should be free. George Adu-Boahene talked against any co-organisation with the FA because of the problems involved. The president said the union’s coffers were not that good. Suberu Jr. felt the X’mas party was special and must be held. Other problems discussed included getting the women to cook. The President said when he informed the women about cooking he felt they didn’t like it. Someone said it might have been due to how he informed them. The issue of the ‘Xmas party was put to the vote with the following outcome
- Small party: 3
- No party: 0
- big party: 2
- 4 abstained from voting
Jerry suggested that food preparation be contracted out to members who would do it on a commercial basis. Baba felt contracting of food was a delicate issue and wondered if we could contract food forever. He added that if we are tactful with the women, they would cook and that they always complained but did come around to do the cooking when the time came. Suberu jnr said the problem with the women was complicated by the fact that they are normally not around when the issue is being discussed. He felt we should improve the manner in which we communicate with them. George Adu-Boahene agreed on this and stressed the need to choose the correct language in talking to each other. Baba said the president should cool down when talking to people and Osei reminded the president that he should be the last person to lose his temper.
The president distributed a paper to members to give out to others in a recruitment drive for the union. He said we needed at least 40 registered members 18 years and above and living in Stockholm to qualify for funds. He mentioned the 18 stadsdel that went in the Stockholm area. He said there were now many Ghanaians in the Stockholm area and we need to get them registered even if they didn’t attend meetings regularly. He asked for suggestions as to how best to attract the new arrivals. George said we should make provision for the youth to pay less in membership dues. Say said the constitution didn’t provide for that.
Dialogue with ABF:
The president informed the meeting of the meeting he and two other members had with the ABF representative in Syd. He informed the meeting of the possibilities available to the union through the ABF: study circles, seminars, lectures, etc. He said Turkson was in the process of organising one such study circle in computers. It was still at the planning stage.
Books from Annete Liljefors:
The president collected some books from Anette Liljefors belonging to her late husband, Bedu Annan. He informed members to come and see the books and use them.
A place for the Union:
This matter was still pending. The president said we would find out more about the issue.
The legal implications of his resignation were discussed again since he was our auditor and a signatory to union accounts. Enoch pointed out that the union had not accepted the resignations and as such, they were legally still members of the union. He said we should give them more time. Baba wondered if there had been any occasion where his signature was needed. Kofi felt Suberu was holding the union to ransom since he was not exactly out of or fully in the union. But the meeting felt Suberu’s behaviour was no problem to the union especially since he has never failed to support the union even during his so-called resignation.
December 6th was tentatively fixed for the union elections which would also serve as the end of year meeting.
Kofi relayed a message from Suberu informing the meeting that Afris was having a remembrance day for all Africans who died of AIDS in this country. The occasion, which also marks 10 years of the formation of AFRIS, would take place on Saturday 9th November at Rinkeby Folkets Hus. All members were invited.
At 1724 hrs, the gathering had nothing more to discuss and Baba moved that the meeting be adjourned. He was readily seconded by Suberu jnr and the most well attended meeting of the year was brought to an end.
Vice Secretary President
Minutes taken down by Kofi Sapathy
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