Ambassador visits Stockholm and meets with Ghanaians
She did not come specifically to meet the Ghanaian community in Stockholm. She came to present her credentials as our country’s representative to Sweden. But the new ambassador, Ms Edith Hazel, passade på to meet Ghanaians in Stockholm. It was a hurriedly planned meeting on a weekday but the few Ghanaians who made it to the meeting with the ambassador in her hotel in the city centre had a good exchange with her.
One has to go a few decades back in time for the last time a male ambassador represented our country. Ms Hazel is the fourth straight female embassy head sent by Ghana to Denmark. It seems this female power was not lost on the ambassador who expressed delight that there was at least one female among the Stockholm Ghanaians who met her.
The meeting took up the same old concerns about Ghanaians in Stockholm and their relationship with our embassy in Denmark. There was the wish of more frequent visits to us. The ambassador explained that the budget for travelling around the five countries to which the embassy is accredited was limited and controlled from Accra which explains why she cannot visit us more frequently. But she promised to find a more appropriate time to visit us and meet more of the Ghanaians here. There was the question of why our embassy was not in Sweden which was more centrally situated in the area of accreditation and contains many Ghanaians. The ambassador explained that the siting of embassies was dictated by factors other than centrality and historical and cultural ties may dictate where our few embassies are placed.
On the question of the possibility of issuance of biometric passports from our embassies, the ambassador explained that the machines were costly and could possibly not be provided at all our diplomatic stations. She said government has approved the provision of such machines at five embassies situated in countries with large concentrations of Ghanaians. Sweden is not one of such countries.
The Ghana Union President, Suberu Salam, was there and presented the ambassador with the problems that Ghanaians in Stockholm meet in their interactions with the embassy. Suberu felt that the reception with which the embassy staff meet Ghanaians who come in contact with it could be improved. He said the embassy staff needed to approach Ghanaians with more respect and attention. The ambassador talked about the difficulties they have with dealings with individual Ghanaians and the efforts they make to try to accommodate everyone – even those who are angry at one lapse or the other by the embassy or some issue on which the complainer is not fully aware of.
The Union President also complained about the inadequate nature of the embassy’s website. The embassy website was revamped a few years ago but that seems to be a one day wonder. Little has been done to the site since then. The news there is stale and the site is not regularly updated. As at this writing, you cannot find even the name of the ambassador on the site, much less those of the other officials.
The meeting ended on a cordial note. Pictures were taken with the ambassador who was accompanied on her visit by Desmond Agyemang-Baah, Head of Chancellery, at the embassy.
GUSS coresspondent, June 2nd, 2015, fotos: Suberu Salam