Tourism Ministry working towards the passage of Homeland Return Bill-Deputy Minister

Accra, July 2, GNA – Mr Mark Okrahu-Mantey, the Deputy Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture, says the Ministry is working assiduously towards the passage of the Homeland Return Bill.

He said the bill, when passed, would allow diasporans to be fully integrated into the Ghanaian society to have permanent places of abode in the country, as well as the opportunity to enjoy all privileges of Ghanaians.

Mr Okraku-Mantey said this when the Hands Across Africa team from the Caribbean paid a courtesy call on him on Friday, in Accra.

The team is in the country for its maiden Musical Concert and Expo, dubbed “THEY OFTEN CRY OUTREACH (TOCO)”, scheduled for July 23, at the Accra Sports Stadium, on the theme, “Re-igniting the Spirit of Emancipation”.

It would be held in collaboration with the Ministry, Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Diaspora Affairs – Office of the President, Beyond the Return Secretariat (BRT) and Yoks Investment Ltd.

The call was to inform the Director about the arrival of the team in Ghana, their intended Concert and Expo and to discuss the seven pillars of the ‘Beyond the Return’ Initiative, specifically the “Give Back to Ghana” pillar.

Mr Okraku-Mantey expressed appreciation to the team for their philanthropic work and concert aimed at giving back to Ghanaian society and assured them of the Ministry’s readiness to support Concert and Expo to achieve its objectives and vision in Ghana

He noted that Ghanaians were ready to welcome diasporans into their communities because they want them to have that sense of belonging.

“Ghanaians recognize diasporans as part of them and will be delighted to collaborate with them as one people because we are all Africans.”

The Deputy Minister urged the Ghana Tourism Authority and the “Beyond the Return” Secretariat as well as the private sector to offer the necessary push to make the Musical Concert and Expo a success.

Mr Taj Weekes, the Founder and Executive Director, said the TOCO was conceptualized as a cross-continent initiative starting in Ghana and was aimed at establishing entertainment, youth and sports development programmes and support in providing funded international football scholarship programmes.

Mr Weekes, who is also the Goodwill Ambassador of St. Lucia, said the TOCO leverages its platform to help the youth to expand their network, and through this exposure, imagine new possibilities, which could create a shift in the trajectory of their lives.

He added that the team also focuses on cultural exchange and social intervention and programs to raise funds in supporting society to reduce socio-economic gaps related to needs such as Education, underprivileged children, young persons with disabilities and public health concerns, saying “proceeds from the upcoming Concert and Expo will go into charity.”

He confirmed that the charity initiative had provided 76 football scholarships to children in the Caribbean, and they were in Ghana to replicate the charitable work they have been doing there.

He said some International and local artistes, including Eric Donaldson, Mzvee, Brinsley Forde (ASWAD), Okyeame Kwame, Blakk Rasta, DSP Kofi Sarpong, Roc Riva and Taj Weekes will be performing at the event.