Saturday December20, 2008.

Excerpts from Dr. Charles Quist-Adade, GCABC President’s Speech at the Annual End-of-Year and Christmas Party Held at the Scandinavian Community Centre, Burnaby, B.C. on December 20, 2008


Good evening, fellow Ghanaians, compatriots, friends,

Thank you all so very kindly for traveling from far and near to come here tonight to grace our Annual Yuletide and End-of-Year Dinner. We cherish your graceful and prominent presence.

Akwaba, We zo, Nango de, Nye hee, Welcome! In the spirit of the season, I say goodwill and peace be onto you, your families, and dear ones. After 365 days of hard labor, sweat, and toil, we indeed deserve a get-together as this one to unwind, exhale, and relax and to savor the company of family and friends.

Christmas, like Hanukkah, Kwanza, Odwira, Homowo, Hogbetsotso and other such celebrations, is a season of rebirth and renewal. It stands on the threshold between the dying and the New Year. It is a time for stocktaking, and introspective reflection and the making of new resolutions.

In the wisdom of the proverbial sankofa bird which looks back as it walks forward, the holiday season offers us an opportunity to look back at what we have achieved, and to appreciate our good fortune. The holiday season is a time for family and friends, as it provides an opportunity for us to catch our breaths. And this is precisely what we are here to do tonight.

Tonight, we are going to try to be short in speeches, but long on our feet, digging it, shaking what our mammas gave us. So my friends, get your dancing shoes and partners ready. Our incomparable, inimitable DJ, our one and only one Mr. Alec Lartey is poised to treat you to a rollicking session of sensuous, hot and spicy African and world music. Be ready to dance your last dance of 2008! Remember that as we say in Ghana, “asa bone nkum asase” that’s even the worst dance does not destroy the dancing floor! So, don’t mind what others may say, get ready to dance the dying year away and welcome the brand new year!

But before that, allow me to give you a brief account of the stewardship of our association by the current executives during our first year of our term. Please, my fellow executives stand up to be acknowledged: Mr. Joseph Frimpong, VP, Ms. Patience Okantey, Secretary, Mrs. Mary Stacey, Assistant Secretary, Mrs. Judith Lartey, our money woman-Treasurer, Mrs. Augusta Odoom, Assistant Treasurer, Mr. Kweku Gaisie, Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Gifty Frimpong, Women’s Coordinator, Ms. Akosua Asumadu, Youth Coordinator, and Mr. George Twumasi, Organizing Secretary.

Exactly a year ago, you gave us the mandate to run the affairs of the GCABC. Today, I am glad to report that our association is well and vibrant; its future, promising. His Excellencies, Dr. Bert Alsopp and Mr. George Piprah, former and current Honorary Consul Generals of the Republic of Ghana in BC, Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to give you a brief synopsis of what we have accomplished together with you since we took the realms of administration almost year ago.

We have created a scholarship fund for our youth. Currently we have raised more than $1,500. Our short term goal is to reach $5,000 by the July next year and give out the first scholarships during our Ghana Fest celebrations in August 2009. We organized one of the most successful cultural events in recent years—Ghana Fest08— in August this year. It well attended it became the talk of the town the whole of the summer!

We won grants from BC government and Western Union. Parts of these grants were used to organize the Ghana Fest and part was put in the Youth Scholarship Fund. Please, join me in thanking BC Healthy Communities and Western Union for their generosity.

We revised our constitution. Please, join me in thanking the constitution drafting committee members for their superb job and sacrifice. Please, stand up to be acknowledged if you are here: Mrs. Theresa Ohene Asante, Messrs Kwenu Turkson, Godfrey Lovelace-Dodoo, Mr. Kwadwo Frempong, and Mrs. Gifty Frimpong. We are grateful to you, respected compatriots!

We also organized a very successful family picnic in the summer. The picnic was not only well attended, it was real fun as members engaged in a series of games and even participated in ludu, spar, ampe and dancing competitions! We are particularly beholden to Dr. Clement Apaak for providing music to entertain us. Chief, we are grateful to you!

We also organized a very successful family picnic in the summer. The picnic was not only well attended, it was real fun as members engaged in a series of games and even participated in ludu, spar, ampe and dancing competitions! We are particularly beholden to Dr. Clement Apaak for providing music to entertain us. Chief, we are grateful to you!

We jointly organized with Kwantlen Polytechnic University this year’s African Heritage/Black History Month Confab in February. We sponsored the African Youth Symposium organized by Mr. Bernard Piprah and his colleagues. We continued with tradition, by organizing the 51st Independence Anniversary of our Motherland.

Thanks to a colleague of mine at Kwantlen, we got our website “sexed” up and made more user-friendly. Dr. Xing Liu gave our website as a project to his computer science students to work on during the spring semester. And by Jove! They did a great job! Dr. Liu, we are grateful to you. At the appropriate time we will honour your students, particularly Mrs. Farhana Asif, who has volunteered to be our “webmistress.”

We rallied the community to participate in several events organized by individual members and gave presents to paid-up members on the occasions of their anniversaries. We also assisted in organizing, sadly enough, the funeral services of the late Mr. Mike Antwi here in Surrey and in Ghana. The Association purchased a wreath and wrote an eulogy which were presented at the funeral services in Ghana.

Thanks to our organizing secretary and treasurer we were able to increase the number of paid-up members substantially. And thanks to your patronage of our events, we were able to improve the financial health of the GCABC. We have collaborated with the KBNF on several projects including a very successful benefit table tennis tournament held at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Our association donated cash and in-kind services to this fundraiser event. Many of the executives and association members helped with the organization of the tournament.

Future Plans
Briefly, here are our future plans:
In the New Year we will register a charity wing of the association to raise funds specifically for our youth scholarship project. We intend to adopt a village school in Ghana. We also plan to apply for federal and provincial grants to set up a Ghanaian languages program for our youth. We hope to work with other African and Black organizations in lower mainland especially the newly formed United African Communities of BC to build African Cultural Centre, a centre we call our own!

Last, but certainly not the least, we will launch what we call “Our Contribution to our Children’s Future Appeal” to solicit financial contributions from our members to our Youth Scholarship Fund. Letters will be addressed to you in the New Year. Be part of history! Stand up and be counted! We hope we count on your enthusiastic support.

At this juncture, I would like to make a passionate plea to all members to pay their membership dues. Let it be your New Year resolution to assist our association by paying and renewing your membership fees from now and beyond! Charity begins at home and a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, so they say. We can begin our journey by paying our membership dues today. If we do pay our dues—$40 per family per year— we could afford to assist ourselves, our families, and fellow members in several ways.

We must adopt the Convention People’s Party’s mantra: “Work and Happiness” by combining partying and merry-making with active fundraising. It is crucial that we invest in projects for the benefit of members, especially our youth and seniors and we can do this by paying our dues regularly and promptly. Talking about the Convention People’s Party, I ask all of you to pray for a violence-free run-off of the presidential elections in Ghana a week from tomorrow. Let’s pray also for Africa and for President-elect Barack Obama. This is our chance. We must succeed!

And talking about assisting others, one of our members, Dr. Kwawu Agbemenu, has been helping our country by sending books to several institutions of higher learning. His latest project involved shipping several boxes of books to the University of Ghana. Unfortunately, he incurred a huge freight cost and is therefore appealing for our support to pay up. We have set up table for your donations and pledges. No amount is too small or too large. Let’s help!

My six-year old daughter, Malaika, told me a couple days ago that Santa Claus is a fake and that Christmas is not about Santa, but hope, peace hope! So I will like to conclude by echoing Malaika’s message: I wish you and your families love, peace and hope! Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year to you all! Afihya pa!
Enjoy the evening!
Thank you.

 

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