Who bears cost of evacuating Ghanaians? - Immigration consultant asks

Kutor Pic Immigration consultant, Wonder Victor Kutor

Wed, 6 May 2020 Source: Kofi Ehuron, Contributor

An Immigration Consultant, Mr Wonder Victor Kutor has questioned the basis for evacuating Ghanaians who are stranded abroad due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

He said those making the call should be in a position to tell who will bear the cost for such evacuations.

According to him, the state does not have any legal obligations to evacuate the stranded Ghanaians but at the same time can for the sake of morality consider the evacuation.

His question comes on the heels of renewed calls by a section of the public who are making the call for the evacuation of Ghanaian nationals who are stranded abroad in view of the extension of the closure of Ghana’s boarders to the ending of this month as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking on the ‘Pulse Show’ on Joynews television yesterday, Mr Kutor indicated the need for knowing whether the stranded individuals are to pay for the cost of evacuation or the state that should incur the cost.

“For the students in China we can look at the dynamics but for any other Ghanaian who is outside what essentially took them outside for which the taxpayer should bear the cost of their evacuation ?”, he asked.

Making references to both the United Kingdom and United States governments who evacuated their nationals from China, he said it was at a cost for the evacuees.

“In Ghana for example, the United Kingdom government on March 29, this year evacuated their nationals from the country at a cost of £500 each, whiles in the case of the United States, all the evacuees were made to sign a promissory note which was a document that binds them to pay the cost of the evacuation back to the US government at a later time,” he stressed.

Pulling out a letter on the show to further buttress his argument, Mr. Kutor said the Nigerian government wrote a letter to its nationals in Canada stating that they would bear the cost of evacuation if they have to be evacuated.

Countries that evacuated their nationals successfully in 2019, according to him was largely due to the fact that the disease had not travelled out of Wuhan province where it first broke out.

The World Health Organization (WHO) he further noted, had not declared Coronavirus a pandemic, making the evacuation less of a challenge for governments of countries who were in no way feeling any economic impact of the Coronavirus.

At that time, the Pakistani government nevertheless refused to evacuate its nationals on the grounds that it did not have the domestic facilities to host them, a decision he explained absorbed the government of Pakistan of any legal obligation explains towards their nationals.

In all of these cost bearing debate however, the government according to him is bound to open and admit into the country any Ghanaian who makes it to the borders of the country, failure to do so will amount to a violation of section 12 (4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right of these Ghanaians.

The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa who was hosted earlier in the morning on the same network, reiterated the point for evacuating Ghanaian students in China before the closing of the borders.

His explanation was that the evacuation would have followed the laid down protocols which would have been testing them for the virus before their departure from China and upon arrival, quarantine them for not less than 14 days to be sure of their status.

Mr Ablakwa who is the Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament, stressed that all the countries who evacuated their nationals did so in line with the laid down evacuation protocols.

Source: Kofi Ehuron, Contributor
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