LGBTQ Bill: Investigate Visa Denial claims, Panelists- FOCUS

Andy Appiah Kubi, MP for Asante Akyem North

By Eugenia Asumadu Sakyi

The MP for Asante Akyem North, Andy Appiah Kubi says the Protocol Department of Parliament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration must investigate claims that some Parliamentarians including the Tamale North MP, Alhassan Suhuyini were denied visa by the Netherlands Embassy for their support for the passage of the Anti-LGBT Bill.

However, Lawyer Appaiah –Kubi cautioned against generalization of these pockets of cases, since he has been a promoter of the Bill before his recent travel to Bahamas and did not suffer any visa denial by the UK. He spoke on GBC’s Current Affairs Programme, FOCUS.

‘’I don’t know the circumstances under which my colleague was denied the visa and I’m not sure, the reason given was that he is reporting LGBQ.

Members of Parliament travelling to European countries and not returning, that has changed. I haven’t seen any Member who has absconded from it since the inception of the Parliament in 1992 and I haven’t heard of any that happened before 1992. I don’t know where the fears are coming from, if they needed more information before taking the decision they should have called for that but to have denied him visa and come that we could have done something better, pre-supposes that they didn’t prepare well in the communication of the Honorable Member of Parliament. Nevertheless, I am not privileged to hear that they’re saying he didn’t qualify for one or two reasons and I think that it’s something that our Diplomatic Department will have to take out and our Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have to also have to speak on that. Personally, I also travelled not too long ago. I took a visa from the US Embassy and I didn’t encounter any such difficulty but I’m very sure that they are aware that I’m also very much involved in the induction of the Bill and I support it wholeheartedly. So If they didn’t do it to me, I don’t know why they should do it to another person. I don’t also discount the possibility of them having taken this decision now’’, he said.

For his part, the Former Country Director of Amnesty International Ghana, Robert Akoto Amoafo said there could be other reasons for the refusal, therefore people must not draw conclusions or link it to the LGBTQI Bill. He also called for further investigations.

“I have seen the tweet that Honorable Sam George has responded to the Diplomat and it shows that a lot of people are linking it, we shouldn’t make speculations and say that it’s linked to that. Of course it could be that this is an Embassy, they are Diplomats, they have their own reasons to refuse visas and they could state it like you said. I also haven’t seen an official letter from the Embassy saying this is our reason so we could not speculate. At the end of the day, my point is, it can’t be just linked to that. And even if it could be linked to that it is wrong because there are so many things going on and this is not the only thing that we could generalize and just link it to. I have also not received any clear information that this is the reason why Eddy was refused and I’m worried that we’re still linking this to LGBT when there could be other means for the refusal. So let’s all wait, let’s look at what the issues are. Could it be that it is even employed by the Member of Parliament, to just put in place and say look at the Diplomatic Missions, look at what they are doing to make us look bad. That could also be that somebody can also speculate and I think that for us not to speculate, let’s give time, let’s get the details, let’s let the Foreign Affairs go through the processes and check and make sure that we’re all talking about the right thing’’, he noted.

A Local Governance Analyst, Bernard OduroTakyi, who was of the conviction that the refusal was linked to the Bill, said this can affect diplomatic ties between the two countries. He called for the review of visa applications by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The argument must be properly situated because when he was filling his application the two of us were not there. As to the content, we hardly know because there could be certain blunders committed not through him but through maybe someone who did the application for him. And don’t forget that most people for the benefit of time he’s an Honorable Member of Parliament, he might not have the laxity of time to go through this dribbling of filling this forms so it could even be an error committed but if and I’m choosing my words advisably the refusal of the denial of visa is tied to this LGBTQ thing then they got it wrong for me it will not be nice moving forward and for me nobody can convince me that this refusal is not tied to this LGBTQ thing’’, according to the “FOCUS” Panelist.

Watch the full interview below;

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