Chief blasts managers of Accra Conference Centre for poor ventilation
The Chief of Akosombo in the Eastern Region, Nana Ansah Prem, on Sunday led a “shame, shame, shame” chorus against managers of the Accra International Conference Centre for what he termed a disgraceful output.
The usually composed chief and several hundred others had just endured a sweltering evening in the main auditorium of the Conference Centre Sunday evening where they had turned up to grace the graduation ceremony for students of the EKGS Culinary Institute.
Apart from the 80 graduating students who had undergone training in cake making and decorating, balloon, ribbon and floral decor art, as well as cookery and pastry arts, family and friends had filled the auditorium to witness the occasion, however the overbearing heat had threatened to take the shine out of an impressive turnout.
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Everyone clutched at something to fan out the heat that had rendered the room so stuffy, and when Nana Ansah Prem, chairman for the occasion who had himself been using a copy of the programme to fan and provide some comfort for himself took the microphone for his closing remarks, he let go his displeasure at the manner of the reception managers of the international conference centre had doled out.
Management of Accra International Conference Centre have been a disgrace to Ghana and society, he said plaintively, saying part of the fees they charge clients for the use of the venue should go to provide some comfort for patrons.
He said it was shameful that “in an internationally acclaimed conference centre”, “everybody is fanning himself with something”, adding “if you know any of them managing this place, tell them shame, shame, shame”, to which the patrons responded “shaaaaame” and topped it up with long applause and shouts of support and approval for voicing their own frustrations.
Nana then proceeded to, on behalf of EKGS, apologise to the patrons for their longsuffering and for comporting themselves to see the programme through.
The graduation ceremony, the 40th in the series of bi-annual events, also marked the 20th anniversary of EKGS Culinary Institute, at whose beginnings, according to its Director, Mrs Efua Goode-Obeng Kyei, attracted only five students for its first ever graduation ceremony.
“Nana Chairman, when the Institute was first set up 20 years ago, culinary training was not in vogue, but the five students we began with, including Henrietta Barnes Danquah, Dorcas Mensah, Mawuena Tetteh and others were enthusiastic and that alone gave us the motivation to plod on”, she said.
She said from that humble beginning, EKGS has trained over 6,000 youth, some of who are working in leading hospitality companies in Ghana and abroad, while have established their training outfits to train others.
“The focus of our training here has always been to encourage our students to become enterpreneurs to reduce the problem of unemployment in the country.
“In that direction, I would call on the government to provide start-ups for such graduates who desire to establish their own outfits, so that the ripple effects could be felt all over the country”, she said.
Mrs Goode-Obeng Kyei said through hard work, perseverance and commitment to duty and service, EKGS has received many local and international recognition and awards.
She identified high cost of equipment used in the culinary sector, the proliferation of fake tools on the market and the use of sub-standard materials which subsequently lead to the flooding of the market with inferior products as the main challenges.
According to Mrs Goode-Obeng Kyei, equipping the youth with culinary skills could be a game changer as far as youth unemployment is concerned and called on government to “waive taxes on tools and equipment in the sector to make them affordable for even beginners, so that many graduates will not look for jobs but set up on their own to employ others.”
Youth Tourism Ambassador and Executive Director of the Tourism Society of Ghana, Joseph Amartey, said the culinary industry is one industry needing national attention to further the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
“This is because the industry can turn many young people to productive ventures and the taxes they will pay, along with other things, can fill the national kitty to be used for development.”
He challenged the graduands to ignore criticism that vocational training is for school dropouts, saying they made the right choice and with dedication to duty and the desire to be the best in all they do, “the sky will be the limit for you.”