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Bishop Bonsu Wasn't Sent To Insult The Prez!   
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Minister of Communications, Dr. Omane Boamah
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Minister of Communications, Dr. Omane Boamah, says he believes remarks by the Most Rev Joseph Osei Bonsu that government must marry compassion with common sense in the decision to shelter ex-detainees released from a US military base in Cuba, were the renowned Man of God’s personal views and not that of the Ghana Catholic Bishop's Conference (GCBC). 

To him, GCBC President’s comments cannot be the line of thought of the august Christian body.

I’m not sure the Catholic Bishops Conference sent him to insult the President; I think it is his individual position,” he stressed.

On Tuesday, President John Dramani Mahama strongly defended government’s decision to allow two Yemenis freed from Guantanamo Bay stay in Ghana for some two years.

Answering questions from media practitioners at the annual “Flagstaff House Meet-The-Press” on why Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby were given a place in Ghana to cool off after being detained for 14 years in Gitmo, he explained that he is a man of compassion and so as part of his Christian duty, had to be empathetic towards the plight of the detainees.

"The Bible teaches us to be compassionate to people and accepting the detainees is just part of the compassion we have with people and people from other areas in the world."

He further stated that adequate due diligence was carried out to ensure that their arrival would not become inimical to the development agenda of the country and its citizens.

The “low-risk” ex-detainees, he added, had not engaged in any direct operational activities in the Afghanistan crisis and all security checks did not indict them of any criminal activity.

However, in a direct response to the president’s call on the Christian community to be compassionate towards the ex-detainees, Most Rev Bonsu asserted that inasmuch as he agrees with the president on the need to show compassion as Christians, it must be balanced with common sense.

He also indicated that if compassion mattered so much in issues of criminality, then Ghana's prisoners must be released.

But in an interview with Kaba, host of Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Wednesday, Dr Omane-Boamah, who expressed surprise at Bishop Bonsu's remarks, opined that his (Bishop’s) response to the president’s call does not reflect the position of the GCBC.

Shying away from directly responding to the Bishop’s comments, he said; “some have discussed this issue in the context of panic, fear and hysteria…Sometimes, what hurts the most is when people who can and should help to diffuse a situation rather inflame passion…I don’t want to give a direct response to it…"

The Communications Minister, who revealed he was a devout Catholic, preferred discussing the issue around the “four pillars of Compassion and Conscience, Conviction and Content.

He recalled Pope John Paul II forgave his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali and managed to secure his freedom from prison in 2000 after he shot him four times on Wednesday, 13 May 1981, in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican City.

That is one; Compassion and Conscience,” Dr Omane Boamah said.

He then turned his attention to Pope Francis’s book "The Name of God is Mercy", which is themed centrally on compassion to further buttress his submission.

This book epitomises why mercy is essential in faith in life. So as I listened to My Lord bishop, I was asking myself, if he should get the opportunity to go to Rome and have audience with the Pope, the Holy Father, and he’s asked about his responses, answers to this issue, can he boldly defend his words?” he rhetorically asked.

Portions of the book released on Tuesday reads: "The Church does not exist to condemn people but to bring about an encounter with the visceral love of God's mercy."

Security and why Ghana?

Dr. Omane Boamah reiterated that the security of Ghana is of maximum concern to the current administration thus President Mahama will never take any decision that will jeopardise the lives of Ghanaians nor the stability and peace of this country.

President Mahama will never take a decision that will endanger himself as president in the first place and Ghanaians in general. Because should anything untoward occur, who will be the first point of call? Remember the tragic June 3rd flood and fire disaster, throughout the night no one slept. Early the next day he (the president) was there….Let not anyone advance the argument that the president is happy bringing calamity on his people," he said.

Asked why the ex-detainees are not being sent back to their respective homelands if indeed they were found to be innocent of their accusations and assessed to be of low-risk threat, he replied; “we all condemned the setting up of the Guantanamo Bay military base…Ex-President Bush was not popular in Africa and other parts of the world because of this…and the use of enhanced and inhuman interrogation techniques including water-boarding on the detainees…conscience and compassion.

About 55 countries have taken it upon themselves to help in the re-integration of victims of unlawful detention at Guantanamo into society…if you want just goggle Yemen and you will come across some interesting notes about the government…someone who was incarcerated for 14 yrs when he was at the age of 21, and if he is released, you want him to be sent to an unstable region/country?...they will be here for just two years under national security surveillance and afterwards get on with their lives,” he added.
Source: Peacefmonline.com/Ghana

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