Ghana is not the 51st State of the United States – Sam George

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The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo-Prampram, Sam Nartey George, has reacted to a ‘threat’ by the government of the United States of America to the government of Ghana should the Promotion of Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill (anti-LGBT+ bill) be passed into law.

Speaking in an interview with Nigeria-based News Central TV on March 3, 2024, Sam George accused the US government of being hypocritical because it freely trades with Arab countries like Qatar, where the punishment for engaging in homosexual activities is death, but it is threatening Ghana which is proposing only a jail term for such activities.

The MP said that the US government cannot dictate to the people of Ghana and Africa for that matter because African countries are independent and have the liberty to enact laws to govern their people.

He pointed out that American companies are at liberty to stop doing business with Ghana if the anti-gay bill is passed into law as asserted by the US government.

“Ghana is not the 51st state of the United States. Tell the American people. You either do business with us on our terms, or you can walk.

“American businesses that operate in Ghana are not in Ghana because of LGBTQ. They’re in Ghana because they make a profit. If you think that because we are protecting our cultural values and saying no to LGBTQ, you want to lose $100 million in profit, pack up and go,” Sam George said.

He added, “Africa must begin to assert our rights. We are not puppets and stooges of the West. And it’s just the sheer hypocrisy of America and the West. Qatar buys a billion dollars of military hardware every year from America. The punishment for homosexuality in Qatar is death… the maximum in Ghana’s law is just three years.”

About the passage of the anti-gay bill:

The Parliament of Ghana, on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, passed the Promotion of Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, widely known as the Anti-LGBT+ Bill.

The bill, currently awaiting presidential assent, proscribes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) activities and criminalizes their promotion, advocacy, and funding.

Persons caught in these acts will be subjected to a six-month to three-year jail term, with promoters and sponsors facing a three to five-year jail term.

The bill will now require presidential assent to come into force within 7 days.

However, if President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo refuses to assent to the bill, parliament, by a two-third majority vote, can approve it into law.

What the US government has said:

The Government of the United States of America (USA) threatened that there would be serious consequences if President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo assentwo-thirdsomotion of Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill into law.

Speaking in a video from a press conference shared by GraphicOnline on X, on March 1, 2024, the spokesperson of the United States State Department, Matthew Miller, indicated that the US administration is in discussion with the Government of Ghana on the bill to ensure that it is not passed into law.

Matthew Miller, who made these remarks while answering a question on the bill, which was recently passed by Ghana’s Parliament, indicated that the West African country may suffer sanctions similar to that of Uganda, which passed an anti-gay law in 2023.

The journalist asked: “Could I take you to Africa… Ghana I know there’s a statement that you issued last night on the anti- LGBTQ bill, just to follow up on that. My understanding is that the President, Akufo-Addo, hasn’t signed it yet. Are there talks with Ghana trying to stop this from becoming law? And if it comes to fruition, is there a sense of what the repercussions if any could be in the US?”

The State Department spokesperson replied: “So we have made very clear what our opinion is on that law if you look at my statement yesterday and we have made that clear in private conversations with the Government of Ghana as well”.

“I don’t think I should get any more specific than that. But if this bill becomes law, it would certainly have a chilling effect on foreign investment and tourism in Ghana.”

He added, “You’ve seen that same chilling effect bear fruit in Uganda, which passed a very similar law in the past. And I can say that should the bill pass, it would potentially have ramifications on US assistance in the country”.

The US government supports Ghana with aid in various areas including agriculture, malaria prevention, HIV/AIDS control and prevention as well as military assistance.

In 2022, reports indicate that US assistance to Ghana amounted to $211 million.

In a post shared on X on February 28, 2024, Matthew Miller said that Ghana’s anti-bill violates the rights of the people of Ghana.

He also said that the bill also violates Ghana’s international reputation and its economic agreements.

Watch Sam George’s remarks in the video below:

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