The importance of time consciousness was brought to the fore when more than 100 people who turned up late to witness the 20th edition of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) awards ceremony on Saturday night, were denied entrance to the Banquet Hall.
The stranded personalities included the chairperson of the Awards Committee, Ms Roberta Gardner, the former Greater Accra Regional Police Public Relations Officer (PRD), DSP Freeman Tettey, and former boss of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Mr. Sylvester Mensah.
Others, who were barred from entering the hall, were award winners — Rebecca Awuah from GBC Television, Kwettey Nartey of Joy FM — journalists who were assigned to cover the event, as well as families and friends of award winners.
They were prevented from entering the auditorium because, according to protocol, after the President, the Special Guest of Honour, had taken his seat, nobody should be allowed to enter the hall.
The President arrived a few minutes after 8 p.m. and after entering the hall, the door was shut on any person who reported afterwards.
The security personnel stood their ground at the entrance, and refused to compromise Not even pleas from the president of the GJA, Mr. Affail Monney, his Vice Mathias Tibu and other executives of the association, would make them allow the dignitaries access to the hall.
A security at the gate retorted, “Once the President is in there, none of you is entering. That is the instruction from our head of security, and it is only he who can change it”.
Another stated: “You were given 6:30 p.m., and do you expect the President to come and wait for you?” he asked.
It was quite a scene when ladies in high-heeled shoes removed them and walked about bare footed, while others sat infront of the fountain at the entrance to the hall. Those who could not bear the situation had to leave for home.
Some of the stranded award winners, stood helpless as their awards were announced, compelling friends and colleagues to collect their prizes on their behalf.
The situation was not limited to the late comers, as those who were already inside the auditorium and wanted to attend to issues outside, were either denied access or asked not to return.
Some of the stranded guests who spoke to this reporter, who was also among the late-comers, expressed their regret about the development, saying the day was meant to celebrate journalists and not the presidency.
From Dzifa Emma Tetteh, Tema