Stranded Ghanaians in Mauritius have appealed to the government to bring them into the country.
The group, numbering about 20, has been stranded in the island nation following the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the subsequent closure of Ghana’s borders.
Some of them who spoke to the Ghanaian Times on telephone yesterday complained about ill-health due to lack of food and called on the government to work with its counterpart in Mauritius to end their plight.
Some, however, have been imprisoned for working with their tourist visas and violating the regulations of COVID-19 lockdown.
John Kyei, a member of the group, in a telephone interview with Ghanaian Times confirmed the ordeal some of them were going through in the wake of COVID-19.
He said although most of them arrived in Mauritius with tourist visas, they were forced to extend their stay when Ghana’s borders were closed.
The extended stay which they did not make preparation for, he explained, had resulted in financial and accommodation challenges saying that “eating and sleeping in a fitting place now is by the benevolence of some locals whom we have made as friends.”
Those who took up jobs to enable their survival although the visa did not allow them have been thrown into prisons while some were currently ‘crippled’ with serious sicknesses.
“Our situation is very bad here. Food and accommodation are big challenges for us. Some of the guys are in prison now because they went out while the lockdown was being enforced and working with tourist visas,” Mr Kyei explained.
“We pleading with the government to come to our aid and we are ready to pay the costs involved and go through any mandatory quarantine we will be asked to do,” he added.
He said the group had secured support from organisations and friends in Ghana toward flight and all other expenses needed for their return.
The group, he stated, had also engaged Air Mauritius which had agreed to fly them to Ghana in their carriers on the France route.
Meanwhile, the Head of Communications of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Basiwa Dowuona-Hammond, told Ghanaian Times, the Ministry was working with Missions across the globe to evacuate all Ghanaians and persons with resident permit back to Ghana.
All the Missions, she said, were presently compiling data of all those who wish to return to the country and urged all interested persons and those facing challenges to contact the Missions through e-mail for assistance.
“The government has not abandoned those who wish to come back to Ghana. As part of the arrangements, the Missions are putting together the data of all those interested. The Ministry is doing it from one country to another and on June 17 those from the United Kingdom will be flown to the country. Others will also be followed in due course,” she added.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS