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The Black Star Line Cooperative Credit Union was partially founded by Repatriates who recognized the need for an economic platform to address some of the needs of that unique community. Many of these were pioneers
Who came with a passion and a love for the Mother Land and not much else?
They had to go through the process of adjusting and assimilating into a society that in spite of the love and the passion was foreign to them. Their experiences have helped and are helping to form the basis of the role that BSLCCU must play in the repatriation of African Peoples. Additionally, the credit union is founded on the principle of Pan-Africanism, with a large percentage of its membership residing in the Diaspora. By implication, and in fact, BSLCCU is seen, and should be seen as having a role to play in the repatriation process.
There are three distinct areas where BSLCCU is already playing a role or have the potential to play a role; they are Economics, Service and Advocacy.
The Black Star Line Cooperation as a financial institution offers its overseas membership a depository, in Africa! For the accumulating of funds that can be used for purchasing land, homes or for the establishment of a business.
The credit union provide to a would be repatriate the options of a savings account, shares from which they can earn dividends and the BSL Investment Plan which offer an annual 20% guaranteed return on their investment. A Repatriate who invests wisely is now in a position to not only start out on solid ground, but is in a position where their investment(s) is still yielding an income that can help to offset their living expenses.
Additionally, BSLCCU has in its mid-range to long term plans, the establishment of a Subsidiary for Land Acquisition & Development, where it propose to purchase land, develop residential settlements and then sell, rent or lease these to its members, including repatriates. In addition, shareholders will also be able to derive benefits from investing in such a program.
For many of our members and potential members, BSLCCU is the first and only direct point of contact in Africa. All of our leadership team are either repatriates or Ghanaians who are advocates of repatriation and Pan-Africanism, collectively they already know the landscape, the needs, the concerns and perhaps most importantly, the processes that is involved.
As a result, the credit union can for example, help in obtaining Invitation Letters, identifying potential employment or business opportunities, depending on the interest and vocation of the individual in question. A Repatriate might be ready, right now, to purchase land or house in Ghana.
Here again, the credit union has a potential role to play in terms of acting as an agent/consultant for the purchaser, who has no familiarity with the process. BSLCCU has the capacity to identify, evaluate, negotiate and complete the purchase of a suitable property for the client, in exchange for a reasonable fee. A returnee might want to visit first and would be in need of temporary housing, transportation and so on, again, the credit union can play a role in this regard.
Many of the pioneering Repatriates are now elders in their 60,s 70,s and up.
In the past, even if in a small way, BSLCCU has offered assistance in the case of illnesses or as contribution to funeral expenses. As BSLCCU grow, our role in this area will undoubtedly expand.
Repatriates to Ghana are often misunderstood, profiled and in some cases, prejudged, making the rights to citizenship more difficult and expensive than it should be.
BSCCLU by its very nature, because of its Pan-Africanist mandate, is an advocate and a facilitator for Repatriates and repatriation. We can use our influence to give support to, or partner with existing advocate organizations to promote a better understanding and a more proactive relationship with the broader Ghanaian community.
We can help to organize a sustained, high profiled petitioning campaign of constituted authority, demonstrating to them the contributions that Repatriates has made and will continue to make to the betterment of Ghana. The existence of BSLCCU is a living and enduring example.
The Hon. Kwame Nkrumah, father of Ghanaian independence, a dedicated Pan-Africanist and an advocate of repatriation made sure that the rights to citizenship for Repatriates to Ghana was included in the constitution. This however is not automatic or even relevant to existing authority. Any challenge in this regard requires legal support, which in turn requires funding.
The Hon. Marcus Garvey say: “Wealth is strength, wealth is power, wealth is influence, wealth is liberty, is real human rights.” To the extent that this is true, and it is, the Black Star Line Cooperative Credit Union definitely have a role to play in the repatriation process.