Editorial: Finally, the Ghana Actors Guild is making headway

Entertainment of Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

2017-02-21

Nii Odoi Mensah LateThe Late Nii Odoi Mensah, former president of the Ghana Actors Guild

The Ghana Actors Guild is supposed to be one of the formidable associations of creative artists in the country, but in the last decade, it has been dogged by a myriad of issues – making it one of the most useless groupings within the industry.

For years, the Guild has been characterised by stagnancy and dormancy; and in the last couple of months, it was ‘hijacked’ by persons who lacked vision, direction and purpose.

The Guild, after so many years of existence, still choose to steer affairs in a stone age, refusing to align itself with the new, modern and technology-driven trends of the industry.

Its welfare system is jumbled with floundering long-serving members begging all over the place – and it wields zero influence on government or any institution when it comes to decision-making that affects its members.

Thankfully, the Guild, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Creative arts and supported by the Ghana Culture Forum organised a crucial meeting to bring some sanity and progress to a unit which has so much potential to elevate the craft of acting and curb the misery of its members.

New registration of members

Candidly, this move is just a waste of time and resources. What this means for this Guild is that they are starting all over again.

Registration of members means the group wants to attain a certain level of mobilisation; a move to bring all its members together and in an organised unit and instil a sense of unity among them.

It is expected that, this would be done in a professional manner, where the names of members would not be written on a piece of A4 sheet and discarded after. There must be a database of all members that would be kept safely and updated periodically.

One consensus reached during the meeting was that, the re-registration would be on-going happening till March 17, 2017 and it behooved on the Guild to ensure that, every actor and stakeholder gets registered.

Elections

The elections for the new executives to take over the handling of the group should have taken place last year, but, some disgruntled actors thwarted the process because, directives in the Constitution were not adhered to – according to them.

The Ghana Actors’ Guild is supposed to receive some form of aid or support from Equity UK (formerly the British Actors’ Equity Association), particularly, for the organisation of the elections. Once the elections have not been held, the money stays untouched!

After the meeting, it was agreed that, there were vacant positions that must be filled, including that of the President.

Elections of persons to fill the positions will be held in April 29, 2017 but nominations will be opened on February 27- March 31, 2017.

General elections for all positions would be held on October 18, 2018, when the tenure of the current administration would have expired.

Publicity is key

It’s been a few days since this critical meeting was held, yet, it is not making rounds in the media. Radio and television programmes, especially the arts-related ones are not talking about it and the newspapers are not writing about it.

This should not be an exercise in futility!

To get everybody involved and the general public and donors interested, noise must be made. Intensive publicity must be executed to ensure that all actors get to hear the news of a renaissance of the Guild; executives must be out there explaining new guidelines and projecting the group.

The Guild, as a matter of urgency, must get a communications unit in place to ensure that all proceedings, plans and directives are well-communicated.

No room for backwardness

There’s always some group within Associations which is always prepped to foment trouble when things seem to go the right away. It is assumed that, such persons were informed of the meeting held last week and had the opportunity to raise any grievances or misgivings on the roadmap before consensus was reached.

We would not tolerate any form of noise-making from persons who feel that the new direction of the Guild is wrong, no, we won’t!

The Guild has languished in the doldrums for such a long time; there’s no time for retrogressive maneuvring and pessimism. All hands must be on deck to make this work!

Things must work again

Ghana Actors Guild is mandated to negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements that establish equitable levels of compensation, benefits, and working conditions for its members.

If the Guild is well-structured, it must be able to collect compensation for exploitation of recorded performances by its members, and provide protection against unauthorised use of those performances; and preserve and expand work opportunities for its members.

The Guild must also not be a home for just veterans. It needs experience, expertise, fresh ideas and youthful exuberance, so, it must open its doors to the young actors who will also help in bringing some vibrancy and relevance to the group.

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