Ghana’s president promotes “Year of Return” embark on working visits to five Caribbean nations

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President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor

GEORGETOWN, Guyana — The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was invited by the leadership of the International Labour Organization (ILO) to address the 108th International Labour Conference, in Geneva, Switzerland.

He led the Ghanaian delegation, including the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, MP for Anyaa Sowutuom and Minister for Employment and Labor Relations, Ignatius Baffuor Awuah, MP for Sunyani West, to the conference.

President Akufo-Addo addressed the opening session of the conference, Monday, June 10, 2019, in which he set out Ghana’s contribution to the future of the world of work.

This year’s session brought together over 5,000 delegates from around the globe to find solutions to the challenges of the future of the world of work and celebrate the centenary of the ILO.

President Akufo-Addo thereafter embarked on a working visit to five Caribbean nations as part of efforts promoting the “Year of Return.” 

The countries to be visited by the president are Guyana, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica.

Having proclaimed 2019, as the “Year of Return” to Ghana, the 400th anniversary of the commencement of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, when the first 20 West African slaves landed in Jamestown, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the commemoration, according to President Akufo-Addo, “is a statement of our determination that never again should the African peoples permit themselves to be subjected to such dehumanizing conditions, sold into slavery and have their freedoms curtailed in order to build up forcibly countries other than their own and create wealth for the peoples of unknown lands to which they were sent, wealth from whose enjoyment they were largely excluded.”

On arrival in Guyana on Monday evening with much jubilation, euphoria and symbolism, since Nana Akufo-Addo is the first sitting Ghanaian leader to visit Guyana, and from one of Africa’s fasting growing economies. Ghana is home to a large segment of the Guyanese population whose enslaved ancestors were uprooted from the Gold Coast.

On Tuesday, president Nana Akufo-Addo laid a wreath at the Georgetown Non-Aligned Movement monument where there is a bust of Ghanaian first leader and co-founder of the movement, Dr Kwame Nkrumah. He also laid a wreath at the Square of the Revolution, at the statue of Kofi (Cuffy), Guyana’s national hero.

The Ghanaian leader said, “a national hero of Guyana with the name Kofi, an Akkan namely, clearly has strong links with Ghana.” Kofi was one of many Akkans who led major slave rebellions in Guyana and Suriname.

Later in the day, president Nana Akufo-Addo was received at State House by president Granger for the signing of bilateral agreements and a luncheon in his honor.

President Nana Akufo-Addo called for cooperation between the two countries in the fields of agriculture, energy, trade and tourism investment.

The Ghanaian leader also met with the leader of the opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo and the local Ghanaian community in Guyana.

The events of the “Year of Return” are, above all, aimed at solidifying relations with descendants of Africa, resident in the Americas and the Caribbean, who have been defined as the sixth region of the African Union.

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