President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has described Ghana as the safest in the West African region and has called on Africans in the Diaspora to come over, explore and experience the "Year of Return 2019" in Country.
Addressing the House of Assembly of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, President Akufo-Addo said "in today's world, where sadly crime and terror have become part of everyday life, I can say that Ghana is certainly the safest country in the West African region and remains one of the few places on earth where we are not embarrassed to see ourselves as each other's keeper."
He said this "Year of Return" would be used as a bridge to build stronger ties between Ghana, those on the Continent, and the African Diaspora.
Home Coming and Investment Summit, African-American Investment Forum, Pan-African and Emancipation Day Celebrations, durbar from Jamestown to Jamestown, Film Festival and Full Circle Festival are some of the activities that will be held to commemorate the year-long event.
"To those of you who would want to come and stay, we say you are most welcome. Africa is your home, and Ghana would be happy to serve as the bridge between the Diaspora and the African continent," the President stated.
President Akufo-Addo, who is currently touring 5 Caribbean nations as part of efforts to promote the "Year of Return, told the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that 2019 marks the 400th anniversary of the first recorded arrival in America of West African slaves.
"We are remembering the anniversary to underline our determination that, never again, will Africa allow herself and her people to be subjected to such an obscene, degrading and dehumanizing catastrophe", President Akufo-Addo said.
He continued, "Never again shall it be that a dozen or so armed foreigners, with the connivance of a few of our own people, would reduce Africans to traded commodities."
President Akufo-Addo said though "they might have started as slaves, the contribution of Africans to the development of the Americas and Caribbean is matchless."
The African Union, says it recognises Diaspora as the 6th Region as part of the Continental body.
The President said Africans in the Diaspora provided the labour that built American railways and American industries -- American infrastructure, as well as those of the Caribbean -- and referred to the innovative role they had played, and continue to play in science, sports, music, arts, and the fashioning of the Americas and the Caribbean.
President Akufo-Addo said there were many African inventors who have patent rights in a lot of innovations that include, the fiber-optic cable, the pacemaker, blood bank, gas masks, traffic signals, world's fastest computer, voice over IP, closed-circuit television, amongst others.
In the sporting world, he said Africans in the diaspora had shown zeal and commitment to hard work and discipline, especially, in football, athletics, basketball, and many other games which had taken them to new heights in order complement the efforts of the descendants and the sufferings of those who were forcibly transported to the Americas some 400 years ago.
"It says on the last door leading out of the dungeon from the slave castles that dot our coastline, DOOR OF NO RETURN. Let us show we CAN return, we have returned, and we have conquered the humiliation and degradation of 400 years ago," President Akufo-Addo added.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana had stunning views and scenery that some Ghanaians were oblivious off, but visitors found it worthy and breath-taking.
Most importantly, the most attractive and greatest selling point of Ghana had always been her people, President Akufo-Addo indicated, adding "The welcome that you find in Ghana, with all due respect to you in this House, is unique, and like none anywhere else.
"Our foods are interesting and tend to be once sampled, never forgotten. I suspect I do not need to remind you that we are the home of Kente, the fabric that has come to define the black race everywhere, and we lead in fashion on the continent. Our music is catchy and unforgettable, and the drums and rhythms make us stand out."
President Akufo-Addo left St Vincent and Grenadines Wednesday night for Trinidad and Tobago where he will spend two nights at the country.
Source: ISD (Rex Yeboah Mainoo)