A Ghanaian and two Nigerians locked up in Trinidad and Tobago for various immigration offenses, are set to regain their freedom after President Akufo-Addo’s intervened.
The Ghanaian, Musa Ibrahim, was arrested by border agency officials of Trinidad and Tobago while travelling by sea with his child to neighbouring Venezuela. Upon his arrest, they requested that he called his wife to show up at the immigration office to prove that he had ties in Trinidad and Tobago. When his wife responded to the request, the officials handed the couple’s daughter over to her and imprisoned the man.
Nana Akufo-Addo who is on a 5-day tour of the Caribbean region, pleaded with Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Rowley, to pardon the immigrant when the two leaders held a bilateral meeting as part of his visit.
“I have one piece of good news; the Ghanaian who is in jail for immigration problems, Prime Minister Rowley has assured me that he is going to be released. This is in honour of my visit,” he announced to the Ghanaian community.
Little was said about the two other West African nationals who also benefited from the visit but the Ghanaian leader informed the gathering that they will also be released and integrated into the community and allowed to stay.
The President also advised Ghanaians who plan to visit the Island with a population of 1.3 million, to respect the laws of that country and live peacefully with the people.
“You can come into this country visa-free. There is no need, therefore, to get on the wrong side of the immigration authority. If you come [here and you want] to stay, go through the process and stay…” he advised.
Year of Return
The tour of the Caribbean is part of efforts to promote the ‘Year of Return’ -the event being planned by Ghana to mark the 400th anniversary of the first recorded arrival in America of West African slaves.
The year 2019 marks the 400-year anniversary of the first recorded arrival, in 1619, of the first twenty (20) enslaved Africans in the Commonwealth of Virginia, which was to become part of the United States of America, initiating some of the most barbaric episodes in human history – the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and slavery.
President Akufo-Addo extended invitation to the people of Trinidad and Tobago to visit Ghana in this ‘Year of Return.’
According to President Akufo-Addo, Ghana recognises its unique position as the location for 75 per cent of the slave dungeons built on the West coast of Africa, through which the slaves were transported, adding that “we have a responsibility, and we do extend a hand of welcome back home to Africans in the diaspora.”
The President, therefore, was hopeful that “the year would prove to be a joyful and learning experience all round for all of us, especially in affirming our determination that never again should the African peoples permit themselves to be subjected to such dehumanising conditions, sold into slavery, and have their freedoms curtailed in order to build up forcibly countries other their own.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday, June 13, 2019, when he addressed the media after he held bilateral discussions with the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Rowley.
After the launch of the ‘Year of Return’ in Washington D.C., Ghana continued with the December 2018 Full Circle Festival, involving over 70 African American celebrities visiting Ghana to reconnect with their ancestral heritage.
Additionally, the Home Coming and Investment Summit, the African-American Investment Forum, the Pan-African and Emancipation Day Celebrations, the durbar from Jamestown to Jamestown, the Film Festival, and the Full Circle Festival are some of the activities that will be held to commemorate the year-long event.
“The commemoration should enable us, in the African Union, to consolidate and strengthen our links with our Sixth Region, i.e. the African Diaspora of the so-called ‘New World’, which have laid somewhat dormant, and make operational and extend the Free Movement Protocol to those in the Diaspora seeking to resettle in Africa,” the President stressed.
President Akufo-Addo with President Paula-Mae Weekes of Trinidad and Tobago
President Akufo-Addo with Prime Minister Keith Rowley
President Akufo-Addo laying a wreath at the memorial