Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has called on the peoples of Trinidad and Tobago to come over to Ghana and join in the celebration of the 400th-anniversary of the start of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, dubbed: "The Year of Return," to demonstrate to the rest of the world that Africans, both on the continent and in the Americas have overcome slavery.
The President made the call when he addressed a joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Rowley, at the Diplomatic Centre in the capital city, Port of Spain.
"The commemoration should enable us and the African Union to consolidate and strengthen our links with our sixth region, that is, the African diaspora. As we mark the 400th-anniversary, come and visit and let us together demonstrate that we have overcome. 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 said.
The President added that he looked forward to many Trinidadians taking up the invitation extended to them by Ghana to be part of the celebration.
In response to a question posed to both President Akufo-Addo and Prime Minister Keith Rowley on whether or not there is a possibility of an air services agreement between Ghana and Trinidad and Tobago that will serve as a direct link between West Africa and the Caribbean – something that is currently nonexistent – Prime Minister Rowley indicated that during the bilateral discussions he had with President Akufo-Addo, it did come up and he is optimistic that further consultations will be carried out in that regard to work out the modalities for a possible ‘Air Services Agreement’ that would see Caribbean Air flying directly to Ghana as well as other parts of the African continent.
President Akufo-Addo welcomed the idea of a possible Air Services Agreement between Ghana and Trinidad and Tobago. He indicated that within the framework of the ongoing discussion between Ghana and Ethiopian Airlines, a direct flight route between Ghana and the Caribbean world will be given consideration to explore the possibilities of having same.
President Akufo-Addo is leading a Ghanaian delegation, comprising the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey; and the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng Gyasi, MP for Prestea Huni Valley, on the tour.
The countries visited so far by the President are Guyana, St. Vincent and Grenadines, and now Trinidad and Tobago. He is moving on to visit Barbados and finally 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 dehumanising 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.”
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 Africa Union.