Guyana rolls out red carpet for Ghanaian President

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President David Granger and his Ghanaian counterpart, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo taking the salute at the CJIA (Keno George Photos)

GUYANA, early Tuesday morning, rolled out the red carpet to welcome President of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who arrived here for an historic state visit, with a delegation of over 40 officials.

During the tour, President David Granger will bestow, on the West African leader, Guyana’s highest National Award– the Order of Excellence– and will engage in the signing of several bilateral agreements. President Akufo-Addo is also expected to take part in a series of activities and engagements.

President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo disembarking his aircraft

The Ghanaian President is visiting to deepen cordial relations with Guyana, President Granger had said. Early this morning, President Akufo-Addo and contingent arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and were greeted by President Granger following several military and ceremonial procedures. The Ghanaian President was then accompanied by Prime Minster Moses Nagamootoo from the airport to the Guyana Marriott Hotel where he will stay for the day.

Today, President Akufo-Addo will participate in wreath-laying ceremonies at the Non-Aligned Monument and the Square of the Revolution, site of the 1763 Monument. This is to take place between 10:00hrs and 11:00hrs, after which he will depart for State House to be received by President Granger for the signing of bilateral agreements.
“We are confident that this visit will result in practical measures aimed at enhancing relations and cooperation between our two states, particularly in the fields of agriculture, culture, energy, environment, investment, petroleum production, private sector cooperation, tourism and transportation,” President Granger stated previously.

The two heads are also likely to discuss strengthening of diplomatic relations, air-connectivity and abolition of visa requirements. Following the signing, the Presidents will briefly interact with the press and then proceed to the Baridi Benab at State House for the state luncheon hosted by President Granger. At the luncheon, President Granger will confer the Order of Excellence on President Akufo-Addo. The Order of Excellence can be awarded to both citizens and non-citizens of Guyana and is bestowed for distinction and eminence in any field of endeavour of national or international importance.

Other Presidents to be awarded Guyana’s Order of Excellence include former Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula in 2010 and former American President, Jimmy Carter. Former Barbados’ Prime Minister, Freundel Jerome Stuart was also awarded with Guyana’s second highest award in 2016, the Order of Roraima. Today, President Akufo-Addo will also meet with Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo at the Marriott Hotel for brief interactions following the state luncheon.

In the afternoon hours, accompanied by Guyana’s Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes, he will visit the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) and Banks DIH Limited. Later in the evening he will visit the Umana Yana in Georgetown where he will be welcomed by Minister of Natural Resources of Guyana, Raphael Trotman. When he returns to the Marriott Hotel, himself and contingent will interact with the Ghana Diaspora and representatives from African Group Organizations in Guyana.

President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo inspecting the Guard of Honour on his arrival this morning

When President Akufo-Addo and team leave Guyana on Wednesday, the Ghanaian President will be escorted by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo to the CJIA. Prior to his departure, he will exchange farewells with President Granger and the official party. The entire Guyanese Government Cabinet will be represented during the visit as well as Foreign Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Carl Greenidge; Director General at the Ministry of the Presidency, Mr. Joseph Harmon; Director General at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, C.C.H, H.E. Audrey Waddell; Chief of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Ivan Evelyn and Director of Bilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Michael Brotherson.

Accompanying President Akufo-Addo is a contingent of over 40 individuals from the Ghanaian government; government agencies and other offices. Ministers representing the government of Ghana include Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey and Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Hon. Barbara Oteng-Gyasi. Also attending are: High Commissioner of Ghana to Guyana, H.E Abena Pokua Adompim Busia; Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante; Deputy Chief of Staff, Hon. Francis Asenso-Boakye; Director of State Protocol, H.E. Ahmed Hassan; Aide, Mr. Edward Akufo-Addo; Aide-de-Camp to the President Capt., Brig. Gen. Bismark Onwona; Chief Security Officer, Edmund Kojo Koda and others.

Common interests

Guyana and the West African country of Ghana are tied in history and common interests. The ties between the two span four decades, the Department of Public Information reported. According to DPI, Guyana’s first Prime Minister Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham had a personal relationship with Ghana’s first Prime Minister and President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The Transatlantic slave trade was no pleasant experience for Africans from the West. The British inhumane treatment of our ancestors was most undesirable.
However, what came to Guyana through the bitter experiences have left a long-lasting legacy. Guyana and Ghana have been inextricably linked through many aspects including marriage, funerals, culinary arts, music and dance, among others. At the recent accreditation of Ghana’s new High Commissioner to Guyana Professor Abena Busia, President David Granger noted it is a favourable time for the deepening and strengthening of cooperation between the two states.

“Guyana and Ghana have enjoyed cordial relations since the establishment of diplomatic ties on 14th May 1979, forty years ago. Our relations are founded on mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, cooperation for mutual benefit, respect for international law and treaties and the maintenance of international peace and security,” he told the new Ambassador.

Back in 1957, Guyana joined in heralding Ghana’s Independence. Some cultural organisations in Guyana today, join in the celebration of Ghana Day, on March 6, each year, paying homage to the millions of ancestors plucked from their homes through the Transatlantic slave trade. Remnants of African culture in the form of music, dance, food and dress in Guyana, were adopted from Ghana.

According to President David Granger, the state visit of President Akufo- Addo will result in practical measures aimed at enhancing relations and cooperation between the two states, particularly in the fields of agriculture, culture, energy, environment, investment, petroleum production, private sector cooperation, tourism and transportation. “Guyana is in transition towards the establishment of a ‘green state’ which will see more emphasis being placed on the protection of our environment, the preservation of our biodiversity, the promotion of renewable energy generation, and practical measures to ensure climate adaptation. Guyana’s ‘green state’ will allow us to respond more effectively to the challenges posed by climate change,” President Granger highlighted.