This was disclosed at a press conference addressed by the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, after the two held bilateral discussions in Kingston, Jamaica, on Saturday, 15th June, 2019, as part of President Akufo-Addo’s two-day official visit to Jamaica.
Stressing the importance of Ghana-Jamaica relations, the President indicated that the two nations have an excellent opportunity to building on their strong ties, imposed by culture and history, so as to derive maximum economic value for their respective populations.
“We cannot have visas standing in the way of those relations, so the decision has been taken by my government that, as Ghanaians benefit from visa free arrangements here in Jamaica, we are also going to provide visa free arrangements for Jamaicans in Ghana, to facilitate and also make it easier for you to come and join us for the ‘Year of Return’”, President Akufo-Addo added.
With the two leaders pledging to reactivate the Ghana-Jamaica Permanent Joint Commission for Co-operation, which has been dormant for some time, the President explained that, when properly structured, the Commission will serve as a legal framework for the doing of business between the two countries.
“Now, it has come to the time to give teeth to those relations by making sure the various areas of engagement in education, tourism and cultural activity are specifically tied down. That is really my purpose of coming here, apart from a mission to sensitize you in Jamaica about an event that we are commemorating this year,” he added.
Year of Return
Describing Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade as a “horrendous episode of human history”, President Akufo-Addo explained that Ghana is keen on commemorating this event, largely because a large number of slaves came through slave forts located in Ghana.
“We want to commemorate it, to be able to say together that never again will Africa and her people permit themselves to be subjugated to these types of dehumanizing and inhumane events. Never again!” he added
The President continued, “At the same time, we want to use the symbolism of this year to take concrete steps to solidify the relations of our kith and kin in the Americas and the Caribbean. The relationship that we are forming here in Jamaica will form part of the process of solidifying the relations between those of us on the continent of Africa and those of you in the diaspora, outside Africa.”
His visit to the Caribbean, President Akufo-Addo said, has been to “strengthen the relations across the water, and build the bridge that we have to build over the Atlantic so that we could find a way of strengthening each other in growing and empowering our economies, to play a more and more critical role in the new global architecture that is being drawn up now. We are going to have relations that are intimate.”