Professor George Maxwell Richards, the President of Trinidad and Tobago has arrived in Ghana for a five-day state visit. The President of the archipelagic state who was accompanied by his wife Dr. Jean Ramjohn-Richard and some state officials arrived in the country on Sunday November 2.
It would be recalled that President Kufuor was invited by the Trinidad and Tobago President for the celebration of this year's Emancipation Day in that country. The exchange of visit by the two leaders is to enhance the long-standing cordial relationship between the two countries.
Professor Richards was met on arrival at the Osu Castle in Accra by President Kufuor and after exchanging pleasantries, the former inspected a guard of honour mounted by a contingent of officers from the Air Force with the Armed Forces Band in attendance while a 21-gun salute was fired in the background.
Before the two leaders retreated for bilateral talks, President Kufuor remarked that both countries have a common ancestry. “As colonies of Great Britain, we share bonds and history.”
Professor Richards said Trinidad and Tobago has had great admiration for Ghana in view of the role it played in the independence movement.
“Ghana's attainment of independence in 1957 served as a source of great inspiration for the rest of the colonies in Africa and the rest of the world.”
He congratulated the people of Ghana for maintaining political stability while he prayed for peace for the nation in the impending presidential and parliamentary elections which is scheduled for December 7.
He praised President Kufuor for his good leadership in Ghana which had led to the country becoming one of the best economies.
On bilateral issues, he said there was the need for collaboration in areas of science and technology and also mentioned that the two countries needed to ratify an agreement on culture.
Professor Richards reiterated Trinidad and Tobago's commitment to enhancing air service between the two countries. Unlike most of the English-speaking Caribbean countries which rely on tourism as a source of revenue, Trinidad and Tobago is primarily an industrialised country whose economy is based on petroleum and petrochemicals.
He wished President Kufuor a blissful retirement as the latter ends his second term as president of Ghana.
As part of the five-day state visit, President Richards is expected to call on the Ga Mantse, Nii Tackie Tawiah at his palace as well as visit the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu.
On the third day, the President of Trinidad and Tobago will tour the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and then leave for the Cape Coast and Elmina castles. He would as well visit the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and the Arts Centre and also meet with Carribbean nationals in the country before he departs on November 6, 2008.
Later at the Castle, a special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa, Said Djinnit called on the President to introduce himself as part of his tour of the continent, following his assumption of office recently.
He explained that his visit was also to find out the extent to which the United Nations could continue supporting the continent.
He commended Ghana for playing a very important role in developing the continent, and asked that the country continues to be a shining example for West Africa and the rest of the continent.
President Kufuor congratulated Mr Djinnit on his assumption of office, and urged him to work for the development of the continent.
By Emelia Ennin Abbey