The ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has said Ghana-U.S. relations under President Donald Trump is not as it used to be and “we need to confront that.”
Mr Ablakwa said the visa restrictions imposed on Ghana does not speak well about the bilateral relations between the two countries and both countries must be sincere about the “frosty” nature of their relationship.
Mr Ablakwa said this in an interview with Class News’ Ekow Annan and Emily Topping in reaction to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, address to Ghana’s parliament on Wednesday, 31 July 2019.
Despite applauding Ms Pelosi for her vast knowledge in Ghana-US relations, Mr Ablakwa complained that immigration was not brought up once during the address.
“I must say I was quite disappointed with two issues she didn’t speak to, which is the visa restrictions against Ghana,” said the North Tongu lawmaker.
He continued: “our constituents as a house are really concerned about this matter, things appear to be getting out of control. I’m getting reports of many Ghanaians who are not being treated fairly, people who have five years visa going for renewal are given one month, some are not given at all…so its clear that Ghana-US relations under President Trump is not really as it used to be and we need to confront that. It is getting quite frosty, this visa restrictions doesn’t speak well about Ghana-US relations, it doesn’t show that all is well and we have to be sincere in confronting that fact.”
In February, the U.S. attempted to deport some 4,000 people claiming to be Ghanaians from its borders—when Ghana refused to accept the return of the immigrants, the U.S. embassy placed visa restrictions on Ghana.
Mr Ablakwa expressed further disappointment that Ms Pelosi did not speak on Trump’s “hardline-immigration policies.”
“We’ve been told 7000 Ghanaians have been earmarked for deportation and our government is contesting the figure and the nationality of a lot of those people claiming to be Ghanaians…I know she [Pelosi] wanted to stay on the positives and not mar the occasion but a little assurance that she is aware of the concerns that we have, that’s what democracy is about, they control the house and, so, they [democrats] can bring pressure to bear on the republicans on President Trump to change course and take a different posture when it comes to Ghana-US relations especially on these two issues,” Mr Ablakwa stated.
Ms Pelosi was in the country for a 4-day official visit accompanied with by U.S. Congressional Black Caucus. The visit dovetailed into the government’s ‘Year of Return’ programme – an open invitation to the black community in America to return to the motherland – Ghana.