The Caribbean Island of Bahamas is seeking to re-establish ties with Africa, where most of the country’s first slaves are known to have come from, more than 400 years ago.
To this end, the Bahamas has signed a sister-city agreement between its capital, Nassau and Princess Town- a small coastal town in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region. Princess Town, otherwise known as Pokesu, which is home to Fort Gross Friedricksburg from where thousands of slaves transited to the Caribbean at the height of the trade in humans, is a historic town located in the Ahanta area of the western region.
A signing ceremony held in Agona-Nkwanta, the capital town of the Ahanta West District, brought together a cross-section of chiefs, traditional leaders and people of Ahanta to bond with a government delegation from the Bahamas led by Ginger Moxey who is Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister in the Bahamas.
Madam Moxey, speaking about why her country was embarking on this initiative, said “This signing will strengthen the ties between the Bahamas and the Ahanta and allow for a symbiotic relationship to strengthen both communities. It is the goal of this agreement to assist in cherishing development of cultural exchanges, educational exchanges, economic growth, and development along with the humanitarian related activities between both communities”.
As part of the agreement, the two cities commit to work together in boosting tourism, encourage trade, build platforms for cultural exchanges among others. One of the things the Bahamas is seeking to promote is its Junkanoo festival- named after Jan Kwa and Ahanta warrior who is known to be gained prominence for standing up to slave masters. The festival celebrates the country’s historical heritage and connection to Africa and bears many similarities to the famous fancy dress festival celebrated in Sekondi-Takoradi, the Western regional capital.
“The children of Ahanta are back home and they are back to take part in its development,” Madam Moxey indicated.
Chiefs and people of the Ahanta area too are upbeat about this new pact. The area, which includes the Sekondi-Takoradi enclave, holds some of Ghana’s biggest tourism and natural resources. However, much of that is undeveloped or under-developed leaving it in years of under-development and unemployment for its teaming youth.
“It is a strong proof that regardless of where we find ourselves in the device of the world, we share strong connections which should bring us together and propel our commitment towards mutual support and growth leveraging on the resources at our disposal,” said Kobby Okyere Darko-Mensah, the Minster for the Western Region.
“I am optimistic that this partnership will serve as a catalyst for economic growth-attracting investments, and creating employment opportunities for our communities… by innovative ideas for me and now means creating technologies together and selling it to the rest of the world to create prosperity for our people,” he continued.
For his part, John Agyare, the Municipal Chief Executive said “we in Ahanta are proud that this reunion is happening today. We want it to last and benefit the entire Ahanta. We would do all that is within our power to see this happen”.
Mr Davis who is a historian and a Curator from the Bahamas, established in his recently launched book, titled Black Rinse that the earliest ships that docked on the shores of the Bahamas came specifically from the Ahanta town of Princess Town more than 400 years ago.
The findings triggered many people in the Caribbean country to begin a soul-searching process which would eventually bring them to Ghana and to Princess Town in the Ahanta area.
Mr Davis himself was subsequently enstooled as chief in the area by the Ahanta Traditional Council with the stool name Safohen Jan Kwa II. The move by the chiefs of Ahanta was to begin the process of reconnection between Ahanta and citizens of the Bahamas who had plans of coming back to their roots.
Mr Davis, speaking at the sister-City agreement signing event, said; “The world is watching us, the Bahamas are approaching their jubilee, and the Ahantas are approaching an important crossroad. For 300 years the people from this region have set an example for the entire African diaspora to follow, and this important crossroad; we must unify and move ahead in the right direction.”