The United States Ambassador to Ghana Robert Jackson has expressed shock at the decision by the previous government led by former President John Dramani Mahama to grant the two Guatanamo bay detainees refugee status in Ghana.
Ambassador Jackson told journalists in Tamale, the US government was responsible for the upkeep of detainees for two years which ended on January 6, 2018. During the period, the US government paid all expenses including lodging and stipend.
He described as a fundamental misunderstanding of the agreement binding the two countries on the stay of the two persons in Ghana.
“First of all, I think that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the agreement. The agreement said that Ghana will keep them for two years and integrate them during that time. This is a very important part of the agreement. It also said the United States will provide for their daily. So for two years, we paid for their housing and gave them a stipend for food and other living expenses.” He disclosed.
Though Ambassador Jackson admitted he could not provide details of how much was spent on the detainees, he recalled the US paid for all their expenses for the two which ended on January 6, 2018. “I honestly do not know because I have not personally seen the bills – I can tell you that we paid for their lodging but I really do not know how much we paid.”
He explained that any further decision on the status of the two detainees would be taken between Ghana and the detainees without any interest from the United States of America.
“I do not know until this week that they have been granted refugee status. That game is much of a surprise to me as a game to the rest of you. However, that decision does give them certain rights and if the government of Ghana wishes to relocated them to a third country, they need to discuss that with the two refugees under the international law.” He said.
Ambassador Jackson earlier paid a working visit to the Upper East Region where he told the regional, minister, Mr. Rockson Ayine Bukari, the American companies have for the past 20 years invested over 10 billion dollars in various sectors of Ghana’s economy and hope to inject more in the coming years to provoke increased bilateral trade between the two countries; the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson has said.
According to him, the United States is determined to making Ghana a preferred trade and investment hub and has to this effect identified garments and textiles as some of the few products that have great potentials in the US market. The ambassador said the sector possesses much resilience to changing the face of the country’s business outlook when duly prioritized.
Ambassador Jackson admitted that trade and investment between Ghana and the US have witnessed a sharp decline over the period. He said although the US government is keen on making Ghana a key investment hub, Ghana has failed in its bit to take advantage of the reviewed African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a trade legislation which significantly enhances market access to the US for qualifying sub Saharan Africa countries. He added that despite the level of apathy, the US government strives to make huge investment in untapped potentials capable of turning the fortunes of the country around.