Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has described as unfortunate a decision by the US Embassy in Ghana to withdraw protocol visa services to former presidents traveling to the United States of America on official visit.
According to him, the decision amounts to gross violation of Ghana’s dignity as a sovereign state.
His comment comes after the United States Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson on Thursday June 22, 2017 told Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee that henceforth, former Presidents and Members of Parliament (MP) are expected to join the queue like any other ordinary Ghanaian, when applying for US visas for their private visits.
He was emphatic that apart from the official travels for ex-Presidents and MPs, which go through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in all other applications the applicants must personally present them.
This announcement has met a lot of public backlash with most Ghanaians saying it smacks of disrespect since former U.S. Presidents and Congressmen will expect courtesies extended to them when traveling to Ghana.
In support, Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Friday expressed shock at the position taken by the US.
He indicated that the unpopular decision if not reversed could mar Ghana’s good relationship with the US.
“We are a very proud country and we deserve some respect. We are making sure that the image of our country is protected” he added.
Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa who is also the Member of Parliament for North Tongu Constituency said the dignity of our former Presidents is very important thus “we will not allow our former presidents to be embarrassed”.
He maintained that the supposed directive is not the panacea to the abuse of protocol privileges which has continued over the years up till now.
Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa was confident government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will meet with the US Embassy to halt the directive.