US Virgin Islanders invited to Ghana-by Susan MannCaribbean Net News St John CorrespondentEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
ST JOHN, USVI: The Minister of State of the Republic of Ghana, in West Africa, has extended an official invitation to Caribbean residents of the US Virgin islands to participate in a formal healing ceremony to be held in that country. US Virgin Islanders will also have the privilege of celebrating the opening of the Virgin Islands Exhibition.
Shelley Moorhead, President of the African-Caribbean Reparations and Resettlement Alliance (ACRRA) issued the details of the scheduled July 28 and 29, 2006 events, in a March 30 press release to Caribbean Net News.
Minister of State, J.O. Obetsebi-Lamptey, in a letter dated March, 2, 2005, extended the invitation to Lieutenant Governor Vargrave Richards.
The letter states the purpose of the seven hour spiritual healing ceremony which will take place on July 29 is to "lay the ancestral spirits to rest by bringing together traditional African chiefs with the leaders from the US Virgin Islands during which we will seek to reconcile and reunite kith and kin abroad with their brothers and sisters here on the homeland."
Moorhead has also been asked by the Government of Ghana to serve in an official capacity for the "Joseph Project" and matters concerning our renewed cultural, historical, and economic ties to the region.
Ghana President Kufuor's sentiments regarding the ancestors of present day Virgin Islanders who were kidnapped from their homeland and sold in to slavery were expressed in the letter.
The Minister of State said Kufuor was, "moved to learn of more than 200,000 African men, women, and children imprisoned in Ghana and loaded onto ships bound for the Danish West Indies," and, "It has been unsettling to learn that nearly half of them died on the journey across the Atlantic."
The President expressed great pride in the knowledge of the leaders of 1733 St. John Revolt (which predated the Haitian Revolution) and said those leaders were of the Akwamu Tribe, which can be traced to Volta Lake "here in Ghana."
Minister of State Obetsebi-Lamtey said the government of Ghana is excited about, "the wealth of documentation in the Virgin Islands which shows exactly how many Africans were picked up in Ghana during the slave trade, where they were taken, and what ships they were transported on," and, "These are records which could help so many of today's Ghanaians find family members in the Virgin Islands and around the world and fill yet another gap in our fragmented history."
The letter goes on to mention "the many programs Ghana has created for Africans in the Diaspora." These include, land ownership, developments projects, tax deductions for business owners and entrepeneurs, visa-free entry, and dual-citizenship opportunities among others.
The intent is to reconnect African descendents to the continent through culture, spiritual restoration, education, and economics.
Moorhead told Caribbean Net News that the work of his organization, ACRRA is on going, and that meetings are being held with "various community groups and organizations through out the Virgin Islands."
He was invited to represent the group at an international gathering in Israel this past December.