Honorary citizenship of the County of Essex in the United States has been conferred on members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government and Rural Development. The honour was bestowed on the MPs by the President of the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Ms Britnee Timberlake.
The members of the committee were each presented with a certificate of recognition and decorated with insignia of Essex County.
In the United States, a county board of chosen freeholders is a kind of legislative body onto which members are elected to make decisions for the county.The president of the board is what is known in some jurisdictions as the speaker and he or she presides over debates.
A county in the United States is made up of 21 cities and towns.
Ms Timberlake said Essex County was ready to collaborate with Ghana in areas of development, especially in waste management, adding that the county was ready to put its expertise and experience at the disposal of Ghana. She described Africa as a continent from which many resources were being extracted and said it was unfortunate that those who exploited the continent's wealth did not give anything back.
Turning the spotlight on the upcoming election in the US and the bickering and exchange of insults by presidential aspirants, Ms Timberlake said what was happening was not a reflection of what America was or who the people were. "It is not the best representation of the American people. The bickering and insults instead of focusing on issues does not mirror us," she said. A Ranking Member of the committee, Mr Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, said the visit of Ms Timberlake marked the beginning of a strong relationship between Ghana's Parliament and Essex County. He urged her to establish bonds between Essex County and municipal and district assemblies in the country.