We are here today to bid farewell to Lord Listowel, who has been our Governor-General for the past few years.
With the departure of the Governor-General tomorrow, we will witness the end of an era in our history-an era covering twelve years of political and constitutional agitation. At the same time, we will herald a new epoch when Ghana becomes a republic on the 1st of July.
I know I am speaking for every Ghanaian, when I say that our feelings tonight are those of both joy and sadness. We are happy to have reached the end of the road and are looking forward with every confidence to our new life in our Republic. We accept the fact that the time has come to do away with the post of Governor-General. But we are indeed sorry that all this means we have to say good-bye to Lord Listowel.
Your Excellency, during your term of office in Ghana, not only have you won for yourself our esteem and affection, but you have also inspired our respect for the Queen whom you represent. Your great understanding of our problems has contributed in no small measure to the strong links of friendship which now binds Ghana with the rest of the Commonwealth through the Queen. It is a source of satisfaction to us all that within such a comparatively short time, you have endeared yourself to the people of this country.
On the 1st of July, 1960, Ghana will be a Republic with a constitution which has its roots deep in our own soil. Our pattern of Republic and the way in which we approach our problem under the Republican Constitution will, I hope, be a source of inspiration and guidance to African states still under foreign inspiration and those who are about to achieve Independence. In the new phase in reconstruction, Ghana will look to every man and woman to give of his best economic productivity and social behaviour. These are some of the changes which Your Excellency will miss. But I feel sure that you will be able to follow them from wherever you may be, and I know that your genuine interest in the social progress of this great continent of Africa will sustain the affection and respect that we have for you.
Your farewell tour of the Regions of Ghana gave Your Excellency the opportunity to renew the personal contacts that you have made with the Chiefs and people of this country. I have no doubt that they have shown in the Ghanaian fashion, the warmth of our affection for you.
For a parting gift, we have selected a dining-room suite made from wood which you have so often seen during your visits to the forest areas of the country. This will be delivered to you in your home in England. We hope that at least three times a day this furniture will remind you of the years that you spent with us.
Your Excellency, we are sorry that Lady Listowel is not here tonight to share with you this solemn moment. We would like you to take back to her, and to your little daughter Akua, our warmest greetings and our best wishes for the future. Our thoughts also turn with affection to your mother, Freda, the Countess of Listowel. She was with you soon after your first arrival in Ghana and, true to a mother’s devotion, she came back to be with you during your last days with us.
Her active interest in the women of Ghana will be remembered for many years to come. Your Excellency, we in Ghana never say good-bye to friends. We have learnt that for some reason — maybe it is because of the sun we are blessed with, or on account of our natural love of gaiety and laughter —people always come back to see us. We hope that you and your family will visit us whenever you can. I can assure you that a warm welcome will always await you.
And now, Ladies and Gentlemen; I give you the toast of the evening: His Excellency, the Earl of Listowel, Governor-General of Ghana and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.