Backes and Strauss (B & S) and Africa Watch Trading Co Ltd (representatives of B&S in Ghana) have defended the presentation they made to Mrs Michelle Obama when the latter visited Ghana in the company of her husband last July, saying the gesture was on behalf of the people of Ghana.
In a letter clarifying the issue, B & S emphasised that the gift was offered by the company “free of charge, to be presented as a gift from the people of Ghana to Mrs Michelle Obama”.
The letter confirmed an earlier explanation that the Backes & Strauss wristwatch which was presented to the wife of the American President was given to her on behalf of Ghana by the said company.
Later at a press conference at the Castle in Accra yesterday to clarify the issues further, the Director of Communications at the Office of the President, Mr Koku Anyidoho, affirmed that “neither the First Lady nor the government has anything to do with the gift”.
He said the American Embassy was also ready to corroborate the claims and authenticate the correspondence attached to the gift.
The correspondence which accompanied the gift said, inter alia, “To mark the occasion of the historic visit of the US President and Mrs Michelle Obama to Ghana, the Africa Watch Trading Company, in collaboration with Backes and Strauss, has designed a unique watch, the Black Star of Ghana.”
“Based on the Backes & Strauss Regent 1609 AD Limited Edition watch, which was designed to commemorate the first mapping of the moon 400 years ago, the Black Star of Ghana model incorporates the national flag on part of the dial,” it said.
According to the correspondence, “It is crafted in 18 karat rose gold, with three rows of ideal cut round diamonds set into the case, and with a single 0.19 karat ideal cut round diamond set in the crown.”
“Only one example of this Black Star of Ghana model is being made: A unique gift to offer to a unique visitor. Through the use of gold and diamonds, the watch reflects Ghana’s heritage as a country blessed with vast natural wealth and the national flag and Black Star reflect the country’s proud independence and the role in the modern world,” it stressed.
The correspondence said, “In recognition of this unique occasion, Africa Watch Trading Company is pleased to offer the Black Star of Ghana model free of charge, to be presented as a gift from the people of Ghana to Mrs Michelle Obama.”
Source: Daily Graphic