Prince Who Grew Up in Palmer Coming Home

Nii Guate Asuasa of Ghana's Ga kingdom will visit Easton in late June, Mayor Sal Panto said.

In the 1990s, Easton Mayor Sal Panto met a kid named John Quartey.

Quartey was a student at , and lived in Palmer Township, next door to Panto's brother Joe. He played soccer and tennis, Panto remembered. He went to football and baseball games with the mayor's brother.

Oh, and Quartey, a native of the western African nation of Ghana, told everyone he was a prince back home.

Fast forward two decades. Quartey -- now known as "Nii Guate Asuasa Ekasee Ako II -- has become king of the Ga kingdom in Ghana. Later this month, he'll visit the United States, making Easton his homebase during a tour that will include a variety of east coast stops, not far from his Palmer Township childhood.

"He could go anywhere. But he's mostly coming back to Easton," the mayor said Tuesday during a news conferenence to announce the king's visit.

The king contacted Panto in March to announce his visit, which the mayor says will be a "mission of peace" to promote free and safe elections in Ghana later this year.

His letter says he'll bring a dance troupe and musicians, who are expected to perform around Easton during the two week visit, which begins June 29. During that time, the king hopes to visit New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Trenton, as well as other cities in Pennsylvania.

Panto said this isn't an official, state sanctioned visit. King Guate hopes to visit with as many elected officials as possible to get them to sign a petition in support of free elections.

Ghana, which has been a parlimentary democracy for the last 20 years, holds presidential elections every four years. King Guate leads the Ga kingdom, which accounts for about 7 percent of Ghana's population, although he holds no elected office.

In Easton, Panto said the king will likely visit the Farmers' Market and Heritage Day, as well as other stops throughout town.

Guate's letter to Panto says he wants to come back to Easton to thank those that helped him while he was here. 

"He said 'Mayor Panto, it's like Coming to America,'" Panto said, referring to Eddie Murphy's fish-out-of-water comedy.

Guate graduated from high school in 1998, and was crowned king ten years later. 

"Most people were like 'Yeah, right,'" Panto said, recalling people's reaction to the young John Quartey telling people he was a prince. He wasn't sure if anyone at the high school was aware of what happened to him.

"We do have people who left to be important," Panto said. "I don't know that anyone left to be king."


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