The Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) has carried out a demolition exercise on a 22-acre land at Tanokrom, a suburb of Takoradi, to make way for the construction of a multi-million dollar shopping mall.
The exercise, which was undertaken on Friday, has displaced more than 2,000 artisans who occupied the land to trade their business.
The proposed shopping mall is to be funded by a South African investor, Western Development Consortium.
According to officials of the Assembly, the artisans could save their jobs if they relocate to a 58-acre land at Kansawurod in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis that has been secured for them to ply their trade.
The Western Regional Commander of the Rapid Deployment Force of the Ghana Police Service, ASP Gordon Koduah who led a team of military and police personnel to offer protection during the demolition, said the exercise was the enforcement of a court order.
The artisans said that they might lose their customers if they relocate to the new site, while some of their apprentices — who have no source of income — will not be able to continue learning the trade due to the daily cost of travelling to the new site.
Kwamena Opare, a welder, told the B&FT: “This demolishing exercise is a surprise to all of us”.
He said the new site allocated to them has not been properly developed.
The STMA Chief Executive, Capt. rtd. Anthony Cudjoe, explained that the new site at Kansawurodo for the artisans is in good shape for them to relocate.
“Statutorily, what the assembly is supposed to do is ensure the provision of basic amenities such as water, electricity, accessible road and toilet facilities — which have been provided; and they are complaining the 20-seat toilet that has been provided is not enough for the over-2,000 mechanics and that the road should be tarred,” he said.