General News of Wednesday, 11 March 2015
Source: The Chronicle
President John Dramani Mahama has incurred the wrath of residents of Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis, following a statement he made on the floor of parliament, when he delivered his 3rd state of the nation’s address on Thursday, February 26, 2015.
The president told the packed to capacity legislative house that the construction of a modern hospital facility to serve the people in the Metropolis and its environs was on-going in Sekondi.
When the news reached residents of the ‘twin city’, they went all out to ascertain the veracity of his statement, which unfortunately, turned out to be untrue, thus attracting their anger and now questioning the integrity of the president as to how he had the courage to make such a statement.
As a result, spin-doctors of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), including the Metropolitan Chief Executives (MCE) and the party’s serial callers have had a herculean task defending the president’s statement, which appears unsuccessful.
It would be recalled that President Mahama, during his last Thursday’s State of the Nation’s Address disclosed that a modern hospital was being built in Sekondi to serve residents in the ‘Oil-City’, but was unable to tell the level of the project.
President Mahama also told parliament, in his address that the Takoradi Hospital, which the people have been using over the years, was also receiving facelift, in terms of staffing and provision of accommodation.
Shockingly, it turned out that there was no such project currently ongoing in the Takoradi ‘Harbour City’.
Information available to The Chronicle indicates that the new hospital project, which the residents of the Oil-City were to benefit from, is among six others announced in the 2013 Sessional address delivered by the President for execution in various parts of the country, with the aim of bringing healthcare to the door step of the people.
The paper gathered that the Takoradi Hospital, which is locally known as European Hospital, is expected to be renovated, in addition to the construction of a new one, which is to be executed by NMS Infrastructure Limited, a UK based Company.
Even though the NMS project is currently ongoing in other districts, the story is different in the Sekondi- Takoradi Metropolitan area, because; even acquiring land for the project to kick-start had become a problem.
The Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA), which is mandated to secure land for the NMS hospital project to kick-start, has failed to do so, after one and half long years since the president mooted the idea to build six NMS hospitals throughout the country.
The STMA had to abandon a 50 acre land it had earlier acquired for the construction of the hospital at Kansawrodo, a suburb of Takoradi, after discovering that the Ghana Gas pipeline passes through the land in question, which made it not suitable for the construction of the hospital project.
That was months after the ground-breaking ceremony, which saw the then Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayitey and some chiefs, who were transported to the site by the STMA, cutting the sod for the construction of the hospital, amid pomp and pageantry. Also, the necessary compensations were paid to those who had their properties on the land.
When the STMA identified the problem, it began looking for an alternative land for the project and finally settled on one at Eshiam, at the outskirts of Kojokrom, for the project. Interestingly, the Eshiam land was also abandoned and a new one located at Essipong had been secured, waiting for a soil test to be conducted to ascertain whether the land could be suitable for the project.
The Western regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Emmanuel Tinkorang has confirmed the Essipong land for the project, saying the GHS was worried over the delay in the project.
Speaking on Twin-City Radio, the GHS Director pointed out that the delay in the project had been as a result of the acquisition of land for the project to kick-start, saying “For us at GHS, we are ready for the project, but left with STMA to secure the land”.
The GHS Director, nevertheless, refused to be drawn into whether the project was on-going as described by the president in his state of the nation address. But, Captain (Rtd) Anthony Cudjoe, Mayor for the STMA has denied that the president lied when he said the project was on-going.
According to the Mayor, the decision of people to misconstrue the president’s description of the project as on-going was a problem of semantics. Consequently, the president could not be faulted for not telling the truth about the project he had claimed was on-going.
To Mayor Cudjoe, land prospecting and acquisition as well as building fell under the project being described as on-going. When asked by the host whether he briefed the president well about the state of the hospital project, Mayor Cudjoe replied in the negative.