General News of Tuesday, 22 May 2018
The youth at Bakaano, a suburb of Cape Coast in the Central Region have taken to illegal mining due to the unavailability of jobs.
They have vowed to continue the illegal activity despite the severe threat it poses to schools, the Cape Coast Castle and other historic structures in the area.
The Castle, known for its tourism and history, the Philip Quaicoe Boys Basic School, prominently known as the first primary school built in Ghana’s ancient capital as well as the Jacob Wilson-Sey Basic School are likely to collapse if the activity continues.
The Police barracks and the abandoned Cape Coast high court buildings risk tumbling down as a result of the illegal and winning by the youth.
The sand winning erodes the sandbar at the beach, and that enables the waves to hit the structures and erode its foundation.
Citi News’ Joseph Ackon Mensah said while some youth transport the sand inland and sell them for domestic construction work, others mould cement blocks with them at the beach.
‘Youths defend action’
When Citi News visited the Bakaano beach, there were some young men in the area busily winning the sand.
One of the young men detailing their reason for winning the sand despite its dangers said, “At this part of Cape Coast (Bakaano), we the boys do not have any job to do, and the fishing we used to do is now unprofitable, so if anyone comes around and needs sand, we’ll readily get it for him, and that will get us some money to cater for ourselves and our dependents”.
He asked the Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly (CCMA) and government to offer them employment, saying, “Do they want us to go into the robbery? If they give us jobs, they will not come to meet anyone winning sand here next time”.
Effects on fishing, weak laws
Meanwhile, the leader of the fishermen group at the Bakaano beach, Opanyin Nana Assefuah, blamed the unfavourable fishing in the area on the sand winning activities.
“The long years of sand winning here has washed away all objects like coconut trees that used to help anchor the canoes; now all kinds of things are washed into the sea and when we go fishing, sometimes our nets only scoop other items apart from fishes”, Opanyin Nana Assefuah lamented.
Benjamin Agbenyeku, an assemblyman at the Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly (CCMA) for the Anokyen-Fahodze area where this activity is prevalent, expressed his frustration over the matter and lamented over how weak the laws and punitive measures were.
He said, “They do not prosecute them; they are fined. Sometimes, the law has to be harsh a bit, example, when you prosecute one person, the rest of them will stop. There is no remand, no jail, nothing! What they do is they only pay the fine to the CCMA and they leave them, and they will come and do it again”.