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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Lands Minister’s surprise at galamsey activity laughable

The Minority in Parliament has described as laughable the Lands and Natural Resources Minister’s surprise at the scale of illegal mining activity in Ghana.

“Why will anyone be surprised when it is clear that there were no practical actions to save our lands after the several expensive conferences the government organised,” the Minority said in a statement.

It noted that it had previously raised concern about illegal mining before it gained renewed national attention.

“Twice this year, the minority through the Mines and Energy Committee drew the attention of Government about the relapse in their fight against galamsey.”

“We called on the Ministers responsible to wake up from their long-drawn sleep and save our lands from selfish galamsay operators.”

The Minority maintains that the passivity of the government has allowed illegal mining to continue |with known government party supporters busily sinking machines into lands all over, including state reserved areas, polluting our fresh waters and destroying farm lands.”

“The ease at which private citizens, many of foreign background, plunge into our lands and ravage it under this Regime is very worrying. It justifies why many citizens and civil society groups express worry about the future of our country.”

Find below the full statement

Stop the deception on the fight against illegal mining and be serious about saving our lands and waters: A statement by the Minority Side of Parliament, 1st OCTOBER, 2022

Daily Graphic 30th September 2022, reported a visit of the Minister of Lands on some galamsey sites in the Eastern Region. To our ultimate surprise the Minister appeared surprised at the unmeasurable destruction of the land and the environment by the Galamsey operators. We recall how the President, Nana Ado Danquah Akufo Ado boasted about getting the right Minister to do a job which we are completely sure he did not intend to do. Before his announcement of the new Minister whose competence we do not doubt, Ghanaians had been overwhelmed and had been critical about the collaborative destruction of our wet and dry lands throughout the country in the 4 years of the Nana Addo NPP first term. As usual of this regime’s deceptive promises and sweet words were used to calm down the unsuspecting Ghanaian pointing at a new policy on galamsey. Two years into that ‘new policy” direction on Galamsey, the Minister will fly to the same galamsey sites he promised to salvage to see a more devastating, more painfully destroyed landscape and appeared surprised seeking the Ghanaian populace to bear with this lackluster policy approach.

Twice this year the minority through the Mines and Energy Committee drew the attention of Government about the relapse in their fight against galamsey. We called on the Ministers responsible to wake up from their long drawn sleep and save our lands from selfish galamsay operators. They kept their sleepy mood and allowed the destruction to continue with known government party supporters busily sinking machines into lands all over, including state reserved areas, polluting our fresh waters and destroying farm lands. Even as we worry about the present circumstance and the laughable surprise by the Minister, much more galamsey operations are going on, known to the government and intentionally ignored by its agents! What fight did the President refer to when he announced to the people about his determination to eliminate galamsey from our lands? Why will anyone be surprised when it is clear  that there were no practical actions to save our lands after the several expensive conferences the government organised targeted at addressing the challenges posed by illegal mining?

The ease at which private citizens, many of foreign background, plunge into our lands and ravage it under this Regime is very worrying. It justifies why many citizens and civil society groups express worry about the future of our country. The free destruction of the land by miners of all class of description has a damning effect on our cocoa production and on our drinking water. While at one point oil companies had to import fresh water from neighboring La Cote d’voire our long trading partners, the European Union, are also contemplating to ban the purchase of Ghana cocoa because of high contamination of mercury from irresponsible mining.  It therefore did not sound as surprising when a government friendly civil society group, Occupy Ghana, issued a threat to take the Government to Court over his poor over what it calls government “absolute incompetence, in the face of the  brazen destruction of our lands and wanton poisoning of our water bodies”. All this defines the poor handling of the unprecedented destruction of our lands. The situation as we have it now should obviously send signals to the government that not all is right about it’s pretense to be fighting to save our lands for a future generation.

While we observe what next the Minister and his government will do after his visit and his surprise of seeing the vast destruction of our environment, which we see as only a tip of the iceberg, we urge the minister to wear sharper glasses and open his mind wider to take needed actions. His actions thereafter will help him absolve himself from any blame on him as either a collaborator or an incompetent urgent of the President in a fight for our lands being destroyed with impunity and annoying gusto. We will like to see the government demonstrate responsibility by stopping this lawless conduct and prosecute the defaulters and ensure that companies which are found to engaged in any illegal mining process to reclaim all lands they have destroyed.

 

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