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Feature Article of Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Columnist: Badu, K.

The Lunatic Fringe of Chinese Immigrants 5

The Lunatic Fringe of Chinese Immigrants Must Be Reprimanded-5

“They wield guns and would fire at anyone who dares to confront them to stop mining,” Mr Yeboah-Asare told graphic.com.gh (See:graphic.com.gh/.../illegal-chinese-miners-resume-operations-in-parts-of-ashanti.html-).

It seems some Chinese immigrants come across as aggressive, indocile and somehow disrespectful, when they come to mirthful Africa, -- no offence intended though. For example, two Chinese foremen injured 13 miners by opening fire on a crowd of Zambian demonstrators at the Chinese Collum Coal Mine in 2010. This incident touched off a wave of anger throughout Zambia (See: cesran.org/index.php?...id=1468%3Achinas...).

“The Chinese never give up. They will never give up their pursuits. Whatever they pursue, they become experts and innovators in that field. They are never bogged down by failure. For them, failure simply means another shot to be successful,” said a social commentator.

By and large, per the Chinese immigrants’ stubbornness, I shudder to think it would take a massive leadership in order to curb the Chinese immigrants’ illegal mining activities in Ghana. Please, don’t accuse me of sensationalising the true reflection of the problem confronting Ghanaians. For, we are, probably dealing with criminals who have been released from prison in China, and have made their way to jocund and a paradise called Ghana. We (Ghanaians), bizarrely, behave as if we are the only “Saints, in the universe”, and thus approach serious issues blithesomely!

Of course, the influx of genuine tourists is good for our burgeoning economy. But, what we should not be doing is opening our borders to mountebanks, who harbour ulterior motives. With heartfelt, I do not begrudge Chinese immigrants and any other “hustlers” who want to travail in Ghana legally. I, like many foreign based Ghanaians, have lived amenably, worked and schooled in United Kingdom, so I will be the first person to show reciprocity, by welcoming other immigrants into my country of birth. However, my understanding is: ‘If you are in Rome, you must do what the Romans do’. In other words, you must conform to the laws of the land. For instance, where I am,-- travailing to meliorate my life, if you choose to commit a heinous crime as an immigrant, you would be imprisoned and sent back to your country of birth after serving your term. With this in mind, how many people would dare? It is against this backdrop that I detest the Chinese immigrants’ shenanigans, -- illegally mining the natural resources in Ghana.

Obviously, we have laws which govern the small scale mining in Ghana. So why are we dragging our feet in enforcing such laws? It is important to note that a lot of organisations are culpable in this instance, --for approaching their duties lackadaisically. For example, we have Ghana Minerals Commission whose responsibilities include the enforcement of the rules and regulations--the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703). The Act vividly requires any person wanting to engage in any form of mining to obtain the requisite licence from the Minister responsible for Mines.”

Further still, the holders of mineral rights and licences are by law required to obtain the necessary approvals and permits from the appropriate quarters, such as Environmental Protection Agency; Forestry Commission, where forests are involved; and Water Resources Commission, where water is involved, before the Miners can commence operation. The Minerals and Mining Act, 2006(Act 703) thus places a duty on the aforementioned organisations to work collaboratively to ensure that the prospective Miners adhere to various regulations. With such synergistic policies in place, why the mess in the small scale mining sector?

I am beginning to suspect sheer lousiness on the part of the governing bodies. For example, according to Ghana Minerals Commission, “no Small Scale Mining operations have been or will be permitted within 100 meters of any water body.” Really? It is on record that the Chinese immigrants are denuding the rural dwellers sources of drinking water; haven’t Ghana Minerals Commission heard?

You (Ghana Minerals Commission) opined: “Any planned or ongoing Small Scale Mining operation in such areas is illegal”. “Notice is hereby given that, anyone found to have contravened any of the provisions of the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703) shall be sanctioned and prosecuted in accordance with this Act and the Criminal Procedure Code, 1960 (Act 30).”

It appears Ghana Minerals Commission hasn’t heard the Chinese immigrants’ prankishness in Ghana—illegal mining in the rural areas. If, indeed, you haven’t heard what is going on, then I would like to confide in you that some recalcitrant immigrants are bent on despoiling our natural resources, and in the process, destroying the environment. So, go ahead and intervene without delay!

K. Badu, UK.

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