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Opinions of Saturday, 18 August 2018

Columnist: Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

No sense in lifting the ban on 'galamsey' now

Rivers, vegetation, etc. remain degraded due to illegal mining Rivers, vegetation, etc. remain degraded due to illegal mining

Folks, let’s be bold as usual to damn the lame-duck Akufo-Addo government for what it has just done to unnerve us and to annoy every Ghanaian worried at the wanton destruction of the country’s natural resources (water bodies and vegetation, particularly) by those operating “galamsey” and baring their teeth at Akufo-Addo for clamping down on them despite his assurances in the heat of the electioneering campaigns that he won’t do so.

We heard all the threats issuing forth from them and why they won’t support Akufo-Addo/the NPP anymore. They bared their teeth; and the government has all of a sudden eaten back its own vomit. Pooh!!

The lifting of this ban now is yet another horrible, knee-jerk action by a government that fears losing political power from the very constituencies that voted for it.

Having been warned several times by these "galamsey" people, it has bowed to pressure to put them back in business.

I can foresee the vigour, violence, and determination with which they will attack the lands this time.

And I can further foresee a terrible influx of people (be they Ghanaians or not) into "gala" now that this government has opened the sluice gates. Huge danger here for Ghana.

What necessitated this rash action, though? That the "galamsey" operators will be taxed to give Ghana the revenue it can't get from legitimate sources?

Is there any file containing known "galamsey" operators? Have they registered their companies at all. Things have quickly fallen apart here.
All that talk of putting measures in place to forestall what led to the imposition of the ban is absolutely stupid.

What, then, becomes of "Operation Vanguard" and all the resources wasted on it?

Ghana is doomed under this old, rabid Akim dog who is fast giving himself a bad name and sending himself steadily to the slaughter house, not to the hangman’s noose. Bowing to pressure from constituencies whose activities endanger the environment just for political capital this way is the most undistinguished political gimmick ever.

We note that the environmental degradation caused by the "galamsey" operators has not been tackled. The rivers, vegetation, etc. remain degraded. Is anybody in this government thinking right at all?

One would expect a responsible government to establish mechanisms for these agents of environmental degradation to contribute funds for the environmental reclamation efforts. Nothing of the sort done.

Again, one would expect the government to liaise with local authorities in areas, where "galamsey" goes on, to be co-opted into a national programme for monitoring the activities in their environment. Nothing done to that effect.

Monitoring of "galamsey" operations should have been properly formulated and the appropriate legal regime established for violators to be punished. Nothing of the sort.

And many more, folks. Indeed, this Akufo-Addo administration is worse than incompetent.

I won't be surprised if victims of the "Operation Vanguard" excesses (including the burning of equipment) seek judgement debt payment or some other forms of compensation.

Eventually, what will become of Aisha Huang and her fellow Chinese undesirables and their Ghanaian "galamsey" operators being tried?

Folks, nothing coming from this old Akim dog makes sense anymore. Thus far, many of its policies (if they are worth calling by that name at all) have been rushed through and implemented only to be rolled back when reality hits them hard in the face. What sort of government is this?

I call for massive protests against this malicious move by this sick government to endanger Ghana’s environment in this uncontrollable “galamsey” madness. Is that how to create jobs?
I shall return…