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Opinions of Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Columnist: Asante, Yaw

Open Letter To Sherry Ayitey

YOUR STATEMENT INDICTS GOV’T

Dear Honourable Minister,

I am compelled to write this open letter to you following a statement you made concerning tree-planting in the country to protect our environment.
Your recent call on Ghanaians during the National Arbour Day to plant more trees to save our forests from degradation is very laudable and I believe if we all heed to the advice, the country would be saved from many future environmental catastrophes.

The main reason for reaching you through this medium is to draw your attention to an inconsistency in government’s efforts at protecting the environment.
Madam Minister, isn’t it ironic that, whilst your ministry, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST) is working hard to save our forests and environment through tree-planting exercises, another ministry under your government, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, sees nothing wrong with giving a mining firm, Newmont Ghana Ltd, a mining lease to do surface mining in the Ajenua Forest Reserve in the Eastern Region?
If a mining lease can be given to a firm to mine in a forest reserve against the ECOWAS Protocol our country is signatory to, then there is inconsistency in the way government is handling the issue of deforestation, and an indictment it can not run away from.
From a layman’s point of view, there seems to be no proper coordination between the various ministries, especially those with similar areas of concern, else, I believe your ministry would have stood against the award of the mining lease. If nothing is done to stop the rampant destruction of our forest reserves through the award of contracts to mining firms, a practice that predates this current government, then your efforts would yield very little result.
I am, therefore, appealing to you and other ministries to coordinate to save our forests and environment from destruction, for our lives depend on it.
Thank you
Yaw Asante,
Concerned Citizen