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RE: Atewa District bauxite deal opposers are galamseyers- Minister for Environment


Date: Friday July 5, 2019, 2:58 pm


By: WatchGhana.Com/Kamil S. Amadu


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The attention of the Concerned Citizens of the Atewa Landscape and by extension
its collaborators, has been drawn to what we call unfortunate statements by Prof.
Frimpong Boateng, Minister for Environment, branding us as galamseyers and of
double standards.
All because, we are calling for judicious use of our fast depleting
natural resources, and particularly also asking government not to target Atewa
Range Forest for the bauxite development agenda, because of its crucial service of
providing water for over 5 million Ghanaians and at the same time, providing other
priceless ecosystems services for Ghanaians and the global community as a whole.
The statement by the Minister is not only unfortunate but definitely a travesty of
justice and betrayal of the confidence, we have placed in our public officers to
secure our natural resources and also particularly because we respect Prof
Frimpong Boateng. Nonetheless, we of the Concerned Citizens of the Save Atewa
Landscape are not the least worried because that has been the behavior of
government functionaries since we committed to stay true to our convictions and
resist any attempts to mine in a watershed that is contributing significantly to our
water needs as country and helping us build resilience to climate change. Do we
have to fight our government and be called names, just because we believe in
securing our natural resources for posterity?
We are sure, the general public has seen through the pettiness of the Minister for
Environment and no rejoinder would have been necessary. However, we see this
also as an opportunity for us to clarify a few points thereby drawing the attention
of the Minister of Environment, to the lip service and neglect of their duty to
manage our natural resources and protect the citizenry from harmful
environmental polluting activities, a task that clearly they have abandoned.
A drowning man would out of desperation clutch at any straw for survival, but
eventually would drown. Such actions we assure the Prof. will not distract us to lose our focus so the earlier he and his cohorts in governance refrain from tagging us
the better. We are focused in our avowed policy direction.
Now to set the records straight. The membership of the Concerned Citizens of the
Save Atewa Landscape have never indulged in galamsey and will never do such a
dastardly act to desecrate the very environment we seek to protect.
Prof. we crave your indulgence to go back to memory lane to the visit of our high
powered delegation of the group on the 18th of April 2018, in your office office at
the Ministry of Environment where we deliberated on many environmental issues.
We were amazed at your resourcefulness and desire to see Atewa forest protected
for all its worth a forest reserve, and also more because you grew up within the
landscape and recall how aesthetically refreshing and healthy the forest
environment created for you as a young and growing child back in the days. We
also recall urging you to use your leadership position as the Chair of the Inter-
Ministerial Task Force on galamsey to ensure that illegal galamsey activities that
has moved into the Atewa Forest were curtailed.
Again, we remind the Hon Minister of our Press Conference organized on the 22nd
of March 2019 at the Press Center in Accra, not so long ago, where we publicly
threw more light on illegal activities going in the Atewa Forest and the need for the
Forestry Commission and Police as well as the Vanguard to be up and doing. It is
clearly ironic and unfortunate for the Hon. Minister to ignore all these warnings we
put out, and rather turn around to indicate that we are all galamseyers. This is a
clear case of bad faith and double standards on the part of the Hon Minister, and
one does not need second guess to agree with us.
We see double standards, when you betray trust of the masses in the protection of
the environment the core mandate of the Ministry which you head.
We see double standards and bad faith, particularly on the part of the CEO of the
Forestry Commission, who has surprisingly back tracked and denied giving us his
full support when we passed through his office on our walk to the Jubilee House to
present our petition to government. What you all seem to forget is that walls have
ears, and the double standards exhibited is appalling.
Maybe we should also remind the Hon Minister that, the Atewa Forest is gazetted
in law as a Forest Reserve and classified under several protection regimes as Hill
Sanctuary, Important Bird Area and also a Globally Significant Biodiversity Area
(GSBA). The responsibility to manage and secure this forest from all threats that
will compromise the integrity of this forest lies first of all, with the state agencies
who are mandated by law, working in collaboration with surrounding communities
and in partnerships with development partners as indicated in the Forest and
Wildlife Policy of 2012. In this regard, any blame, for the failure to prevent or
prohibit entry for activities that compromise the ecological integrity of the forest,
and is at variance with the purpose and objects for which the forest was gazette
should be put at the door step of the state agencies who are given state resources
to make sure all our forests stay protected and secured for critical ecosystem
services they provide.
Who Hon. Minister is exhibiting double standards, especially when these state
agencies refuse to be proactive and only take reactional measures to address clear
threats to our natural forest estates. You saw the warnings, and even if you claim
you did not, we informed you about them, but you still refused to act appropriately
and timely. Before you can accuse us of double standards, we believe you need to
seriously examine your ranks and come again. Where has the EPA, Minerals
Commission, Forestry Commission been all this while to merit the President putting
his presidency on the line to fight galamsey.
Communities and Civil Society Networks and Alliances together with national and
international development partners, remain and will stay committed for as long as
the state create an enabling environment. It is crucial to also ensure that we pursue
inclusive governance of our natural resources and also give communities and
development partners the opportunity and tools to contribute to the sustainable
management of our natural resource estates. What is important here is that, the
state agencies should avoid the common place double standards where, they speak
virtue and act differently.
The Minister also talks of responsible mining to preserve flora and fauna just as the
President has being emphasizing all along. To these assertions we say “huu” in the
Akan parlance.
The bauxite is not in liquid form to use suction pressure to extract. First the
vegetation and the topsoil will have to be removed and then the rocks are blasted
and crushed to extract the bauxite ore. The entire forest cover has to be wiped
away and, in this way,, what would be the fate of the flora and fauna. Forests act
as covers for our river sources, so wiping off the forest cover, will lead to the drying
up of these rivers and streams. With the habitat of the mammals cleared to a bald
landscape where would the animal life be.
We put out a challenge to the government on the 4th of June for them to show us
the kind of methods the likes of Prof. and the President say they would employ to
extract the bauxite without destroying the forest and all the other services it
provides permanently.
Prof. we say NO to mining in the reserved and please avoid the politics of deception
that you are treading because it’s a very dangerous terrain.
We challenge the Hon. Minister to show proof to buttress his unfortunate claims
else he should apologize to all well-meaning Ghanaians who are against plans to
convert our most magnificent watershed into a mine pit, and rather help to the
preserve, conserve and eventually designate the Atewa Forest Reserve as a
National Park.
Thank you.
Signed
Hon. Oteng Adjei (0244518750 / 0264518750)
Hon. Akyeano Tabi 0247-896109
Rev. Collins Amoah 0245-520080
Nana Ampem Darko-Amponsah - 0244245373

Source: WatchGhana.Com/Kamil S. Amadu

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Author: WatchGhana.Com    Verified

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