The Yuletide is here with us once again and as usual the Police Administration has started warning the public to stop the sale and distribution of fire crackers, popularly known as ‘knock out’.
According to the police, sometimes it is very difficult for them to differentiate between real gun fires and the sound made by ‘knock outs’ when detonated. They (police) have, therefore, threatened to arrest anyone who tries to use the product and those selling them to the public.
Looking at the fact that Ghana has just come out of the general election and some skirmishes are being reported from some parts of the country, it makes sense for the police to enforce the ban on the usage of the product, especially when the law enforcement agency has admitted that sometimes it is very difficult to differentiate the sound of fire crackers from that of a gun.
Indeed, some of the fire cracks, when detonated, sound like actual gun fire. Criminals can, therefore, use it to deceive the police when they want to commit crime. Besides, fire crackers can sometimes be dangerous when it is indiscriminately used. It could catch fire especially in homes that habour inflammatory material.
Those who have been following international news might have also heard about the explosions that had occurred in Mexico City, killing several people and injuring others. The enclave where the accident occurred harbours several plants that manufacture fire crackers.
Here in Ghana, fire crackers had caused preventable deaths in the past, including the burning of cars and vehicles. It was based on this that the police decided to enforce the laws banning the sale and distribution of fire crackers.
Regrettably, these fire crackers keep on flooding our markets when the yuletide approaches, with the police looking on helplessly. The Custom division of the Ghana Revenue Authority is also giving alibi that that it does know how the products get onto the Ghanaian market.
According to their Public Relations unit, containers coming through our ports are well scrutinized and that they do not know how the importers of the fire crackers get the products onto the market.
The Chronicle finds it difficult to understand the failure of the police to fully enforce the laws by arresting those breaking them and the excuse being given by the GRA.
If the police really want to enforce the laws prohibiting the importation of the fire crackers, they could have gone to the various markets and arrest the traders, who would then lead them to the source of their supply of the products. But this has never been done, save the usual warning to the public, which is not helping to address the situation.
On the part of the custom division of the GRA, the excuse they are giving does not hold water. Indeed, if The Chronicle is to accept it hook line and sinker, it would mean that anyone who wants to bring even guns to cause confusion in the country can easily do so without being detected by them.
Yes, smuggling cannot totally be eliminated in Ghana, but to suggest that these fire crackers are brought through unapproved routes into the country is a complete indictment on the GRA.
There is no way the GRA can convince us that some of these fire crackers are not imported either through the Tema Port or Kotoka International Airport.
The Chronicle is, therefore, calling on the police in particular to be up and doing or shut up and stop disturbing our ear drums about the ban that has been imposed on the importation of the products. Ghanaians are tired of their rhetoric – what they want now is action.