Editorial

Editorial: Yes, this is how a Minister should speak

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Editorial

The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah, has, according to citinewsroom.com report, described the alleged burning of an illegal miner by some security personnel of Adamus Resources Limited as “un-Ghanaian,” which must be thoroughly investigated and dealt with.

Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah, who was speaking during his New Year interaction with journalists in Sekondi, while condemning illegal mining, said the burning of Michael Derry, which resulted in his death, was illegal just as the illegal mining.

“I know that it is very un-Ghanaian for a security person to burn someone. It is very un-Ghanaian. I will also use this opportunity to appeal to people who also want to do galamsey to stop because it doesn’t help anybody.”

“This is because it is somebody’s concession, so why do you go there to steal its gold? It’s not proper. But I also believe that it is un-Ghanaian for a security person to burn a Ghanaian, just because he misbehaved. You can’t take the law into your own hands,” the website quoted him as saying.

“It is always better to wait for the police to finish their investigation properly…We have to get the investigation going, because Adamus Resources Limited is telling us a different story that it was by accident, and that nobody actually set fire on the victim, so let’s wait for the investigation,” he advised.

As admitted by the Minister, investigation into the case has not been concluded yet, but, in our view, he deserves applause for condemning the act, which he described as un-Ghanaian. Illegal mining is now a serious albatross hanging on the neck of this great nation of ours. Our river bodies are being destroyed with careless abandon, but those indulging in the illegal act do not see anything wrong with their actions, so long as they are lining their pockets with cedi notes.

The government has done everything possible to stop these illegal miners, most of who are not even Ghanaians, from destroying our water bodies, including burning excavators seen on site, yet the turbidity level of these water bodies has moved from bad to worse. As we have published elsewhere in this paper today, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is now going to employ permanent river guards, who are going to be resourced with the needed tools to fight the illegal trade.

Though The Chronicle sees this as an opportunity for members of the proposed river guards to enrich themselves, as their Operation Vanguard counterparts reportedly did, it is still an attempt to deal with the situation. Water is life, and we, as a country, cannot sit down for all our water bodies to dry up because of the activities of illegal miners. Already, citizens living in the rural areas are suffering, because all the creeks they rely on as their sources of drinking water have dried up or died completely.

The government is now spending millions of cedis each passing year to drill boreholes for these rural folks. Those living in the cities are lucky because of the existence of the big rivers where the raw water is tapped and treated for supply to them. Unfortunately, these are the rivers the illegal miners are now destroying.  The development makes illegal miners a special enemy of the state who must be fought with all the weapons at its disposal. But, whilst acknowledging this bare fact, it does not, at same time, mean that we should treat illegal miners with cruel hands instead of resorting to the due process of law.

It is, therefore, cruel and, indeed, un-Ghanaian for the security guards of Adamus Resources to have burnt an illegal miner for trespassing on their concession, if it is indeed proven at the end of the day that they carried out the criminal act. The Chronicle, therefore, supports the call by Minister Okyere Darko for the police to conduct thorough and impartial investigations into the case.

If, at the end of the probe, the Adamus Resources security guards are found culpable, they must be dealt with according to the laws of the land, without any show of mercy.

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