June 2, 2021

The Majority leader Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu has defended the action of the Operation Halt in burning excavators found at illegal mining sites.

Addressing the Parliamentary Press corps, during the leaders’ media briefing on Wednesday June2, 2021, the leader of Government Business said there is a need for reality check to help salvage the environment to remain useful to us and for future generations as enshrined in the constitution.

according to him, the law provides that when an operator using excavator illegally is chanced upon, that person must be arrested; but when you have a situation as happening now, where you go to a river body where the excavator is not supposed to be there in the first place , and the person who is operating it upon hearing that you are advancing vanishes, then removes the vital part, if you want to remove it, you can’t remove it, what do u do? As I said in parliament, you further demobilize it.”

 He wondered why a country like Ghana, currently has over 5000 excavators, when it is the least used equipment for road construction in which it is used for excavation for drains, and dredging of streams for the construction of bridges. “How can you have in this country, excavators now numbering over 5000?

“Today, streams feeding rivers have been diverted, and hugely polluted. Look, if you take the top soil 2feets, it takes 200years for the soil to replenish itself. If u dug 100 meters, how long will it take? He queried.

He asserted that minerals on the surfaces of the ground, in water bodies, and underneath the soil are all vested in the president on behalf of the state, and noted that a research conducted showed that for just one year, export of gold to Dubai amounted to 2.5 billion dollars. “What is the share of the state in that? Nothing, because these galamseyers don’t pay tax on anything. They smuggled whatever they have or chanced upon through foreign countries. We must be candid with ourselves”

He also mentioned that the forest cover of this country in the 20th century was 8.5 million hectors, but by the 21century it has dwindled to 1.5 million. “Now within the past ten years, no thanks to galamsey, we have lost 500,000 hectors of forest cover. Today as we speak, the forest cover of this country is less than 600,000. Where are we going as a country?

He said the effect of the galamsey is the inability of the Komenda Sugar factory to produce sugar because the raw water that is supposed to be pump from the Pra River to irrigate the farm has been mudded, and the cyanide content in the water cannot be purified, and even if treated water is used it would have effect on the production cost.

He advised that for these reasons, we must confront reality, and do what we can to avert further destruction to the environment including water bodies.

Dominic Shirimori/Ghanamps.com