National Cathedral project is necessary – Former Deputy Attorney General

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A former Deputy Attorney General, Joseph Kpemka Dindiok has said the National Cathedral project is necessary.

He said there was the need to ensure its success to benefit the people.

“The project is necessary and we need to ensure its success for the benefit to trickle down to the people,” he said on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday June 18.

He added “It’s my hope that this project is done before the next government comes in.”

Cape Coast South Member of Parliament Kweku George Ricketts-Hagan for his part, said the deception of the government of President Akufo-Addo regarding the projects is what has become the main issue with the project.

He explained that the project was initially disguised as a private project only for the state to now start injecting public funds into it.

In his view, there is nothing wrong with building the cathedral.

Speaking on the same show he said “He never said he was building the cathedral for Ghanaians, the cathedral was being built in honour of the pledge made by the president that if God helps him to win 2016 elections he will build his church in honour of his name which is something that has been done in the past as I said, by Kings and by other people. There is nothing wrong with that.

“I can choose that if I win the next elections in Cape Coast I will build the cathedral to honour God, that is my personals pledge, I am not building the cathedral for the people of Cape Coast, eventually, all these churches or cathedrals built by Kings and Queens were built as their own personal staff. In the end, it became a treasure for the country.

“You have the St. Peter’s Basilica which is in Rome, the Vatican, Italy built and now it is a tourist destination, you have St Paul’s Cathedral in the UK, London, you have the Church of the Savior on the Spilled Blood in Russia for same purpose, Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, these have become tourist attractions.

“If you go back into history, the intention upon which churches were built was basically to serve God but we see the economics side of it. As I said, there is nothing wrong with that. The wrong is the deception, the wrong is for the president telling us that he is building something which is supposed to be his personal pledge which then becomes private and will be funded by the private sector by going round the world to raise funds and then it happens that it is the state which is gradually and progressively funding this structure. That is where the problem.”

The National Cathedral Secretariat has however clarified that the project is a public project, not private.

“In his first official announcement on the project on March 6, 2017 the President underscored the nature of the project as a national cathedral for interdenominational worship services for the nation. Subsequent elaborations, led to three main reasons as the rationale for the project, namely i) gesture of thanksgiving ii) symbol of the Christian presence and contributions to the nation, and iii) a personal pledge to God. Of these three reasons, the personal pledge came to be associated with the Cathedral as a “private” project that needed to be developed without state support.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the National Cathedral is a National Monument, and thus a public, not private, project. Legally, the National Cathedral of Ghana is a state-owned company limited by guarantee, and was incorporated under the Companies Act, 1963 (Act 179) on July 18, 2019. We hope this brings to a closure the seemingly vexatious issue of whether the National Cathedral is a private or public initiative. The National Cathedral is a National Monument and Asset, and not a Private project. It is, however being developed in partnership between the state and the church,” a statement by the Secretariat on Friday June 17 said.

Regarding this clarification, Mr Ricketts-Hagan said the project must now be subjected to the Public-Private-Partnership laws.

“It should be subjected to the laws of the public private partnership. We have laws on PPP, so we have to go to the beginning of this project and subject it to PPP laws, for this project to come to parliament,” he said.

By Laud Nartey||Ghana

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