Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of the Chamber of Agri-business Anthony Morrison, has lamented the lack of a severe punishment regime for individuals involved in illegal small-scale mining (galamsey), especially to serve as deterrence for those coming into the country.
He said this in an interview with Berla Mundi on the New Day show on TV3, Thursday, April 29.
Mr. Morrison was speaking on the back of the military forces deployed on Wednesday, April 28, to the Western enclave to fight the canker of galamsey, which is destroying water bodies and the ecosystem around the country.
He said “what they should also be doing is to resource those on the ground, the point is that, for them to be able to send the drones out, the interesting thing is that, ones you send the drones out and the drones are capturing, the information doesn’t come to the local people, it goes to national so national will then decide that we are seeing pockets of mining here, let’s go here, but sometimes I don’t know, they allow them to mine for sometime or maybe they are not doing the surveillance as they should on regular basis, maybe every week or every two weeks they send in because it’s a huge area.
“So they should be able to map out these areas and every week or every two weeks they send the drones and the drones capture every possible mining avenues and send it to the national database and the national will then coordinate and move in there. But I think we are not punishing these Chinese enough, well I don’t want to zero in on only the Chinese but the illegal miners, we are not punishing them enough, if the punishment is heavy, there is a deterrent there, people will not see it as a viable option but this is the situation we have now and I think that we need more of such coordinated efforts from the national level”.
Reacting to the question of deferential treatment on the part of the law enforcement institutions meted out to culprits arrested in the act, especially foreigners like the Chinese due to political expediency, Mr. Morrison said “but how many of those people who were arrested and sentenced do you know? How many of them do I know? You see, does the public know that Mr. Kojo or Mr. Kofi was arrested and sentenced to six years? Or a Chinese man was arrested and sentenced, do you know? So if the media can help to bring some of these people out, then the public will know that it’s true people are actually been sentenced, but we don’t know.
“So the deterrent aspect of it, as in deter people from venturing into the illegality has become like, I mean talk, talk, talk and there are no punitive measures, there is no action being taken. These are some of the things we expect, once it’s in court we follow court proceedings like we did the election petition so we see that these people are rightly sentenced, that alone is a deterrent, people know that these people were arrested in this area, so people know that I don’t have to go there, we need to do things of this nature”.
By Barima Kwabena Yeboah|3news.com|Ghana