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Prestea Boils Over Govít Failed Promise
 
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30-Jan-2015  
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The turf-war between the Mahama administration and chiefs and youth of Prestea in the Huni-Valley District of the Western region over the former’s refusal to honour a campaign promise in re-opening the Prestea Underground Mine which has been closed down since 2002 is far from over, Today can report. 

Credible information available to Today indicates that the chiefs and queen mothers, on one hand, and some executive members of the Concerned Citizens Association of Prestea (COCAP) and Voices of Tomorrow Leaders Foundation (VOTOLEAF) on the other hand, have dropped hints of their intention to meet President John Dramani Mahama at the Flagstaff House in Accra in the coming days.

The move, according to sources, would form part of efforts by the Prestea-Himan chiefs to brief President Mahama on how the western regional minister, minister of mines and natural resources, has not fulfilled the promise of re-opening the Prestea Underground Mine they made on behalf of the central government to them in Prestea-Himan last year.

The promise was made when the then Minister of Mines and Natural Resources, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, and the then minister of roads met the chiefs and people of Prestea-Himan Divisional Area to understand the issues better after residents in the area staged a massive demonstration on Tuesday, January 27, 2014 to protest what they described as the “deplorable state of the town and worsening economic conditions.”

During that meeting, Mr. Inusah Fuseini, who was flanked by the member of Parliament (MP) for Prestea-Huni Valley Constituency, Mr. Francis Adu Blay-Koffie, and the District Chief Executive (DCE) of the area, Mr. Wisdom Cudjoe, assured that the Prestea Underground Mine, which is the nerve of the people and a major source of livelihood, will be re-opened before the end of 2014.

The mine has been lying dormant for some time due to the lack of resources.
The then sector minister who on behalf President Mahama gave the assurance to the people of Prestea said a mobile road maintenance unit has been dispatched to start work on the Prestea and other adjoining roads which were in deplorable state.

Until recently the town had come under adverse attack from ‘galamsey’ operators mainly by foreigners.

“…the resuscitation of the underground mine was at the heart of late President Mills’ programmes and he had even begun steps towards working on it before he passed on,” the minister noted.

Mr. Inusah was reported to have assured residents of Prestea that the NDC would  deliver on its promise.
But one year down the lane, President Mahama and his NDC government, the Prestea chiefs and people said, have turned a deaf ear on their continuous call on them to fulfil that promise.

The president continuous refusal, Today learnt, has compelled the chiefs of Prestea to pay a courtesy call on President Mahama with the aim of drawing the president’s attention to that.

Speaking in an interview with Today on Monday, January 26, 2015, spokesperson for COCAP and VOTOLEAF, Mr. Dominic Nyame, noted that the chiefs and people were also angry at the Mahama administration over a litany of unfulfilled promises made to the people of the area.

“We are getting tired…anytime we invite ministers of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to talk about development of the area, they only come to repeat the same promises. In fact, we are tired of these repeated promises,” Mr. Nyame angrily expressed.

Asked exactly what the chiefs and people of Prestea would be telling President Mahama when they get the opportunity to meet him, Mr. Nyame noted that: “The chiefs and people of Prestea will tell the president about the series of letters they sent to the western regional minister’s office in Takoradi and ministries of mines and natural resources and roads/highway as well as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the re-opening of the Prestea Underground Mine and poor road network.”

He further noted that at that intended meeting the chiefs would spell out a list of unfulfilled promises by the NDC government.

He added that the chiefs and people of Prestea would also tell President Mahama how surface mining in the area was killing them.

Earlier in an interview, the member of Parliament for the area, Mr. Blay-Koffie, told Today that 13 years of the closure of the underground mine was enough to elicit government’s intervention.

He said the closure of the mine had rendered more than 5,000 people unemployed, making them and their families wallow in poverty.

A visibly angry MP therefore called for the immediate re-opening of the mine.

“If Golden Star Resources cannot re-open the underground mine, government should take it back and hand it over to another company to employ our men,” he said.

The MP also asked for the immediate rehabilitation of roads in the area.

When Today reached the Group Manager in-charge of Corporate Affairs of the Golden Star Resources Limited, Mr. Gerard Hillary Osei Boakye, he gave the assurance that his outfit was ready to reopen the Prestea Underground Mine.

He therefore appealed to people in Prestea to channel their grievances through the appropriate quarters for redress.
 
 
 
Source: Today
 
 

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