Ms Helen Adjoa Ntoso, Eastern Regional Minister, said development could only take place in a peaceful atmosphere and, therefore, charged traditional and local government authorities to find lasting solutions to issues that divided the people.
“Let our differences in opinion be our democratic strength but not our democratic weakness. Let us search diligently for peace and unity without compromising our efforts to develop our areas of jurisdiction,” she said.
Ms Ntoso was addressing an emergency meeting of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs in Koforidua on Friday.
She appealed to the leaders of the various traditional councils to ensure that differences in opinion were handled with tact and circumspection so as to maintain peace and order.
She urged them to count on the Judiciary to expedite action on the adjudication of the backlog of cases pending before it.
“My doors are wide open for credible solutions in consultation with the relevant parties to help disputants resolve their differences in a win-win situation rather than settlement in a win-lose situation”.
Ms Ntoso said the premium that the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) placed on the maintenance of peace and security in the region was supreme and indicated her determination to ensure that the security of the region was not compromised.
“I will ensure that the RCC, in collaboration with the Regional Peace Advisory Council and Municipal/District Security Councils, maintain security of the region as top priority,” she said.
The Regional Minister expressed worry about the rate at which the environment was being degraded by activities of illegal miners often referred to as “galamsey”.
She said apart from the danger “galamsey’ pits posed to unsuspecting persons within the mining communities, the pollution of water bodies like the Birim River had also become a big threat to the health and survival of the people.
Ms Ntoso said the low fine prescribed by the mining law had not helped the "anti-galamsey" campaign as offenders readily paid the fines to the courts and their equipment returned to them.
She mentioned illegal lumbering as another unpatriotic activity confronting the region with Suhum being the epicenter where lumber loaded trucks converged and moved in convoy in the night to Accra and other destinations.
“Here also punitive measures by the courts are not deterrent enough as the seized lumber is auctioned to the general public and the trucks returned to their owners”.
Ms Ntoso said the activities of Fulani herdsmen who, apart from the degradation of the environment by their cattle, also indulged in criminal activities such as rape, murder, and armed robbery, posed a big threat to the security of the region.
She, therefore, appealed to the chiefs and the municipal/district assemblies to work collectively to halt those security threats.
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