Presidential staffer and Secretary to the Ministerial Committee on Galamsey and Small Scale Mining, Charles Onua Wontor Bissue, says former president's comments on galamsey and small scale mining is "unstatesman".
To him, it was unfortunate on the part of the former president to make such comments since the present administration had streamlined measures to stop galamsey activities which was impacting negatively on the environment.
The former President, speaking Saturday at the National Democratic Congress (NDC) unity walk in Kumasi, noted that in the past, soldiers were used to chase the illegal miners (galamseyers) but did not yield anything positive.
He asked the government to come up with a comprehensive mining policy and abandon its current approach to ending the menace which is destroying the environment and the nation's river bodies.
He said: “It is true that if we don’t do something about it, it will destroy the environment. But we need to apply wisdom. Because we’ve chased young people involved in illegal small-scale mining with soldiers in the past in this country but it didn’t work."
He continued: "But if we put a blanket ban and send soldiers after the young people, that is not the way to go. As you stop illegal small-scale mining, at the same time you must put in place a livelihood package so that as you are displacing people from illegal mining, they have something to do….
"But when there is nothing to do but you are just chasing them, shooting them, it is not the way to go."
According to him, his administration had developed a comprehensive policy to deal with the menace, urging the government to look for the document and implement it.
“We [NDC] decided that we will bring a new mining law that will regulate galamsey that persons who do it well will be able to sustain themselves…So immediately, the [Akufo-Addo] government must look at these regulations and come up with good policies so that those who want to do it, will do it within the law,” he said
But speaking on Okay Fm's Ade Akye Abia Programme, Mr Wontor Bissue explained that the former President's comments indicate that he does not appreciate the president's fight against galamsey.
"There are a lot of people who are battling kidney diseases due to the activities of illegal mining. How can you make comments when the people you want to govern are dying as a result of the activities of galamsey operators?" he quizzed.
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