The United States (US) Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer, has urged the government of Ghana to put in more effort in the fight against the menace of illegal small-scale mining (‘galamsey‘) in the country.
According to her, Ghana was not making any significant strides in the fight against the menace because only the illegal miners (‘galamseyers’) are arrested while the powerful forces behind them are not touched.
Virginia Palmer, who made these remarks when she paid a courtesy call on the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, added that if the government fails to take urgent steps to stop ‘galamsey’, the country will be in some serious crisis soon.
“We had a congressional delegation from our House of Representatives, Natural Resources Committee, that was here two weeks ago. And they were looking into water pollution, the impact on fisheries from illegal mining.
“This (galamsey) is something, I think Ghanaians must be aggressive in fighting and enforcing regulations that you do have.
“The galamseyers themselves are people who need to make a living. I think the galamseyers are not active in doing it but the powers behind them are the ones truly responsible for the evils. Indeed, they are wreaking real environmental havoc on your rivers which is having an impact on your cocoa crops. All of these things are going to have really negative consequences on the economy of Ghana,” she said.
On his part, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, questioned why Ghana as a country has failed to stop the menace of ‘galamsey’ even after the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has put his political career on the line to stop it.
Asantehene also questioned why the security apparatus in these ‘galamsey’ areas and the taskforce set up by the government have failed to stop the menace.
He intimated that small-scale mining was something that had been done for serveral years but never to the detriment of the environment.
“It (‘galamsey’) has gotten to a point where people are now using equipment and all that. They do not care about the environment.
“But the question is who is in control of the security around the area. From the district level to the highest level. We are all talking about ‘galamsey’. The government set up this military cum police to stop galamsey. Why have we not been able to stop it? Why?” he asked.
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