Artisans and vocational skill workers occupying portions of land belonging to the Community Development Vocational and Technical Institute in Sunyani, have appealed to the government to quickly intervene, as the school authority is ejecting them.
The more than 1,500 artisans and their apprentices comprising carpenters, auto mechanics, electrical engineers, tailors and dressmakers and other private enterprises feared their businesses would collapse as the institute fences its 11.2 hectares of land closed to the site of the Sunyani main garages.
According to them, since the institute allowed them to occupy and operate on the land in 1987, they continued to pay levies to the Sunyani Municipal Assembly, and they had nowhere to relocate if the institute moved them out of the land.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani, Nana Osei Kyeretwie, the spokesman for the artisans, called on the Member of Parliament for Sunyani East, Mr. Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh to also intervene for them as their activities remain the only source of their economic livelihood.
He explained that the workers petitioned the Sunyani Traditional Council and the Municipal Assembly over the matter, but the School authorities had failed to obey the directives from the two institutions and had started the fencing project which would automatically displace them.
“We the artisans even served as practical workshops for most of the students of the Institute,” Nana Kyeretwie stated.
When contacted, Madam Mercy M. Tsistsiwu, the Headmistress of the Institute, expressed discomfort with the way private enterprises were encroaching on the School’s land.
She said the porous security situation at the Institute was greatly affecting teaching and learning, hence the need for the fencing project.
When the GNA visited the School, there was heavy Police and Military presence since the final year students of the Building and Construction Unit were erecting the fence wall as their practical examination.
Madam Tsistsiwu said before the start of the project, the authorities served the occupants with notices, but they failed to comply with the order to move away from the land.
On other matters, the Headmistress expressed concern over inadequate infrastructure including classroom blocks, staff accommodation, as well as modern tools and equipment, and pleaded with the government to come to their aid.
She said the Institute which was established in 1982 with eight students now has 600 students pursuing courses in Plumbing, Carpentry and Joinery, Auto Mechanics and Electrical works.