Mr William Nsuiban Gmayi, Head of Communications of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB), has urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and other stakeholders in the tourism sector to protect the forts and castles of the country.
He noted that the forts and castles had been neglected by the traditional authorities and the MMDAs, thereby, leaving the site undeveloped and underutilised.
He implored the stakeholders to own the sites to protect and preserve them to be in good shape to attract tourists and investors.
Mr Gmayi gave the advice at a stakeholders’ forum in Takoradi to interact and discuss issues bothering forts and castles to help in the preparation of management plan for the Volta, Greater Accra, Central and the Western Regions with a special focus on the Western Region.
He mentioned encroachment regardless of the buffer zone restriction laws by residents as a threat to the sites and urged the MMDAs to enact bye-laws that would spell out punitive measures to perpetrators to deter them.
Madam Natalyn Oye Addo, Site Manager, forts, and castles of the GMMB who took participants through the significance of the forts and castles said the many of them dotted along the coast of present-day Ghana were generally associated with the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
She said their inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979 highlighted the importance of their position in Atlantic history.
However, “the forts and castles were not only part of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade but many also became part of the emerging British colonial state on the Gold Coast in the late 19th century.”
Madam Natalyn indicated that the World Heritage Convention was created in 1972, nearly half a century ago as a legal instrument to protect the most outstanding cultural and natural sites around the world.