Managers of Overseas Commerce International, a container terminal in the Sakumo wetlands, ordered their security to show off defiance and strength when the Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) toured the area to ascertain encroachment of the Ramsar site.
Immediately they saw the group, they rushed around the outer walls of the company in patrol vehicles and equipment but Mr. Felix Mensah Nii Annan-La, MCE, who was in the company of the members of the Committee on Ramsar and Slum Areas (RSA) of the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), looked away as he embarked on his tour.
Residents of Community 3 have persistently protested against the siting of the company in the area because of noise and dust pollution they are subjected to as a result of the operations of the company.
The tour was to gain firsthand knowledge of the extent of encroachment of the Ramsar site and Slum areas by developers and settlers.
Mr. Felix Mensah Nii Annan-La, MCE of Tema said, “Today we are on a site-seeing and fact-finding mission to these areas then we will go back and analyze our plans based on what we have seen so far. As you can see there are a whole lot of encroachments going on; you can see beautiful houses put up here. It’s an issue and we have to look into it.”
Talking to the press, Mr. Annan-La indicated that it was certain some of the structures would have to be pulled down “but that would be after the committee has sat down to study the situation and made recommendations.”
He added that “anybody at all can issue permits, but whether it is valid or not is another issue.”
He said the Committee would investigate all such claims and find out who gave them those permits as a way of sanitizing the system.
He added that “Ramsar site is a green area and we all know what green areas produce for the community; they produce fresh air and protect the ecosystem which make life easy for everybody.
He observed the influence of the chiefs in solving the problem and his desire to seek their assistance.
He said, “As we talk now, the chiefs are part of the Ramsar and Slum Area Committee. We are not doing it in isolation; we are involving them, and at an appropriate time we will come out with the action plan.”
Joining the MCE for the tour were the Tema Press Corps, Tema Metropolitan Director of National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), officers of the Tema Regional Command and the Forestry Commission (FC).