Mr William Nsuiban Gmayi, Head of Communications at the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB) has urged members of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), chiefs and stakeholders in the tourism sector to take responsibilities of protecting our Forts and Castles.
He noted that our Forts and Castles have been neglected by the traditional authorities and the MMDAs thereby leaving the site undeveloped and underutilized.
Against this background, he implored the stakeholders to own the sites so as 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 special focus on the Western Region.
He mentioned encroachment regardless of the buffer zone restriction laws by residents as threat to the sites and urged the MMDAs to enact bye-laws that will spell out punitive measures to perpetrators so as to deter them.
He also mentioned poor road networks to the sites, sea and land erosion, sanitation issues, lack of long term planning, structural instability and closeness to security zones which needs some protocols in place to improve public access as some of the threats to the sites.
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 Forts and Castles that dot the coast of present-day Ghana were generally associated with the Trans-Atlantic Trade in enslaved people from West Africa to the Americas.
She said that their inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979 highlights 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 enlightened that the World Heritage Convention was created in 1972, nearly half a century ago as a legal instrument to protect our most outstanding cultural and natural sites around the world.
It has been adopted since by 194 countries including Ghana, nearing universality and is implemented in myriad ways, big and small, by people around the world.