Former Secretary to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, Charles Bissue has contended that the government has not lost the fight against ‘galamsey’.
There have been growing concerns about the fight against the menace particularly with the re-arrest and subsequent charges against ‘galamsey’ queen, Aisha Huang for engaging in illegal mining activities.
This has led several Civil Society Organisations and the Minority in Parliament to question President Akuffo-Addo’s commitment to fight the canker.
But Mr. Bissue in an interview on Top Story, Thursday, noted that government is not wavering in this commitment.
“We have not failed because first of all, the bold step by the President to come up and say that let us ban small scale mining and then actually re-organise ourselves and all that was done. Everything travelled into the roadmap,” he said.
He also recounted how during his administration as the Secretary to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, a lot of actions such as Operation Vanguard, the campaign to stop Galamsey, etc were undertaken to put a stop to the canker.
“Let us remember I was working under ten Ministries and each Ministry had something doing at each point in time. For example, Operation Vanguard was under Interior and Defense Ministry, Chieftaincy dealt with the Chiefs so remember myself, Kofi Dzamesi, Dan Botwe, Hajia Alima you can see that synergy there. We travelled across the country together and educated the chiefs then came the community sensitization so people were sensitized…everybody felt involved,” he added.
The Presidential Staffer stressed that there was even drone training for some persons who were used to monitor the various galamsey sites.
“…it [drones] could be over 200 because there were levels of them. We even had two bigger ones which could travel more than 200km and there were other ones. We had to train the District Mining Committee members, the young guys, about 144 people who went for training at Civil Aviation, they got certification from UMaT…and it worked.”
Meanwhile, Ranking Member on Defence and Interior Committee, James Agalga has asked President Akufo-Addo to get rid of ‘big characters’ in his government who are deeply involved in illegal mining activities.
The Builsa North MP noted that until such a measure is implemented, the fight against ‘galamsey’ will be an illusion.
“Government must start being proactive. They must get rid of the internal characters who are neck-deep involved in ‘galamsey’ activities but in one way or the other have found their way into government.
“For me, that is the starting point. When government is able to rid itself of the elements involved in ‘galamsey’ from within, then we would be able to tackle the problem head-on,” he said on JoyNews’ The Pulse, Tuesday.