Ga Traditional Council petitions government over tourism project

Accra Tourism projectThe Ga Traditional Council has asked government to extend the cut-off date for submission of claims of the proposed Marine Drive Tourism project in Osu to June 2017.

In a petition to President John Dramani Mahama, the Traditional Council also requested for increased access to the project and greater transparency in releasing relevant information to stakeholders.

The Council, at a press conference, expressed displeasure about the proposed project design and exclusion of some allodial owners from discussions of the project.

It requested that local content, culture, images and symbols be included as a means to reflect cultural identity of the people as well as ensure indigenous artisans, contractors and community members were hired to execute the project.

Mr Kwaku Baprui Asante, ex-President of the Ga Traditional Council, said although they appreciated efforts by government to utilise the coastal land (from the Marine Drive in Osu to Baiden Powell Hall in Ga Mashie) to develop a tourism industry in the capital, they had “legitimate concerns”. 

“We are particularly concerned about the plan to acquire 243 acres of the land and use it primarily for the tourism project while the neighbouring communities of Osu, Ga Mashie, and Jamestown have dire needs for real affordable housing, schools, clinics, fish markets and related facilities, and a cultural and heritage centre,” he said.

Mr Asante said; “The Council wants government to scale back the extent of the acreage for the Marine Drive project and instead develop the remaining acreage for the indigenous Osu and Ga people to meet their dire communal needs.”

He said government was only expected to lease public lands and not outright sale to any foreign investor as per the Constitutional provisions.

He said government could only “acquire privately owned land from allodial owners for public benefit and not for sale to private and foreign investors”.

“The Government’s continual selling of public lands, acquired compulsorily from the Ga and Dangme people, to private people without any benefits to the original allodial owners is confrontational and insensitive,” Mr Asante said.

The Traditional Council urged government to swiftly look at institutionalising 30 per cent equity in all private developments on public lands acquired in Ga and Dangme Traditional areas to a GaDangme Development Trust Fund.

This would take care of development projects, education and promotion of Ga Dangme culture.

Several other issues were raised in the petition including a call on government to consult and liaise with a committee comprising representatives of the Ga, Osu and Jamestown Traditional councils as well as Ga Dangme organisations and community leaders.

The people suggested public hearings be held in the Ga, Osu and Jamestown communities to sufficiently inform and engage community members on the Marine Drive project.

Source: GNA

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