Our endowment must not lead to curse – Cardinal Turkson
Cardinal Peter Appiah Turkson, the Chancellor of Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, has expressed concern over the destruction of the country’s water bodies through illegal mining activities.
Delivering the 4th University of Professional Studies’ (UPSA) Leadership Lecture Series in Accra on Wednesday, November 9, 2022, he said the country “should not be carried away by short-term gains” in the quest to make wealth from its natural resources.
The Lecture was on the theme: “The tragedy of the commons: Leadership for the common good”.
Cardinal Turkson said failure on the part of the country to manage its natural resources well could have dire consequences in future.
“Not being able to manage our endowment very well can lead to a curse for us,” he said.
He added: “If we want to embrace long-term vision, let’s embrace that and see how we make short term vision flow into the long-term vision but not pursue short term vision to the detriment of long term vision.”
Some religious leaders recently called for a ban on all small-scale mining activities in the country until a comprehensive responsible mining strategy is instituted.
The religious leaders made the call after touring some mining communities to witness the destruction to the environment by the activities of illegal miners.
Cardinal Turkson urged leaders to understand the realities of the people they are working with, saying: “you cannot exercise true leadership if you do not understand the dignity of the people”.
He also urged the citizenry to come together in solidarity and contribute to the development of everyone, especially the vulnerable and less privileged in society.
“The goods of the earth is not destined for the benefit of one and the exclusion of the other,” Cardinal Turkson said.
Responding to a question on calls for the dismissal of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, Cardinal Turkson said: “One of the ways we have for responding to those type of things are when the time comes for us to exercise our rights, then we either elect or do not elect, approve or do not approve, continue or do not continue.”
He said the electorate exercising their right to vote “is statutory pathway in making our demands heard”.
He said there was a relationship between the electorate and the elected and that the respect of that relationship constituted justice.
“The President respecting the demands of the electorate will be his act of justice. The electorate obeying or heeding to the directive of the leadership part that the President establishes for them will also be their justice,” Cardinal Turkson said.