Let’s preserve our collective memory

We focus our editorial comment today on an article authored by Felix Nyarko Ampong, the acting Director of Public Records and Archives Administration Department (PRAAD), published in the Friday, October 20 issue of our newspaper, Ghanaian Times.
The PRAAD is a state institution mandated to archive all documents that have been carefully and professionally appraised and selected based on their primary, evidential and legal values, for preservation for future reference and research.

We understand, among the vital documents and archival materials in the custody of the PRAAD include geological survey report on search for oil in Ghana, with table and map of oil drilling activities in Ghana since 1896, exploration for oil offshore (discovery of oil in the Ivory Coast), progress on oil prospecting in Ghana, exploration of oil offshore, Tano Basin Exploration, acts and legislation relating to petroleum matters.

Other documents are records concerning the Aborigines Rights Protection Society, the bond of 1844, the Independence seal and many others.

We note the significant role the PRAAD played in making available important documentations for Ghana to build a strong case in our maritime boundary dispute with our neighbour, La Cote d’Ivoire, which resulted in a landmark ruling in our favour, delivered by the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

We, note with regret and we share in the concern raised by the acting director of PRAAD, the seemingly unrecognisable part played by PRAAD in the tall list of individuals and state institutions in securing for our dear country, a sweet victory in a historical international legal battle.

Regrettably, we are further touched by sentiments raised by the acting director in his article:”As a department housing the collective memory of the nation, it is not receiving any special attention aimed at making these records available at all times. It is disheartening to say that about 98 per cent of all the records in PRAAD are still paper-based and most of the records within the category of rare documents are deteriorating at a very alarming rate.”

Certainly, we are convinced that the acting director is raising these issues based on national interest and not his selfish parochial interest.

We, therefore, associate ourself with the genuine and legitimate concerns about the deteriorating state of the institution responsible for the protection of our collective memory and urge the authority to  act with utmost dispatch, to save the PRAAD: and  for that matter, the collective memory of our dear country.  For, when PRAAD deteriorates, Ghana sinks!!

We are aware that the government is vigorously pursuing an e-governance project.

We believe that the time to focus the lenses of the e-project on the PRAAD is now!!

Let’s preserve our collective memory

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