Commercial activities came to halt in Sekondi-Takoradi yesterday, when hundreds of drivers in the metropolis staged a demonstration on some principal streets, protesting against loading at unapproved lorry parks.
The three–hour demonstration affected commuters who were stranded at Kojokrom and Sekondi in their attempt to go to Takoradi for official or commercial transactions.
As early as 6am, the demonstrators, some clad in red ‘T’ shirts and wearing red bands around their arms and heads, had converged at the Jubilee Park at Tanokrom, ready for the march, which was an ultimatum to the metropolitan assembly to stop drivers engaged in the practice.
Amidst brass band and ‘Kolomashie’ music, they marched through the Kwame Nkrumah (Edzii) roundabout, All Needs Supermarket traffic light, Super StarHotel, Paa Grant Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital, St John’s School,Prisons and ended at the premises of the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA).
Others, also with their cars festooned with red bands, massed up on the streets and marched to Sekondi, as they tooted and honked their horns.
The drivers carried placards which read‘PM shine your eyes, the guards are smart, ‘STMA is interested in selling government lands for private developers than opening lorry parks’, ‘STMA is killing our jobs’, ‘Wayside loading should be stopped’, ‘STMA guards are bookmen of PROTOA, what a pity’, ‘GPRTU is not autocratic’, ‘STMA do not undermine GPRTU’,‘GPRTU is law abiding’, ‘STMA is turning filling stations in the city into lorry parks beware’ and ‘STMA guards stop collecting loading fees from bombing drivers’.
Before the exercise began, the Secretary for the Ahanta District Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Mr. Issac Ansah and the Regional Vice Chairman, Mr. Jonathan Tandoh, advised the demonstrators to be law abiding and avoid any violent acts which would mar the beauty and concerns of the union.
They said that if they did not get any meaningulf reply from the officials, they would pour onto the streets again.
A petition signed by the Secretary for the Ahanta District GPRTU, Mr. Issac Ansah and presented to the STMA, issued a three-day ultimatum to the assembly to stop the loading at unapproved locations.
According to the GPRTU the complaints, and letters they had written to the assembly had yielded no positive results,
They said the floating drivers caused lorry accidents because they drive recklessly, over speed and do wrongful overtaking.
“We are therefore, petitioning the authorities to stop such illegalities which can result in fire outbreak, and looting at the unapproved locations in the metropolis.After three days of this petition, if the assembly fail to remove all these unauthorised loading points in the metropolis, drivers of recognised stations will come to the streets to operate,” the petition warned.
Meanwhile, as at 7.30am when the demonstration was on course, The Ghanaian Times observed that there were brisk business at the Edzii Filling Station and a location close to the runway of the Takoradi Airport. Some recalcitrant drivers loaded passengers for the Agona Nkwanta, Tarkwa and Accra routes.
Receiving the petition, Madam Charlotte Otuwa Odum, Chief Executive said the authorities had already visited those unapproved lorry stations, assuring that steps would be taken to address their complaints.
From Clement Adzei Boye & Raissa Sambou, Tanokrom