Eight-seven river guards trained to protect river bodies from illegal mining and other forms of pollution have passed-out at a ceremony inTema.
The guards, including three females, underwent one-month training at the Eastern Naval Command of the Ghana Navy.
They were trained in swimming, water survival techniques, boat handling, incidence reporting and intelligence gathering, among others, to equip them for the impending assignment.
Five of the guards were present led with various performance awards including Joseph Cudjoe, who was named Overall Best Trainee and Best in Boat Handling, Best in Swimming went to BronyaKwaku Junior, Gideon Christian Kwame was named Best in Drill, Best in Leadership was Benjamin Nana Aggrey while John Cobbinah was adjudged Best in Physical Training.
The guards, make-up the first batch of an expected 300 recruits to be trained for the protection of the country’s river bodies.
Addressing the guards yesterday, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr George Mireku Duker said the deployment of river guards was another measure by government to tackle the menace of illegal mining in water bodies.
The guards, he noted, would complement the enforcement efforts of Operation Halt II and operations of the five speed boats to clamp down on mining activities in river beds.
He said they would be permanently stationed on river bodies to drive away illegal miners from perpetuating their criminal activities and report incidences relating to pollution.
He explained that, the guards would work closely with the Riverine Command of the Ghana Navy and Operation Halt II team to stop illegal mining on river beds.
He stated that, government would procure more speed boats, especially the locally manufactured ones as well as body cams in the coming days to support the activities of the river wardens.
As part of government’s efforts to curb illegal mining, he said, 85 District Mining Committees have been constituted to promote and monitor small scale operations in the various districts.
Also, Community Mining Schemes (CMS) were being established in the various mineralised zones across the country to create jobs and also serve as a platform to drive out illegal mining in those areas, the Deputy Minister added.
He advised the river guards to resist bribery and greed and work in the spirit of patriotism, selflessness and integrity while fostering peace and prosperity in their communities.
Commodore Emmanuel AyesuKwafo, Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, described the river guards as a valuable addition to the approaches to dealing with the menace.
He noted that illegal mining was the topmost challenges facing the country and had far-reaching health, social and economic implications.
In this regard, he said there was the need for collaboration between key state institutions to help protect the country’s interest.
The training, he said, was aimed at sharpening the response, coordination and teamwork of the guards as well as instill in them discipline and endurance in water operations.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS