Our editorial yesterday called for multifaceted approach to the fight against illegal mining, otherwise known as galamsey.
Today, our lead story, whose source is the bi-weekly Minister’s Briefing organised by the Ministry of Information in Accra yesterday, appears to be responding to that editorial.
In this story the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, provides various ways which the government intends to use to strengthen the fight against galamsey.
It is obvious the minister had prepared for his briefing before we wrote our editorial, but we are happy the details of his briefing dovetail into our position regarding the fight against the heinous crime of galamsey.
Therefore, we encourage the government to adopt all means backed by law, political will, boldness and consistency to fight galamsey so that neither a Ghanaian nor a foreigner would be favoured or discriminated against.
We are saying this in relation to the fact that the fight is now
going to be focused on foreign nationals and the kingpins or barons sponsoring activities of illegal miners in order to cut the sources of funding and also help deal with the menace in a very holistic and effective manner.
We are particularly happy about the government’s sustained commitment to this fight since its introduction in July 2017.
Yesterday, we made a point that the number of galamseyers so far prosecuted is too small to show the intensity of the fight, considering the huge numbers of galamseyers in the various parts of the country.
We gave the impression that the numbers so far were not good enough to portray the seriousness of the fight.
We shelved our guess that the prosecution process might be a major cause and rather appealed to the security personnel to intensify their efforts and make more arrests.
It is, thus, heart-warming that the Lands Minister says the Attorney-General is working to ensure expeditious trial of all illegal mining cases and all those found culpable made to face the full rigours of the law.
Yesterday, we also called for a stop to people of clout pleading for arrested galamseyers to be freed.
To that end, we are more than happy that to remove the issue of influence, the security personnel deployed in the fight have been empowered to take orders only from their command, not the policy makers and, of course, not other influencers like chiefs.
Just as we did yesterday, today too we wish to remind the courts of their pivotal role in the fight against galamsey and go further to say that majority of Ghanaians would be happy if the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2019 (Act 995) is strictly applied.
The reason is that compared to its predecessors, it is a law that metes out stiffer punishments for people engaged in illegal mining, Ghanaians and foreigners alike.
While most Ghanaians would rejoice over the renewal of the fight against galamsey because of its harmful effects, the Ghanaian Times would like to call attention to how foreigner galamseyers can be isolated from native Ghanaians.
It would not be surprising that some foreigners, especially West African nationals, can be identified as Ghanaians and given less punishments than they deserve under the law.
The victory of the galamsey fight would benefit the whole country, so let every Ghanaian join it.