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30.04.2007 General News

Ex-mineworkers vow to defy police

By myjoyonline

About 580 ex-workers of Goldfields Ghana Limited (GGL) are battling the Tarkwa Divisional Command of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) to grant them permission to hold an intended demonstration against the company over the closure of its underground mine.

The group says the closure of the mine subsequently led to their redundancy and as such have decided to hold the said demonstration, to draw attention of the government and the world to the truth behind the closure of the said mine.

Management of GGL, in 1999 closed down the said underground mine.
Although the Tarkwa Police Command has written to the group explaining why it ought to postpone the intended demonstration, the group says it would defy the Police order and go ahead with the demonstration. Consequently, the group has fixed Wednesday, May 2, as the day for the demonstration.

The Area District Police Commander, Mr. S. O. Manford, in a letter requesting the group to postpone their intended demonstration stated: "You are hereby informed that if the demonstration goes on as stated, there is likelihood it may lead to violence, endanger the running of essential services, the right and freedom of other persons, therefore you have to postpone such demonstration."

It continued, "You are advised to seek legal redress of your problems or to contact the appropriate quarters for the solution of your problems. You are hereby to notify the Police of your willingness to comply within forty-eight hours."

The police advice notwithstanding, the Chairman of the Ex-workers Group, Mr. William Attenka told The Chronicle in an interview that the group was bent on going ahead with the intended peaceful demonstration as scheduled.

According to the Chairman, the excuse being given by the Police was not unusual of the Service.

He said as a result, the group had petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Patrick Acheampong, to complain about the attitude of the Police Command in Tarkwa in not granting the permission to hold their said demonstration since February and as well use his office to intervene and grant them the permission to exercise their constitutional right on the day in question.

Mr. Attenka continued in the interview however that their decision to defy the Police order restraining them from holding the said demonstration was as a result of their (Police's) consistent tactics employed over the last three months, by giving flimsy reasons in reply to the numerous letters the group had written to them requesting for permission to hold the said demonstration against their former employers.

He told The Chronicle that their decision to hold the said demonstration was taken early this year and the group had since been communicating with the Police to grant them the permission but the Service had rather become a stumbling block, thwarting their efforts to hold the said demonstration, which was a constitutionally guaranteed right.

He recounted how the group had wanted to hold the said demonstration last Month but the Police cited the golden jubilee anniversary celebration as reason to prevent them from going ahead with their intended demonstration.

Mr. Attenka told the paper that they wrote a reminder to the police after the anniversary celebrations but the Police gave another excuse why the demonstration should not take place.

The Police wrote this time round that, "The Police administration regret to inform you that, there would not be enough men to protect or guide the demonstration, should the demonstration come off. This is due to the numerous operations in and outside the District, where most of the men have been drawn into. You are hereby informed to notify the Police within forty-eight hours."

Base on the numerous excuses to the group, Mr. Atenka told The Chronicle they have decided this time round to defy the Police order and go ahead with the demonstration as scheduled.