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20.03.2009 General News

Tema Naval Base Cries for help

By Richard Attenkah, Tema - Ghanaian Chronicle

The Flagstaff Officer in Command (FOC) of 1st Garrison at the Eastern Naval Command, popularly known as Tema Naval Base, Matthew Quarshie, has decried the state of the buildings in the command. To him, all the buildings at the base have developed very dangerous cracks, roof leakages and very serious electrical wiring problems, making it difficult for the new trainees to cope with the situation.

According to him, since the establishment of the command, none of the facilities including residential and offices have seen any major renovation. He has, therefore, appealed to the Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Joseph Henry Smith to use his good offices to lobby Cabinet for the acquisition or release of portions of the TDC serviced plots on gratis to the Armed Forces, to aid in their accommodation problems.

He disclosed that the main problem with accommodation in the command is facilities for both residential and office usage. FOC Quarshie made the appeal when the defence Minister toured the Eastern Naval Command (1st Garrison) last Tuesday as part of his programme to visit all the Garrisons in the country to acquaint himself with the activities there.

He also disclosed that presently the command has only one block of accommodation for eight officers and married officers in the command also live in a condemned TDC building at the Kaiser Flats in Community Four (4). “Tenders were posted by the Ministry of Defense (MOD) for invitation of bids for the construction of the senior rates mess on the plot opposite the Naval Base but so far there has been no response as to whether a contract has been awarded or not”, he added.

FOC Quarshie stated that the Junior Ratings Mess which is located outside the base has been declared beyond economic repairs by GE, and the structural defects as well as the cost of repair far exceeded the cost of constructing a new one and so it was suggested that a new mess be put up for the Junior Rates.

He continued that there have also been serious attempts by indigenes to encroach on the Navy lands, adding that this is being prevented even though some of the border demarcation pillars have been removed. He suggested that the border perimeter be fenced to ward off encroachers since individuals are presently building very close to the boundaries.

The FOC of 1st Garrison also disclosed that the state of the vehicles in the command is very precarious and that out of 10 vehicles in the command's inventory, only five are on the road.He added that with the exception of the FOC, none of the Commanding Officers (COs) has a reliable staff car.

He further disclosed that the command's ambulance is currently off road due to serious defects, and therefore the command has to fall on its administrative vehicles to transport personnel who are referred to the 37 Military Hospital. Lt. Gen Joseph Henry Smith commended the team of ENC for the good work they have been doing over the years and most especially during the 2008 general elections.

He also promised to make efforts in taking a critical look at the problems of accommodation and transportation in order to address those issues in the best manner possible.The Minister expressed delight in the fact that the Command has a good relationship with its civilian community. “We should be seen to be doing extra peace-keeping in our own country”, he stated.