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29.07.2009 Politics

Fishermen Slam Mills

By Daily Guide
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A CROSS-SECTION of fishermen and fishmongers in some coastal areas in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, have subjected President John Evans Atta Mills and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to verbal assault for failing to honour his promise of ensuring regular supply of pre-mix fuel to fishermen nationwide.

The fishermen alleged that during the December 2008 electioneering campaign, President Mills, who was then the candidate of the NDC, toured some fishing communities in the country and promised fishermen that if voted into power, the NDC would ensure that pre-mix fuel was not in short  supply.

These came to light when DAILY GUIDE visited some fishing communities including Abuesi, New Takoradi, Aboadze and the Naval Base Area in Sekondi to interact with some of the fisher-folk and fishmongers on the alleged shortage of the product.   

The fishermen, who spoke to DAILY GUIDE in an interview, pointed out that for the past four months, they had not been getting pre-mix fuel and had to do with gas-oil which was more expensive. A majority of them could not afford the high prices and therefore could not go fishing.

At Abuesi near Shama, Samuel Obeng, a canoe fisherman, who was visibly annoyed because of pre-mix shortage in the system, noted that President Mills had not dealt well with fishermen in the country since he assumed office.

He stressed that even though there was no shortage of pre-mix fuel in the country during the time of New Patriotic Party (NPP), the then candidate Mills visited fishermen during his campaign and lied to them that the NPP was distributing the product to its members only and that the practice would stop under an NDC government.

“As I speak now, those who had been mandated to sell pre-mix fuel here at Abuesi are all activists of the current NDC government, but the product is not available for us. Whether or not the pre-mix fuel has been diverted is another story,” he alleged.

Benjamin Narh, the owner of boat number EL 5 at the Sekondi Fishing Harbour, corroborated the story and slammed the NDC government for the predicament of fishermen in the country, adding that “the devil you know is always better than the angel you don't know”.

According to him, July and August were the months for their bumper catch but as a result of the pre-mix shortage, their situation was precarious and the government did not seem to care a hoot about it, no matter the moves and appeals made to the authorities.

“Loans and monies we borrowed to repair our canoes and new nets and other fishing gear with the hope of repaying during this period of bumper harvest have all gone to waste,” he echoed.

According to DAILY GUIDE independent investigations, fishermen in the Sekondi-Takoradi, Axim, Half Assini, Abuesi, Aboadze, Shama and other coastal areas in the Western Region are gearing up to join their colleagues in the Central Region to embark on a massive demonstration against the NDC  government for worsening their situation.  

Efforts to get the officials of the Cooperative Fishermen Services Centre, who are in charge of the bulk distribution of the pre-mix fuel, proved futile as their offices were closed as at 11.00 am yesterday when DAILY GUIDE visited the place.

From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi

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