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30.11.2011 Editorial

The treasure hunt at Elmina

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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Six centuries after the discovery by the Portuguese, Elmina is coming alive again. Gold is reported to have emerged from the sandy beaches of the town, and like the Great American Gold Rush, Elmina is reported to have become the hottest spot in the country.

We learn that fortune hunters from all over the country are converging on Elmina to have a bite of the gold. The beaches are being deprived of their sand, as galamsey operators compete with themselves in the new treasure hunt.

There is a threat to tear Elmina apart, and gold diggers are digging anywhere and everywhere for the precious metal. The Chronicle is inviting National Security and the Traditional Council to be interested in how to manage the treasure hunt, in order to preserve the sanctity of the ancient town.

Galamsey operations have caused havoc to many mining communities in the country. The Akyem area is a reference point. That is why The Chronicle is inviting state security to bring sanity to Elmina, before the situation degenerates into something nasty.

In the Holy Book, money is listed as the root of all evil. That is why the mad rush for gold at Elmina cannot be good news for the people.

Already, we are being told that fishermen have abandoned fishing expeditions in search of gold. School children are also said to have abandoned the classrooms for a treasure hunt.

If the operation in Elmina is not properly policed, there is the tendency for crime to soar in the area. In all this, no one could discount the degradation of the environment.

We are told that it was while de-silting the Brenya Lagoon that a group of people discovered that the sand they were putting aside contained gold. Since then, Elmina has not slept. The lagoon, we are told, is a major mining site at the moment. There is digging and excavations going on all over the township.

The Chronicle fears that if state security does not move in to control the exercise, the Elmina Township would be turned upside down. While we need the gold, let us remember that Elmina and its Castle are heritage sites.

It is one of the most booming aspects of the tourism industry in Ghana. We cannot afford to destroy the town, only because a few selfish individuals want to line their pockets.

We are of the view too that the Omanhene of the Edina Traditional Area, Nana Conduah, and his elders, would not want their heritage to be destroyed by treasure hunters.

We are of the view that the chiefs and opinion leaders in Elmina should put their feet down and stop the wanton destruction going on in the name of the hunt for gold.

Elmina is a national heritage site. The state should protect it from people who are dreaming of being rich overnight.

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