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04.03.2012 Editorial

EDITORIAL: Retooling Our Security Agencies

By Daily Graphic - Daily Graphic
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Ghana has witnessed some challenges in the management of its maritime domain in the recent past.

The recent oil spillage at Asemkow in the Ahanta West District and tarballs along the beaches of Axim, both in the Western Region, denying hundreds of residents and tourists access to the beaches, readily comes to mind.

The challenges the Ghana Navy had in tracking the MV Benjamin vessel is another example of the numerous difficulties that Ghana has faced in the management of its maritime environment.

It, therefore, came as no surprise when people began to question the capability of the Ghana Navy in policing our maritime boundaries when oil was discovered in commercial quantities, against the backdrop of piracy, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, dumping of toxic waste, illegal bunkering, illegal fishing and pair-trawling.

We are happy that the government Monday took a major step towards retooling the Ghana Navy to enable it to play its role effectively and efficiently with the commissioning and handing over of four new vessels, the first in 32 years.

We cannot expect so much from the Ghana Navy if we fail to equip it to deliver on its objectives. It appears we have become specialists in criticising our institutions without giving consideration to the challenges they face in the midst of constraints.

The Daily Graphic believes that if we are to be taken seriously, then we have to take the appropriate steps and actions to address the challenges facing our institutions, especially the security services. This is particularly so in this election year when many uniformed men and women will be called on to maintain law and order.

And, yet, we often forget to give consideration to the things, especially vehicles, communication gadgets and other equipment, that will make those institutions function effectively.

At the commissioning ceremony, President John Evans Atta Mills said, “We have no option but to equip our Navy to be able to guarantee a secure environment where all legitimate entities can operate freely without hindrance.”

But it beats our imagination that as a nation, we have had to wait for 32 years to provide new vessels for our Navy to enable it to undertake its legitimate duties. We know that most of our security institutions face similar challenges and we believe it is time we lived up to our responsibilities as a government.

Fortunately, President Mills announced other measures that the government had taken, including taking delivery of a refurbished ex-German Navy Fast Attack craft and collaboration between the Ghana Maritime Authority and the Ministry of Defence in establishing a Vessel Traffic Monitoring Information System along the entire coast of Ghana.

As laudable as these projects are, the Daily Graphic believes that the country should not relapse after providing these facilities but continue to upgrade them in line with technological advancement.

We also urge the authorities of the Ghana Navy and all beneficiaries of those facilities to put in place a maintenance system to ensure they have a prolonged life span.

Many a time we fail to maintain our equipment and facilities and turn round to blame the government. That negative attitude must change.

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