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14.04.2019 Feature Article

Lantey Vanderpuye Does Not Care About Our Fisherfolk

Opinion Lantey Vanderpuye Does Not Care About Our Fisherfolk

This is not the very first time that the National Democratic Congress’ Member of Parliament for the Odododiodio Constituency in Central-Accra, in the Greater-Accra Region, has acted recklessly and insensitively even while pretending to be safeguarding the interests and aspirations of the lumpen poor and destitute in Ghanaian society. I vividly recall when Mr. Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye was Deputy Minister for Local Government and the deadly flooding of our nation’s capital necessitated the desilting of several of the creeks and rivers in the Accra Metropolitan Area. As well, quite a remarkable number of houses and tin-shacks that had been illegally erected in the pathways of rivers and streams needed to be promptly demolished or bulldozed in order to significantly reduce the high and rampant incidence of fatal flooding of our nation’s capital. This was during the tenure of Mayor Alfred Oko Vanderpuije (no known relation to Mr. Lantey Vanderpuye).

In the alluded to incident, the then Deputy Local Government Minister personally barricaded the path of one of the bulldozers engaged in the desilting and the demolition exercise ordered by Mayor Vanderpuije with the full knowledge of the extant President, namely, either Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills or Mr. John Dramani Mahama (very likely, it was the latter) – I forget which. And the lurid pretext of this decidedly heartless nation-wrecker was not to primarily protect the abodes of the poor and destitute in slummy suburbs like Chorkor and James Town, as he then gave people to believe. He would shortly inform the general public that doggedly and adamantly maintaining the hazardous environmental status quo and existential threats of these waterway-blocking shacks, was specifically aimed at ensuring that local parliamentarians and politicians like himself retained their parliamentary seats and other sociopolitical and economic privileges.

Now, about six years later, we see the selfsame shenanigans at work in the form of the caustic condemnation by Mr. Vanderpuye of the government’s all-too-progressive temporary and staggered protective ban on fishing in order to ensure that several of the country’s staple seafood resources on the verge of extinction did not totally vanish within the next couple of years (See “Fishing Ban: Akufo-Addo’s Gov’t Insensitive to the Poor – Vanderpuye” 4/12/19). This warped and primitive and nationally self-destructive logic, of course, perfectly synchs with Candidate John Dramani Mahama’s round condemnation of the latter’s successor’s very smart and visionary decision to ban Galamsey or illegal and environmentally destructive small-scale mining in the country.

In both instances, Messrs. Mahama and Lantey Vanderpuye insisted on throwing their full-weight behind the environmentally destructive activities of urban squatters and the predatory activities of illegal miners because, according to these two nation-wrecking cynical politicians, the short-term livelihood of the squatters and the Galamseyers were insufferably at stake. But even as Fisheries Minister Elizabeth Afoley Quaye rightly points out, a mere two-month’s staggered ban on overfishing that is aimed at the preservation of some vital species of seafood is highly unlikely to significantly disrupt the livelihood or economic sustenance and comfort of these fisherfolk, whose livelihood, by the way, is actually being fortified by ensuring a healthy ecological balance and the preservation of the various species of fish on the country’s shores and territorial waters.

Besides, according to the Fisheries Minister, contrary to what political scam-artists or fraudsters like Mr. Lantey Vanderpuye would have the rest of the nation believe, extensive consultations were held with the affected fisherfolk long before the temporary staggered fishing ban went into effect. We must also underscore the fact that this annually scheduled program aimed at preserving both the species of fish in our coastal areas and the long-term livelihood of our fisherfolk at large, has been in our law books or part of our statutory laws since 2002 but has been deliberately ignored by the leaders of the present main opposition National Democratic Congress whenever the latter have been in charge of our beloved nation’s affairs. Which is why the government of the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party (NPP), an environmentally protective Administration, has decided to make our coastal fisherfolk safe rather than unwisely sorry or regretful in the offing.

In other words, pathological cynics and political opportunists like Messrs. Mahama and Lantey Vanderpuye ought to be heartily commending President Akufo-Addo for such responsible policy initiative, rather than untenably damning the present government for the same. In reality, with good storage facilities and sound measures in place, our fisherfolk actually stand to make more profits during the artificially enforced “lean season” of the staggered temporary fishing ban. Obviously, the key operatives of the National Democratic Congress resent seeing most of the credits for good and progressive governance going to their more visionary and citizen-centered political and ideological opponents.

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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
April 11, 2019
E-mail: [email protected]

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., © 2019

This author has authored 4506 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr

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