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05.01.2006 General News

BGL on collision course with Stakeholder Communities

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Prestea (W/R) Jan. 5, GNA - Chiefs, Opinion Leaders, District Assembly Members and Area Council representatives of communities in the operational area of Bogoso Gold Limited (BGL) have expressed disgust about what they described as lies told by BGL.

Ms Juliet McDonald, Community Development Superintendent of BGL, had told them at a meeting held on December 12 2005 that the Company had no hand in the recruitment of security guards by SecPoint, a security sub-contracting firm.

However, at another meeting with BGL representatives and representatives of stakeholder communities held at New Century Mine (NCM) boardroom, the Managing Director of SecPoint told them that BGL Management had asked him to employ only 25 security guards from the catchment communities but he had been generous to employ 150.

For Ms McDonald to have told them that BGL had no control in the recruitment of security guards by SecPoint amounted to deception, which has infuriated the Area Council Representatives, Chiefs, Opinion Leaders and the entire communities, thereby heightening tension in the area. Meanwhile, the Acting Manager of BGL, Mr Bruce Higson-Smith had, earlier in a letter he signed on December 10, 2005 said: "BGL is committed to enhancing the development of its catchment communities and, therefore, will continue to focus first on local recruitment for direct and permanent positions in its operations and to prioritise local contractors for provision of goods and services."

After hot exchanges at the meeting, SecPoint Managing Director bowed to the demands of the representatives and promised to recruit 105 security guards from the various communities.

Based upon the promise, some selected people from the various communities in the Prestea-Himan area hired a vehicle and went to SecPoint office at Tarkwa for recruitment but on reaching there they were told that SecPoint had not made the necessary arrangements so the people had to return to Prestea - Himan. The people have now seen that those pieces of information were all lies.

SecPoint has so far employed 167 security guards and only seven are from Prestea-Himan area.

Kruger Brent, the former security sub-contracting firm, employed 269 guards of which 137 were from Prestea-Himan area. BGL had a fractured relationship with its catchment area communities and of late it had been struggling to patch up its differences with the communities.

Alhaji Adamu, Assemblyman and a member of the negotiating team confirmed these in an interview with Ghana News Agency at Prestea.