Elmina Jan 08, GNA - Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, on Saturday said feasibility studies on the construction of a new water treatment plant on the Pra River would soon be completed and work would begin next month.
He said with the introduction of the urban water system in some parts of the country areas like Cape Coast, Winneba, Kwanyaku, Mankessim and Assin would soon have the best water system in the country.
Mr Owusu-Agyeman said this when he addressed a durbar of chiefs and people of the Edina Traditional Area to climax the celebration of this year's "Edina Bronya" at Elmina.
The festival, also known as the "Dutch Christmas", is celebrated in the first week of January and marks the traditional remembrance day of the dead in the Edina Traditional Area.
It was also used to inaugurate a 450-million-cedi square and the unveiling of the bust of Nana Kobina Gyan I, a renowned chief of Elmina who is said to have fought against the sale of the St George's Castle by the Dutch to the British in 1868.
Mr Owusu-Agyemang said the government would help with the implementation of all the projects under the Elmina 2015 development strategy and that the government has so far voted 12 million Euros towards the dredging of the Benya Lagoon and work would soon begin on the construction of the Elmina Harbour. He called on the people to continue to support the government and also to support their traditional council, the Member of Parliament and the district assembly.
Mr Ariel Vander Wiel, Dutch ambassador to Ghana, commended the people of Elmina for celebrating the festival and that it marked the bond of friendship between the Dutch and Elmina. ''The Dutch government will continue to assist and support the Elmina 2015 development strategy.''
He said the inauguration of Nana Kobina Gyan's square was an example of some of the projects that the Dutch government was sponsoring under the Elmina 2015 development strategy and that in all 80 projects would be executed.
Mr Vander Wiels said Elmina receives a number of tourists and it was imperative to give it a face-lift to meet its tourism needs.
Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, the Minister of State responsible for Public Sector Reform, commended the people for honouring Nana Gyan and asked that such honours be extended to people like the late Mr Ato Austin and others who also contributed towards the development of the area. He called for peace and unity among the people, stressing that without peace there cannot be any meaningful development.
Dr Nduom, the Member of Parliament of the area, urged the people to keep their environment clean to enhance tourism in the district and asked that the money voted to improve sanitation should be used for that purpose.
Mr George Frank Asmah, the District Chief Executive, said the district, after existing for over 700 years, was concerned about the unsatisfactory sanitary conditions, underdeveloped tourism potential and poor socio-economic development, and low productivity of the fishing industry, declining standards of education and poor health.
The district has resolved not to solve its problem by a temporary intervention but by a well-formulated strategic plan that is integrated into the district's growth and poverty reduction strategy. Mr Asmah said the people of Elmina have also resolved to use the rich history of the place to stimulate economic development and improve the living conditions of people.
He commended the Dutch government for sponsoring the construction of Nana Kobina Gyan's square that could be used for activities such as funeral celebrations, religious programmes political rallies, trade and exhibitions fairs and that appropriate fees would be fixed to generate some income for the assembly.
Mr Asmah said other projects under the development strategy include the restoration of the four Asafo posts, the Estiapa Hall and the restoration of some of the old historical building to be patronized by tourists.
He said the government has approved a 1.2 billion cedi grant to the district to improve sanitation in Elmina.
Nana Kodwo Conduah VI, Omanhen of Edina Traditional Area, asked for forgiveness from his kinsmen and God and pledged to fight for his people just like Nana Gyan I fought for them in the past.
He thanked the Dutch government and other stakeholders for supporting the development efforts of the town, stressing that these development projects underscored the importance of Elmina in the tourism industry.
Nana Kodwo Conduah expressed concern about the way tourism development was "killing" custom and tradition in most communities and urged the people to uphold the tradition and customs of the area. Mr Isaac Edumadze, the Central Regional Minister, commended the people for the peaceful celebration of the festival and that not all communities could come together to celebrate such festivals.