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20.02.2020 Feature Article

A Matter of Eminent Domain – Part 3

A Matter of Eminent Domain – Part 3
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I just finished reading the contractual agreement/statement drawn up by the Management of the Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited vis-à-vis the GTFCL’s landlord-tenant relationship with the 28 recalcitrant or contractually defaulting companies, and others, whose physical plant structures were demolished this past Monday, February 17, 2020, and find absolutely no wrongdoing on the part of the Management of the GTFCL (See “Raymond Archer Wasn’t Targeted; 27 Others Were Also Part – Trade Fair” 2/19/20). It well appears that the 28 companies which had their physical plant structures demolished were, properly speaking, obdurate holdouts who were eager to test the limits of the tolerance level of the Board of Directors and the Management of the Trade Fair Company Limited.

In a real and practical sense, in the end, these system-bucking holdouts got precisely what they deserved; and my warm and hearty congratulations go out to both corporate departments of the GTFCL. Indeed, if all the Boards of Directors of publicly held or state-owned companies in the country acted with the sort of resolute professionalism so deftly exhibited and executed by the BoD of the GTFCL, in absolutely no time, Ghana would be leapfrogging through the orbit of its development process. The pity here, though, is that morbidly self-serving political entrepreneurs like Mr. Raymond Archer were permitted by the country’s slow-grinding judicial system to unduly stall the progress of work at the Trade Fair Site, work that would have already created jobs for hundreds of thousands of Ghanaian youths in dire need of the same, with still many more hundreds of thousands of jobs to be created a little over a couple of years from now, once the Ghana International Trade Fair Site has been fully developed and become operational at full-throttle or maximum capacity.

Right now, about the only palpable political edge to this highly unnecessary impasse is the glaring fact that 8 years of Mills-Mahama stewardship of the country’s affairs did little to absolutely nothing to exponentially boost the socioeconomic development of Ghana. It was also very heartening, contrary to what Mr. Archer and his ideological associates would have the rest of the global community believe, the demolition exercise was undertaken with such wisdom, poise and systematic care that the likelihood of any major damage to machinery or industrial equipment was significantly reduced to the barest minimum. We are also reliably informed that only the outer walls and the roofs of the “targeted” structures were torn down or removed, the tenant companies having been advised well beforehand that they risked incurring avoidable costs by putting permanent structures in place.

What the foregoing means, of course, is that corporate tenants like Mr. Archer were made fully aware of the fact that their stay on the landed property was only a temporary or contingent measure that could be terminated at anytime with a reasonable advance notice, which readily tells the reader that contrary to what some of these legitimately evicted tenants would have the rest of the general public believe, the demolition exercise was absolutely transparent and no ambush at all. But, of course, the part of the contract that piqued my interest the most had to do with the fact that these corporate or commercial tenants had been offered the clear option of either rejoining or returning to the Trade Fair Site, once the latter landed property had been fully developed into an ultra-modern commercial and industrial complex.

We are also informed that out of some 200 companies or corporate tenants granted the option of returning to the Trade Fair Site at a later date, only 44 had taken up the offer and duly met with the Trade Fair Company Management and expressed an interest and/or desire to become a part of a special Ghanaian Business Hub to be designed by Sir David Frank Adjaye, the Tanzanian-born globally renowned British architect of Ghanaian parentage, as part of the core of this multipurpose commercial and industrial complex. As was to be expected, the copy of the published contract contained only relevant portions that the general public needed to be familiar with and does not provide the public with such specific details as rental rates or charges, once the complex has become fully operational. Neither do we, the general public, for the most part, have the need to be let in on the same.

Ultimately, what matters most here is the fact that absolutely nothing about the development or redevelopment of the landed property that constitutes the Trade Fair Site was hidden from the view or knowledge of these evidently progress-stalling corporate tenants.

*Visit my blog at: Ghanaffairs

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
February 19, 2020
E-mail: [email protected]

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