GTB trains drivers for Ghana 2008
The people, particularly taxi and other commercial drivers have been reminded of their roles to ensure adequate security for all during the upcoming "MTN Ghana 2008" soccer fiesta.
Chief Superintendent Francis Ebenezer Doku, Officer in- charge of Police Operations in the Western Regional noted that since security is a shared responsibility, it behoves on the people to be extra vigilant and support security agencies to ensure incident free tournament.
He was addressing a day's training workshop for taxi and other commercial drivers in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis at Takoradi on Wednesday.
It was organized by the Ghana Tourists Board (GTB) as part of sensitization programme for food vendors, drinking bar operators, drivers and those in car rental business and other service providers in the Western Region in connection with the soccer tournament that begins on Sunday.
They discussed topics including tourism, security, quality service delivery, and good driving skills and road safety, tour guiding, information dissemination among others.
Mr. Doku gave the assurance that 500 personnel of the service had been given enough training and the required transport and other logistics to offer 24- hour protection to the people in the Metropolis.
The Police, he said, had taken delivery of light armoured cars and horses to help quell any disturbances that may occur in any part of the city during the period.
Public utility services like power generating centres, water supply stations and also schools would also be guarded.
A stand-by force would be provided to respond to emergency cases while other officers would be on patrol duties around the clock, he said.
Mr. Doku said the police operate more efficiently if given the needed support and cooperation from the general public by providing information on the activities of criminals.
He advised the public to be wary of the tendency of criminals who may try to dupe them through the use of fake foreign currencies and report such people to the police.
The Police had secured hot lines from which the public can provide them it with vital information on crime and suspected criminals, adding that the service was arranging with Ghanatelecom and MTN telephone service providers to provide them with toll free lines.
Mr. Doku gave the number of the hot lines as 031-46888, 031-46660, 020-8130095 and 0244-964121 and said the identity of all informers would be protected.
He advised taxi drivers to avoid the tendency to cheat foreign clients, and also behave gently towards them to boost the image of their profession and the country in the eyes of soccer fans and tourists.
Mr. Doku warned that people who ride unlicensed motorbikes would be arrested and such bikes impounded.
Mr. Samuel Anderson of the Regional Secretariat of the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) advised drivers to adhere strictly to road signs and regulations to avoid accidents.
Drivers, he noted, were the first point of contact with foreign visitors, they must exhibit high sense honesty, responsibility and accord passengers the respect and courtesy irrespective of where they come from and at the same time be wary of the activities of "419" and other confident tricksters.
Mr. Ebenezer Hammond, Regional Manager of GTB spoke about the immense financial and other benefits the country would derive from organizing the soccer tournament and urged drivers to portray positive image of the country.
He said tourism is the third major foreign exchanger earner for the country apart from cocoa and gold, adding that the country earned 500 million dollars from tourism in 2007.
Mr. Hammond said it is estimated that one billion dollars would be earned during the MTN Ghana 2008 soccer fiesta.
More than 150 taxi and commercial drivers at Elubo have benefited from similar training organized by the GTB.
In collaboration with Cook Art Ghana, Mr. Hammond said GTB had organized training programmes for a number of food vendors and other service providers in the region.