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28.03.2006 General News

President to Join Nation to Witness Eclipse

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It is most indeed a rare occurrence: The total eclipse of the sun. The last one to be recorded in Ghana was in 1946 and affected mainly parts of the Eastern Region.

Only a few people living today can recollect that day. Sixty years on, Ghanaians have another opportunity to get another glimpse into the mysteries of the solar system. The excitement that has gripped the country, especially those parts that would experience the full eclipse is therefore understandable. Not surprisingly therefore, yesterday, when Presidential Press Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong met journalists on his twice-weekly briefings, the eclipse featured high on his briefing notes. He announced that the President is as excited about the eclipse as any other Ghanaian and tomorrow would join fellow citizens, foreigners and any tourists who have come into the country for the purpose to observe the solar eclipse.

Mr. Kwabena Agyepong said the President believes that the event is a rare opportunity for Ghana to be showcased once again to the whole world and remarked that the event forms part of the "exciting times to be a Ghanaian".

He could not provide details as to where exactly the President will witness the event. "I can't tell if he would observe it here in the Castle or at the Kwame Nkrumah Park or any other place", he told newsmen.

Commenting on a newspaper publication suggesting that the President has refused to give his assent to the Minerals and Mining Bill after its passage about 3 months ago, the Press Secretary said Bills from Parliament do not suffer delay on the President's desk unduly. He explained that the Bill in question was received by the President last Wednesday, the 22nd day of March 2006, and said it was unfortunate for people to speculate.

Mr. Agyepong cautioned media practitioners to cross-check their "facts" before publishing them.

Speaking on an alleged threat of strike action by the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Mr. Kwabena Agyepong advised that NAGRAT should dialogue with the Ministry of Education to address the Association's concerns.

He noted that the bone of contention between the two factions had to do with a minor issue of invigilation allowance, which he said, could be easily addressed through dialogue. "I think Ghana is the only country under the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) where teachers demand an extra pay for invigilating. We thought it was part of their duty as teachers to invigilate, but all the same, I urge NAGRAT members to hold their horses and resort to dialogue with the Education Ministry", Mr. Agyepong said.

On statements attributed to Mrs. Konadu Rawlings suggesting that she and her husband do not need any restoration of travel courtesies from the state, Mr. Agyepong said government took the decision to restore the courtesies and is not in the position to determine whether the ex-Flt. Lt. and his wife accept it or not.