Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion on the floor of the House.
Mr Speaker, when we talk about the issue of small scale mining affecting the environment, I think it is the rural Members of Parliament (MPs) who are affected the most. We are affected the most because besides being a threat to our stewardship, it also poses a threat to
the people we serve. Mr Speaker, almost every stream in our communities are either diverted or lost. The Hon Chairman was only talking about rivers; you can see that they are there. But when you go to the streams, they are completely dried up, muddy and diverted.
So,as he said, instead of the stream going to join the rivers and the rivers going to join, maybe, the lake or whatever, Mr Speaker, it is no more like that. Last week, when we discussed issues about the level of the Volta Lake going down, these are some of the factors. This is because the very streams and rivers that have to join the lake are being diverted. So, the volume of water that we need even to power the Akosombo Dam is not even got. That is the situation on the ground now.
Mr Speaker, most of the ramseyer sites are no more in existence because the small scale miners prefer the swampy areas, where, when they dig little, they meet the gravels and meet the gold. Not only that, they use school children. Most of these pupils in the schools have to vacate their schools and go to these sites to work for the galamsey operators as either water boys or crackers. Most of the teachers have complained several times.
There are communities in my constituency where they have dug the land to the community itself. So, the issue of drowning is rampant; every day you would see people drowning and we do not have to blame anybody; not the Government, the chiefs, police, military or the family members. There was an
occasion where a policeman reported to me that some policemen had trespassed to their area to do operations and they are trespassing on their territory. When he complained, they told him that, that was their “world bank”. They used to be there before he came, so they would not allow him alone to work there. Why do they say that if it is not about what they get from it?
Just recently, those who watched a programme called GTV Govern, Anas Aremeyaw Anas conducted a search on these small scale miners. He dressed like a chief who is looking for a land to buy and the chiefs were the ones selling the land to these foreigners; the people themselves are the ones selling the lands to these small scale miners.
Just recently, the operation that the Hon Chairman mentioned, where the National Security, together with the Military had to arrest excavators, the Chinese and the rest, those people who lost their machines to the Distr ict Assemblies, go and see, they have the machines again on site and they are doing worst things than what they used to do.
Mr Speaker, Dunkwa is my father's place and the Hon Chairman was talking about 100 people losing their lives. The number was more than 100 people, except that they only calculated the number based on the owners of the blocks they had. So, if 10 people went there, they will calculate, that one block took eight people; so eight times ten, gave them the number.
Mr Speaker, it was more than 100. There was a big pond that was left uncovered and there was a new pond they were working in. So, as the excavator worked, unfortunately, they opened up the first pond and because the place was muddy, the people who were in the pit could not
run as they could have if they were on a dry land. So, the water had to cover all of them. They could not even swim in the mud, so, all of them perished.
They made the effort to bring some out but after 40 people or so, the rest of them could not come out. We had to bury all of them in the pit. Unfortunately, my brother was one of them -- [Interruption.] Yes, in Dunkwa. That is what is happening there.
Mr Speaker, besides that, take farmers selling their cocoa farms to these small scale miners. Take rubber farmers selling their rubber farms to these small scale miners because of the amount of money they get instantly. They do not consider what the future could give them. They look at the amount of money -- GH¢60,000 coming to a farmer who can only see GH¢10,000 in a whole year and then sell whole cocoa farms to these miners.
These miners will destroy the farms and turn the whole land and it can not even be cultivated again.
Mr Speaker, I would be very happy if they can include in the recommendations, the chiefs and the security men who have been the factors for encouraging the people, so that they are also dealt with.
I know a community where a chief puts his stool there in the morning and every small scale miner who passes by has to pay a toll before he can get to the pit. So, if we do not take it up from there, Mr Speaker, we will fight and fight and these recommendations will never get anywhere. I will end here.
Thank you very much.