The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor, has disclosed that the government and the anti-galamsey task force are clothed with the law to burn excavators found at illegal mining (galamsey) sites.
He has diffused suggestions of the burning of the excavators as an act of illegality.
The Minister disclosed this when he appeared before the House to offer answers to some questions filed by the Member of Parliament of North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa regarding the burning of excavators found at illegal mining (galamsey) sites.
He cited aspects of the constitution that validates the position of the government that burning of the excavators is legal, contrary to opinions from certain quarters.
“Mr. Speaker, Article 36(9) of the Constitution, which forms part of “The Directive Principles of State Policy”, and which is supposed to guide all citizens, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary in the application and interpretation of the Constitution and any other law, as well as in taking and implementing policy decisions, states as follows:
“The State shall take appropriate measures needed to protect and safeguard the national environment for posterity and shall seek co-operation with other states and bodies for purposes of protecting the wider international environment for mankind,” he said.
“Again, article 41(k), under the same Chapter Six of the Constitution, provides that: ‘The exercise and enjoyment of rights and freedoms are inseparable from the performance of duties and obligations, and accordingly, it shall be the duty of every citizen to protect and safeguard the environment”.
“The combined effect of these two articles of the Constitution is that citizens, who seek the protection of the law, have a duty to protect and safeguard the environment, and the State, as the custodian of the environment, has a duty to take measures necessary to ensure that the environment is protected for posterity,” he said.
Clarifying the operations of the Operation Halt team which in his words is to ‘decommission and demobilize’ the mining equipment, he explained that what is being done is de-commissioning or de-mobilization of the equipment used in destroying our forest reserves and water bodies, to make them incapable of being used for such illegalities.
He defended that the government has been compelled to adopt extreme measures to deal with the galamsey issue due to the precarious and extraordinary nature of the issue.
“When a country is confronted with an extraordinary problem, extraordinary measures ought to be deployed.
“The use of heavy machinery, such as excavators, for illegal mining in, and/or, near our forest reserves and water bodies is an extraordinary problem that requires the use of extraordinary measures to deal with.”
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