The Member of Parliament (MP) for Klotey Korle, Dr. Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings, has hit at the government for pulling down heritage and cultural sites in the name of the marine drive projects.
She said, no country destroys its heritage sites, but rather adds on to it with the aim of giving it a facelift to attract more tourists where revenue can be maximized.
According to the medical doctor turned politician, the government is not looking at the benefits these heritage and cultural sites of the country have brought but interested in an ambitious marine drive project which is expected to serve the purpose that many heritage sites are already serving.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday in support of the artisans at the arts center in Accra, she said she has been at the forefront of raising the issue in Parliament since 2017 for government to avoid touching the center for any demolishing to pave way for the marine project but the government appears to have turned a deaf ear.
In her view, government could have done an environmental and human impact assessment to know the extent at which the demolishing and relocation of the artisans will cause livelihoods.
According to her, about 3, 000 artisans work from the arts center with 1000 apprentices who have over the years helped the country rake in revenue from tourists who visits the place.
“ If the government has run out of ideas , they could have easily contacted people including the artisans who can help to share ideas which will preserve the center rather than a few individuals deciding to do things which seem not to go to benefit the larger population “, she pointed out.
“If these sites are destroyed, what you will be showing kids who needs to know about the cultural heritage “, she asked.
For her, what government should be looking at is how to digitize and introduce a platform which will help the artisans sell their products.
For his part, the Divisional Chairman for the Center for National Culture of the Public Sector Workers’ Union, Mr. Isaac Mensah, felt betrayed by the government.
According to him, the deputy Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mark Okraku Mantey, had promised the artisans that government was not going to touch their trade due to the project in an interview he granted Citi Fm three months ago.
Forced by what he said is circumstances to organise the press conference, Mr. Mensah, expressed the view that the Union suspects a grand scheme to collapse all regional arts centers since the situation in Wa and Koforidua seem to pointing to this suspicion.
The Arts Center, he pointed out has served many purposes including being a resource hub for academicians as well as where talents in acting have been developed.
The country, he further pointed will end up violating international convention when she has signed onto the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Convention of preserving heritage and cultural sites .
“The Arts Center is the first place where international tourists are oriented about Ghana “, he said.
He called on the government to open an avenue for dialogue and consultation, saying they have pragmatic suggestion to make onprivate financialinvolvement about the project and their center.