In the last several months, a government task force has been on the ground taking the fight to pigheaded galamsey operators in our mining communities and forests in the Eastern, Western and Ashanti regions.
The onslaught came against the background of propaganda from the opposition National Democratic Congress accusing government and its appointees of having been complicit in the whole saga of wanton destruction of our natural resources, including water bodies, farmlands and forests.
But the government, intent on proving its commitment to initiate holistic mechanisms in resolving the nagging dilemma, promptly deployed personnel who, with the support of district assembly officials, waded into the conflict zone to do what Ghanaians and the whole world had expected in sanitising the invaluable minerals, tourism and agricultural sectors in Ghana.
Our collective losses
Aside of the damage to our image as cocoa and gold producers, we were short-changed in resources that could otherwise have enabled us produce more water, more cocoa and gold, and more timber resources.
We lost in aquaculture and we also lost in wildlife, while the beneficiaries were our own brothers and sisters who found an excuse of being unemployed to rape our collective national heritage.
These activities had been a threat to our health because all water bodies tend naturally to enter others before entering the sea, though our brothers and sisters in mining communities, especially, face the immediate threat of being slowly poisoned by chemicals used in treating the raw dust.
So that we collectively benefit as citizens, the government in line with its promise and mandate to create opportunities for citizens, in improving lives and livelihoods, has launched the Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme. This is to ensure that those pushed out of the illegal way of mining to earn a living now earn a living in a legal way.
In the opinion of the Daily Statesman, this affords the youth in mining communities and forest zones an opportunity to rediscover their energies and skills as well as latent opportunities in repositioning themselves for the emerging industrial transformation age under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Development in freedom
The sad spectre of the youth dying in pits in search of gold and the untold pain that the aged and vulnerable face in miming communities, on account of the unholy crave for gold dust, should give way to a mutual arrangement in which our lands, forests and water bodies are held sacred by all of us.
That sense of collective responsibility is also necessary in helping government harness the necessary resources to develop particularly the health and educational sectors, in preparing our kids stronger and healthier to contribute their bit in moving Ghana forward.
We believe the youth in mining communities will embrace the alternative livelihood programme put in place by the government, and refrain from the galamsey activities to prove their love for their communities and country.
It is in that vein that we urge all residents, particularly the youth who had been addicted to galamsey to rethink their future and sign on onto the deal.
As we have been told, even for those keen on going back to mining, lawful mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that we do not go back to our destructive ways of making undue capital out of our collective resources.
As long as we are committed to replanting our forests and reclaiming lost hectares of forest cover; as long as we no longer degrade our water bodies and as long as put Ghana first, the war against galamsey will truly and perpetually be won.