‘Amewu must stop Pantang encroachment’
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Lands Commission must come together and plot how to “immediately” stop construction works around the Pantang Psychiatric Hospital, Dr Kwasi Osei, Director of the Mental Health Authority, has said.
His call follows Monday’s sit-down strike by staff of the hospital over continued encroachment of the facility’s lands and the threats to patients and workers of the hospital as a result. The workers are threatening a strike tomorrow, Wednesday July 12, should the situation persist.
Speaking on Ghana Yensom on Tuesday July 11, Dr Osei confirmed that concerns about the developments around the hospital were not new and the hospital authorities had held several meetings with former health ministers to find a solution, culminating in a meeting with the Chief of Staff in the previous government at the Presidency in the past.
But he said with no solution in sight, the administration of the hospital could no longer restrain their staff when they threatened a fresh strike this week.
He explained that there were so many developments around the hospital such that the land between the hospital and a stretch of the Adenta-Dodowa highway had been completely taken over by private developers.
But he was certain that should the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Peter Amewu, order the Lands Commission to attend to the situation, sanity would be restored, given lives of staff were now at constant risk.
“I think the Ministry and the Lands Commission should sit down. I believe if the Minister of Lands authorises the Lands Commission, they can immediately stop further development. It should be able to stop further development and once that is stopped, thereafter, we can sit down and see who claims to have documents to this property, who does not have documents. Those with documents, can government acquire this property and give you the due compensation? But first and foremost all further developments must stop. Eventually some of the properties will need to be broken down, will need to be demolished. Some you may not demolish but you can see how you can acquire them and compensate them and what not,” he told show host Chief Jerry Forson.
He criticised the poor planning in the country, saying Ghana as a developing nation cannot realise its developmental ambitions with the seeming absence of law and order, a situation that had led to indiscriminate developments, saying the time to change things is “now”.
Dr Osei warned that Ghana could no longer afford to toy with mental healthcare, especially in light of findings that the poor mental state of workers was setting the country back in terms of productivity equivalent to 7 per cent of annual GDP.