The Deputy Minister for Lands Natural Resources, Hon. George Mireku Duker has charged the first batch of river wardens to execute their work without fear or favour.
Speaking at a day’s orientation exercise held on Thursday, December 1, 2022 for the wardens on the arduous yet nationalistic task ahead of them, Hon. Mireku Duker enlightened the wardens that they have the trust and confidence of the entire country to provide adequate security and protection at the various river bodies where illegal mining activities are believed to be taking place.
The Deputy Minister stated that the decision by government to recruit the wardens was due to a gap it identified in the security regime as far as the anti-galamsey fight is concerned.
According to him, the Ministry, after conducting a review of the battle, came to the realization that most illegal miners return to site in the night after the Operation Halt II taskforce have patrolled the area during the day.
Upon this realization, Hon. Duker said government decided to recruit the wardens, train and equip them with the needed resources and accoutrements for them to fill the identified gap.
He explained that the wardens have been exposed to rigorous training needed for the task ahead.
He said government through the Ministry will continue to motivate the wardens to execute their mandate.
He added that, bodycams will be installed on the River Wardens to be monitored by the Officials at the situation room of the Minerals Commission and that there will be a performance review of all the wardens.
“The idea behind the river wardens is to train and deploy men and women to monitor the various river bodies and report on illegal activities polluting the river bodies. Whenever Operation Halt II undertakes any operation, since they are not permanently stationed, illegal miners return to the water bodies to perpetuate their criminal activities”, he stated.
“Hence, we are of the firm believe that, if these river wardens who are going to monitor these activities work as expected, we believe it will go a long way to help protect our water bodies. The river wardens will be working closely with the Riverine Command of the Navy and Operation Halt II Contingent from time to time, he said.
He explained that the introduction of the wardens into the galamsey fight conversation forms part of government’s determination to give the small-scale mining sector a new face.
Hon. Mireku Duker noted that the wardens will supplement other measures such as the Community Mining Scheme, Operation Halt II, Small-Scale Miners Awards, among others.
“Government’s determination to weed out the challenges in the small-scale mining is due to the contribution of the sector to job creation and economy”.
Hon. Kwabena Okyere Darko, the Western Regional Minister was excited that the wardens had been engaged to fill the gap in the fight against the menace.
He urged them to work diligently and work within the scope of the task which they have been assigned.
The Deputy CEO of the Minerals Commission said gold and other natural resources have contributed significantly to the growth of the country and that government is committed to purging the sector of all challenges.
The event was capped with the presentation of appointment letters, a vehicle and motorbikes to the wardens to aid their work.
In all, government is expected to recruit 300 river wardens for the exercise. So far, Eighty-Seven (87) have undergone training at the Eastern Naval Command with the second batch currently underway.