Kwasi Amoako Atta
We thank God the Roads Minister did not suffer a cardiac attack after his adrenalin shot up excessively last Wednesday when he went to the Airport Residential Area, Accra.
A Turkish contractor was the cause of it all: he reportedly put a barricade on the road, thereby creating a traffic logjam with its attendant inconveniences to motorists.
The 22-storey structure he is constructing near the Association International School, Accra, has also caused damaged to a nearby public road. The minister who lost control of himself yelled upon the contractor and quickly ordered his arrest. This for killjoys was a wonderful video opportunity. Whoever thinks the scene inured to the interest of the minister got it wrong.
Some questions have arisen out of the near-drama scene. The many media reps who accompanied the minister to the scene overturned the earlier impression that he chanced upon the traffic logjam caused by the eyesore of a barricade. Those who questioned the foregone concluded that the minister had embarked upon a mission to the place which we tend to go by.
The seeming construction breaches said to be going on in the area is no news. Some media houses brought the issue to the front burner a few months ago but nothing happened until the Roads Minister descended upon the place.
Next time the minister finds something untoward as he did in the Airport Residential Area, he should take it easy so he would not create video opportunities for those on the lookout for such displays by government appointees. That is if he was not responsible for the videos.
The minister could have managed the situation calmly without yelling. Returning to the office and sending one of his directors to deal with the situation was a better option.
The picture of a minister ordering the arrest of a white-skinned contractor ‒ an expatriate for that matter at a construction site who is subsequently handcuffed going viral on social media ‒ is not desirable.
How come the project, client’s name, contractor’s company name and other details have not been captured on a signboard and placed at the site? This is standard practice and somebody in a relevant state institution should have found something untoward and acted long before now.
Some residents in the vicinity of the project claim that the contractor does not have a building permit. We are hard-pressed to believe this and would be at our wit’s end if indeed there is no such authorization for the project.
This for us is the time for the relevant regulatory officials to go and ensure that the construction is in conformity with existing regulations and to be on top of their work.
The unsavoury development also offers another opportunity to look at the ease with which contractors dig public roads in the course of construction. Compromising the quality of roads through such unauthorized digging should not be allowed.