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By the kind courtesy of a senior, when I read the ‘tall’ profile of the new MCE for STMA, Mr. Anthony K.K Sam I thought for once I am too short a young man to think I can touch the sky with this my 5’10’ height. But then I realized that to be in space you don’t necessarily need to be that tall. You simply need to be a determined astronaut.
I have written about the STMA and the fact that we have lost our voice in the whole national dialogue and in setting the development agenda. I have written about the flooding of the inner roads and pavements and even the runway at the little provocation of the rain. And as well the wickedness of the men and women who have condemned us to such fate and the absurdity of outsourcing the management of the Jubilee Park and the self-dom of the many NGOs.
Today, we blame the chiefs for all the problems we have with illegal mining but are they not the same people we go to for their endorsement and even request them to grace our magnanimity just as we saw happen to the confirmation of Mr. K. K. Sam? And so enough about our chiefs. We are the very reason they are who they are.
Today, it is pathetic to note that the only image I have of the immediate past MCE is the greenhouse she left behind. Perhaps she was an environmentalist. And the ingenuity she bore out of her passion was to give her outfit such a befitting color. For the one before her, the mortal remains of his mall, and the virtual bypass still hunts and so he better comes back to bury them before they start tormenting the next generation like the Abiku in JP Clark’s poem.
Moving on to a cliché, they say it’s only a fool who thinks tomorrow can’t be better. And that, of course, is dependent on variables. Mr. K. K Sam from a source is not new to political appointments. He has been once at the helm of a regional employment agency. So for me, it’s more like old wine in a new glass. But once drinking becomes a solidarity sport then one can say that the new glass can provide a little bit of an appetizer, to say the least. And of course his performance there should have been a key determinant and it is not surprising that to avoid acrimony some role compensations have emerged. He has already engaged an aide and thinks that embarking on a clean-up exercise on the 4th of April is the presence he needs to announce badly. Perhaps he also seems to be an environmentalist.
Well, the challenges of the metro is a known secret to even toddlers and the solutions not in the space to require rocket science. A city must be a city. It must be spatially planned. Its infrastructure must be beaming, free of filth, better drainage systems and above all booming with opportunities for her inhabitants to thrive.
The poor state of the Gyandu Park and the underutilization of the Centre for National Culture and of course the lack of a youth centre and it retrogressive progression pace of its rehabilitation or whatever it may be called are all visible.
Constantly we must bear in mind that the foreigners who come to work offshore have great expectations of Sekondi-Takoradi when they are porting and they will have a chance to visit.
Barely a week ago, we had to spend an entire day searching for Ghanaian artifacts as souvenirs for some Filipino crew friends. They couldn’t even use their debit cards to buy stuff. The very first thing one wanted to know is if there is a mall we could visit. It is simply because we succeeded in making so much noise about the oil city that never has been. So you land and then you are met with an eyesore of landing beach and a ghost of a ‘European town’.
The task ahead is a greater one for Mr. Sam only if he means business. And like Rogier van der Heide wrote ‘we have to rethink the way we light our cities. We have to think again about light as a default solution. Why are all these motorways permanently lit? Is it really needed? Can we maybe be much more selective and create better environments that also benefit from darkness? Can we be more gentle with light? So you see we can even create something out of darkness than climbing a pole to the other all in the name of fixing bulbs that don’t even provide the shining we want.
Again like Jay Samit wrote ‘‘just as the music industry couldn’t combat the financial impact of digital piracy, major corporations will have to rethink how to maintain margins when many of their most profitable items can be easily manufactured at home. Today many of the revenues that should go to the metro are manufactured and enjoyed privately and yet he speaks without telling us how he will curb these menace and maximize revenue generation.
Just as I must conclude but to return at a later date I pick some few points from his note for subjections and say that he sounds more remediable than preventative. Coming to treat than to put in place sustainable measures. He talks about efforts by his predecessors to make the city much better and an ambition to follow suit. Like was he serious to think less? There was no hint of an agenda for self-initiated and funded projects and highlights challenges without solutions.
In the context of the spatial plan put together by the Jubilee Partners, if he really means business then he should look at the Shama District. It’s the only district across the six coastal districts that have implemented it to admiration.
Tomorrow you may forget everything but do well to not forget the words of Peter Ackroyd and I quote, ‘‘All cities are impressive in their way because they represent the aspiration of men to lead a common life; those people who wish to live agreeable lives, and in constant intercourse with one another, will build a city as beautiful as Paris.’’ I hope you do enjoy your stay as you live the desires of many.
To the citizenry I rephrase the words of Nancy Pelosi and say, never confine your best work, your hopes, your dreams, the aspiration of the people of Sekondi-Takoradi to what will be signed by Mr. K. K. Sam nor tie your hopes to his words because that is too limiting a factor and much more like being a spectator. Do act. The least, speak.