The Deputy Minister for Lands Natural Resources, Mr George Mireku Duker, has charged the river wardens to execute their work without fear or favour.
The Deputy Minister said this at a one-day orientation for wardens in Takoradi on Thursday.
He informed 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 is taking place.
Mr Duker said the government’s decision to recruit wardens was motivated by a security gap identified in the anti-galamsey fight.
According to him, after reviewing the fight against illegal mining, the Ministry realized that most illegal miners return to the site at night after the Operation Halt II taskforce has patrolled the area during the day.
Following this, Mr Duker stated that the government decided to recruit wardens, train them and provide them with the necessary resources and equipment to fill the identified gap.
He explained that the wardens had received the rigorous training required for the task at hand.
“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 on 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,
“Hence, we are of the firm belief 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 inclusion of the wardens in the galamsey fight is part of the government’s commitment to giving the small-scale mining sector a new face.
Mr Duker stated that the wardens would supplement other initiatives such as the Community Mining Scheme, Operation Halt II and Small-Scale Miners Awards.
“The 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,” he said.
The government expects to hire 300 river wardens for the exercise. So far, 87 sailors have received training at the Eastern Naval Command, with the second batch currently underway.
Irene Wirekoaa Osei, ISD