PP gov’t abandoned African continent projects, says Franklin Khan

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The People’s Partnership dropped investment initiatives in Ghana like a “hot potato” and reigniting interest on the African continent has been difficult says Energy Minister Franklin Khan.

He was responding to a question from Opposition Senator Wade Mark at the Senate sitting yesterday.

Khan said under the Patrick Manning administration from 2007 to 2010 and even before initiatives were put into place to have major investments and dialogue with the Ghanaian Government.

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He said the discussions were very well advanced and it was starting to bear significant fruit.

Khan said when the People’s Partnership took office in 2010 the entire Ghana and East and West Africa initiatives were dropped like a “hot potato”.

He said it lied dormant for five years and when Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley took office he tried to “reignite old firewood” but by that point in time a lot of the investments had already gone to the Chinese.

“As we speak we are still trying to rekindle some of the interest in Ghana but it proving to be more difficult that previously envisaged,” said Khan.

Mark further questioned what measures are being implemented by the Ministry to ensure that the occupational health and safety of workers is guaranteed at Caribbean Gas Chemical Limited (CGCL) Mitsubishi Plant in La Brea in light of the protest action to highlight their unhealthy and unsafe working conditions,

Khan said an OSHA team visited the CGCL construction site on March 8, 2017 and a meeting was held with the management team from Mitsubishi heavy industries limited to discuss the following health and safety concerns raised by workers: no safe-work procedures for crane work being conducted, no fire watch for welding, inadequate band provisions employed, inadequate welfare facilities provided- that is drinking water, toilets etc.

Khan said an inspection by the OSH team together with a review of the company’s health and safety management system was conducted and revealed the following:

There was an adequate procedure that deals with safe crane operations.

There was a procedure that stated a fire watch was required once open flame welding was being conducted. At the time of the visit no open flame welding was observed.

There were sufficient wash-rooms for males and females. Sufficient water coolers and cups.

The OSH authority determined that the complaint was not justified and an inspection report was generated.

Khan said that with respect to the recent protest, the OSH authority advised that it had not receive any request by the employees for a review of the working conditions at the plant and as a consequence it was the view that the protest “purely an industrial relations matter,”

Housing Minister Randall Mitchell also fielded a question from Mark on the safety of occupants at Clifton Towers.

Mitchell said the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) continues to cooperate with the police which has been spearheading both surveillance and eviction exercises.

He said these exercises are aimed at providing a sense of security for the resident and preventing illegal occupancy of the apartments.

Mitchell, in response to Mark said although he was not certain of the exact number, he approximated that some six persons were arrested and charged by the police for unlawful invasion.

Source: Trinidad Express http://www.trinidadexpress.com/20180307/news/pp-govt-abandoned-african-continent-projects-says-franklin-khan

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