THE OFFICIAL SOD CUTTING CEREMONY TO COMMENCE THE CONSTRUCTION OF A BASIC SCHOOL COMPLEX AT ANYINAM, OBUASI BY THE GHANA MINEWORKERS’ UNION
The programme which was a bit delayed due to the late arrival of some of the dignitaries for the function finally took off at around 9:48 AM with an opening prayer by Venerable Garnett Arthur Prah, Arch Deacon of Obuasi Anglican Church.
Introduction of Chairperson/Guests
Brother Eric K Gyimah, the Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Mineworkers’ Union who was the MC, introduced the Chairperson in the person of Brother John Kojo Brimpong, the National Chairman of GMWU and the dignitaries who had come to grace the occasion. They included Mr. Kwesi Enyan, the MD of Anglogold Ashanti’s Obuasi Mine, Brother Prince William Ankrah, the General Secretary of Ghana Mineworkers’ Union, Mr. John A. Ackon, the Metropolitan Chief Executive Officer, Obuasi, Venerable Garnett Prah Arthur Arch Deacon (Anglican Church), Obuasi, Dr. Kwasi Oteng, CEO Angel Group Companies, Kumasi, Mr. Hussein E. Abugri, Executive Manager, Human Resources, Anglogold Ashanti’s, Obuasi Mine, Nana Akasabebuo II, Anyinamhene, Obuasi among others.
The chairperson revealed that the occasion was significant and historic in that the vision had been kept for well over 20 years before being materialized. He said trade unions had over the years been seen to be concerned only about bread and butter issues. He said that in recent years this traditional preoccupation of trade unions around the globe was giving way to a more vibrant and holistic conceptualization of the general needs of workers and work communities beyond collective agreement issues hence the project.
Moved by intense emotions, the Chairperson revealed that the project was being implemented at the time he was bowing out of active union/public service on retirement. He commended the past and present leadership of the Union for the project and urged all to support the project in their diverse ways to ensure its successful completion. He requested for a thanksgiving song and asked all present to dance to the glory of God.
Welcome Address-Mr. Kwesi Enyan, MD, AGA Obuasi Mine
He paid a glowing tribute to the relationship between the Company and the Union and particularly stressed on the support the Union had given to the Company both in good and challenging times. He pointed out that going forward, collaboration and co-operation would be the guarantee for a win-win situation for the two organizations. He said the Obuasi Mine was going through some challenges at the moment but was optimistic that the hurdles would be cleared very soon. He requested the support of the Union to deal with some negative behaviours such as stealing company property, high grade concentrate, etc.
He revealed that next year, the Company would implement the people system, that would make it easy to manage the people in the organization. He commended the Union for the initiative and said the project was a demonstration of the Union’s commitment to the welfare and well-being of the people in the community. He wished the Union well for the on-going NEC meeting.
Municipal Chief Executive’s Remarks
Mr. J. A. Ackon, the Municipal CEO commended the relative industrial peace Obuasi was enjoying and attributed it largely to the good relationships existing between the Companies and employees and for that matter the unions. He said checks at some of the regulatory bodies such as the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice have indicated that, community/industrial complaints had reduced drastically at Obuasi. He said Obuasi escaped the year ending ‘9’ bizarre syndrome last year and hoped that would mark the perpetual end to that unfortunate situation.
He commended the Union for taking the bold initiative to become a good corporate citizen by taking responsibilities for projects that would solve society’s problems. He pledged the support of the Obuasi Municipal Assembly to the project and promised to contribute to ensure its success.
Municipal Education Director’s Remarks
He underscored the relevance of education in today’s modern world. He said education was not only a constitutional issue but a fundamental one aimed at developing all the other rights of the individual that enable him/her respond to the challenges of today’s competitive world. He commended the Union for the project and said the project would go a long way to ease the pressure and congestion the basic schools in the Metropolis was currently facing.
He was full of praise for the management of Anglogold Ashanti’s Obuasi Mine for their foresight in establishing the AGA schools which had over the last 5 years contributed to the success story of Obuasi as far as the national Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) was concerned. He pledged his support for the project and urged the Union to contact him or his office at anytime should they require any support.
General Secretary, Ghana Mineworkers’ Union Remarks
‘People make business and not machines’ was the opening comments of the General Secretary quoting from the speech of the MD of AGA Obuasi Mine. He said he was pleased with this corporate thinking and urged management not to pay lip service to this philosophy but must make conscious effort to actualize it in their dealings with the people and for that matter the Union.
He congratulated the Branch and PMSU of AGA Obuasi for the project as well as the management of AGA Obuasi for issuing the plot of land to the Union for the project. He said the Ghana Mineworkers’ Union places high premium on human capital development and investment, hence the project. He said that the school complex when completed would run both the Ghana Education Service and the British IGSE curricular to pave the way for children of miners to be admitted to overseas universities like Oxford, Cambridge and the Harvard.
He said that the project would open the flood gate for more projects in the future. He said positive engagement and collaboration between the Union and the managements could yield more returns for the mutual benefits of the two organizations.
Explanation of the Iconic/Miniature School Complex – Contractor
Mr. Edward Botwe, on behalf of Angel Group of Companies explained, using the miniature school model, how the main school complex would look like after its construction. He said the building would house the pre-school, primary and the Junior High Schools. It would also have the administration block in-between the blocks to ensure effective supervision and give direct access to parents and people who would transact business with the school. The playing ground would be at the back of the building to ensure that pupils/students go to classrooms right from the house before playing.
Chairperson’s Closing Remarks
He called for financial support from members of the Union and said that the project was being financed by the one-day-mark levies. He said that the school when completed would be the property of Ghana Mineworkers’ Union and that irrespective of wherever members were located they could send their wards to the school on competitive basis. He thanked participants for attending the sod cutting ceremony.
Consecration/Sod Cutting Session
Led by Venerable Garnett Prah Arthur, Arch Deacon of Obuasi Anglican Church and Prince William Ankrah, the General Secretary of Ghana Mineworkers’ Union and assisted by the Management Committee members of GMWU, the sod was cut to officially mark the construction of the school complex much to the admiration of the NEC members present. A tree was also planted by the officials.
Vote of Thanks/Closing
Sister Vida Brewu, the National Women’s Committee Chairperson of Ghana Mineworkers’ Union gave the vote of thanks to climax the events of the programme. The closing prayer was said by William Bart-Plange, the Porte/Chaplain of GMWU.