Monday, October 17, 2016

Ghana Catholic Bishops Express Unhappiness With Growing Incidence Of Land Grab

Archbishop C. G. Pamer-Buckle

The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, has expressed unhappiness with what it described as “the growing incidence of land grab in the country and indiscriminate acquisition of large tracts of land by multinational corporations, usually led by greedy and unpatriotic indigenes.”

The Conference said “while we do not discourage investment in food production and opportunities for industrialisation, we condemn land acquisition that robs Ghanaians of their heritage and impacts negatively on the ecosystems and food cultures of our people.

“We call on all key institutions, charged with the planning, administration and conservation of land, to stop the incidence of land grab”, Most Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra said these in a communiqué issued by the Conference at its Plenary Assembly held in Tamale. 

Under the theme: “Reconciliation With God, Humanity and Nature in The Year of Mercy”, the Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops which started on Saturday October 8 was brought to an end on October 14 with the celebration of an evening mass service at the OLA Cathedral Church in Tamale. 

During the Plenary Assembly, the Bishops deliberated on issues related to the church in Ghana as well as other issues of national concern particularly the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections. 

At the end of the Plenary Assembly, the Conference elected the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale, Most Rev. Philip Naameh as its new President. He succeeded Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, Bishop of Mampong Diocese who had been in office for six years.
The communiqué also commended the current call, throughout the country, for the monthly clean-up exercises within immediate surroundings of citizens. “We further urge Ghanaians to do these exercises more frequently and religiously.

“As we seek to be godly, let us equally endeavour to be cleaner. We cannot be happy with the perception that Ghana is among the world’s dirtiest countries. Let us treat our environment the very way we will treat ourselves since a healthy environment makes us healthier and happier”, the communiqué urged.

It also pleaded with the State, especially the legislature, the Ministry of Education and other key stakeholders, to expedite action on the passing of the Education Bill into law. “It is our hope that this important Bill, when passed into law, will clarify the specific role and partnership between the Church and State in addressing more firmly, fairly and responsibly the needs of education in our country.

“We insist that the Bill should take into consideration the proposals the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference and other faith-based institutions have tabled before the Minister for Education”, it emphasised. 

The Communiqué further demanded that the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) refund to health facilities their allocations for services rendered to Ghanaians through the insurance scheme. “We call upon the Ministry of Health to intervene as a matter of urgency so that all health service institutions in Ghana can sustain and promote their healing ministry through their hospitals and clinics. A healthy human capital will ensure a healthier Ghana”, it observed.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference is a religious organisation having its legal foundation in the Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church, which applies to all Catholic Churches of the Roman Rite throughout the world. 

The Bishops' Conference, according to the Canon Law of the Catholic Church (Canon 447-459), is the central Body of the Church in Ghana. Its purpose is to deliberate on matters of concern to the Church in Ghana and to encourage activities in accordance with the needs of the times.

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