Fishermen in four regions have stated that the April 2020 time period for the commencement of the voter registration exercise will not favour them, as that is the time for their fishing expeditions to Nigeria, Benin, Liberia, and Togo.
This they indicated would deny many fishers the opportunity to get onto the electoral register to gain the benefits of identity cards for business purposes and to exercise their franchise in the 2020 polls and beyond.
They have therefore appealed to the National Peace Council (NPC) to impress on the EC to rescind its decision and shift the registration to a different date in the year 2021.
Addressing a News conference at Elmina in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) municipality of the Central Region on Wednesday, Mr. John Quayson, spokesperson for the aggrieved fishermen in the Greater Accra, Volta, Central and Western Regions said they would do everything possible to ensure that fishermen were not sidelined in the imminent voter registration exercise.
“If the NPC and the EC fails to adhere to our humble request, we will have no option than to embark on sustained series of demonstrations in the coastal regions of Ghana.”
They also appealed to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to support them with outboard motors to enable them increase their catch and assist them with loans from the banks to buy canoes as their old ones were too weak and could fall apart during fishing operations.
They added that “a canoe costs about GH¢12,000.00 to GH¢20,000.00, depending on the type of wood used to build it.
The Fishers said fishing was the major source of employment for many people in the Coastal communities and called on the government to support them to work and improve their livelihood.
Apart from their inability to expand their operations, some environmental challenges including; the weather and heavy and prolonged rains also interfered with their working activities every year.
On the protracted issue of premix fuel diversion, the fishermen warned that people caught diverting premix fuel products would not be spared.
The “commodity is being sold to people in drums secretly and they hoard them and later sell at exorbitant prices to fishermen.
“Even people without fishing gears and chainsaw operators are involved in this bad practice and later turn to accuse government of irregular supply of the products to fishing communities” they added.