Story: Samuel Duodu, Sunyani
THE Sunyani Municipal Fire Officer, Mr Kwasi Baffour-Awuah, has called for the establishment of special courts to deal with municipal and district assemblies bye-law-related cases to ensure their speedy trial.
According to him, the normal courts were already beset with a lot of cases that were always delayed.
The problem, he said, had made the enforcement of the assemblies bye-laws, especially those on environmental protection, rather difficult.
Mr Baffour-Awuah, who is also a Divisional Officer Grade Three of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), made the call at the first ordinary meeting of the Sunyani Municipal Assembly in Sunyani.
The ceremony was also used to elect Mr Isaac K. Amankwah, an architect, as the new Presiding Member of the assembly.
Mr Baffour-Awuah noted with concern that only eight out of the 28 people who were arrested in the municipality for causing bushfires, when the ban on bush burning was in force between November 1, 2007 and March 31, 2008, were prosecuted in the law court.
He said out of the eight suspects standing trial at the District Magistrate’s Court in Sunyani, only one was remanded in prison custody, the rest granted bail, while the remaining 20 suspects were yet to be arraigned by the police.
He said in view of that development, the fight against bushfires had become difficult, since many people had realised they could commit the offence with impunity.
Mr Baffour-Awuah said when the ban was in force, food and cash crop farms and part of forest reserves, especially the Tain One and Tain Two forests were destroyed by bushfires, causing losses running into several millions of cedis.
The fire officer said to ensure that there were no fire outbreaks at the various markets in the municipality, the Sunyani Municipal Fire Station had embarked on an educational drive to sensitise market women to some dos and don’ts within the confines of the markets.
He said the fire prevention campaign at the markets had become necessary, as a result of the rampant reports of fire outbreaks at major markets in the country.
Mr Baffour-Awuah advised market women to procure fire extinguishers at their stalls, adding that they should not cook on the market premises. He also stressed that they must clear all access roads to the market to make way for GNFS fire engines, in case of any fire outbreaks.