JAPTU Ghana Responds to Hon. Ablakwa’s Commentary on Police Directive

The Joint Association of Port Transport Unions (JAPTU), Ghana, has issued a response to a recent statement made by the Honourable Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament for North Tongu, regarding a directive from the Ghana Police Service concerning the extortion and harassment of foreign truck drivers. The commentary, posted on social media, has sparked mixed reactions among the public.

In his statement, MP Ablakwa expressed concern over the directive, describing it as “strange” and suggesting it could heighten tensions, especially in an election year. He emphasized the need to condemn and address all forms of police extortion and harassment, regardless of the target, while questioning any perceived discrimination.

However, JAPTU Ghana, in its response, respectfully disagreed with the characterization of the directive as “strange.” The union highlighted ongoing efforts between JAPTU Ghana and the Ghana Police Service to address issues of extortion and harassment faced by both local and foreign truck drivers.

As the umbrella body representing all truck associations operating from Ghana’s ports, including partners from neighboring countries, JAPTU Ghana emphasized its commitment to ensuring fair treatment for all its members. The special dispensation mentioned in the directive applies to transit trucks, irrespective of their origin.

JAPTU Ghana clarified that the directive is not politically motivated, as suggested by MP Ablakwa, but rather a response to longstanding challenges faced by truck drivers. The union commended the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Dr. George Akuffo Dampare, and the Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority for their efforts to address these issues.

In conclusion, JAPTU Ghana urged the public to allow the Ghana Police Service to address these issues without political interference. The union reiterated its commitment to working collaboratively with relevant authorities to ensure the smooth facilitation of transit trade in Ghana.

 

BELOW IS THE FULL PRESS STATEMENT 

JAPTU GHANA REACTS TO STATEMENT ON FACEBOOK BY THE HONOURABLE SAMUEL OKUDZETO ABLAKWA (MP FOR NORTH TONGU)

The attention of the Joint Association of Port Transport Unions (JAPTU), Ghana has been drawn to a commentary on the Facebook page of a respected senior and Honourable Member of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (MP for North Tongu), posted on Wednesday 8th May, 2024 which is generating some mixed reactions from a section of the general public and on social media.

Reacting to a directive from the Ghana Police Service to its Regional Commanders on the subject of “POLICE EXTORTION AND HARRASSMENT OF FOREIGN TRUCK DRIVERS” (see copy attached), the MP’s statement said:

“Strange orders of this nature from the Police hierarchy   particularly in an election year does not help in erasing tensions and building confidence.

What are these foreign trucks transporting?

Police extortion and harassment of any kind, targeted at whoever, whether locals or foreigners must be condemned, stopped and punished. Why the blatant discrimination?

Local truck drivers also deserve protection from the Ghana Police Service against extortion and harassment.

Something doesn’t add up

Much as our union will like to agree with the import of the Hon. Member of Parliament’s comments in the third and fourth paragraphs of his commentary we, respectfully and strongly, disagree with his opening remarks that sought to describe the directive by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) as strange.

If only the Honourable MP had been minded to seek for further clarification from the Ghana Police Service and/or JAPTU Ghana, he would have appreciated the range of interventions that had been agreed upon between the leadership of JAPTU Ghana and the Ghana Police Service to also protect and safeguard local truck drivers from the same problem of multiple police barriers, police extortion and harassment.

JAPTU Ghana is the umbrella body of all fourteen (14) truck associations that operate from the ports of Ghana including our partners from Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger and we have a collective interest. There is no way that we could have settled for an intervention that discriminated among our members. This special dispensation is extended to transit trucks (trucks carrying transit cargo from the port (whether local or foreign).

As a union, JAPTU Ghana, has had to deal with these perennial problem of multiple police barriers, police extortion and harassment. Throughout our agitations and advocacy over the years, we have received little or no support from the political divide.  This directive from the Ghana Police Service has nothing to do with elections and election year as alluded to by the Hon. MP. Our trucks carry safe and duly decleared cargo which is subsequesntly cleared by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority. Let no one, therefore,  mislead any member of the general public otherwise, because the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Service has mounted barriers along the corridor to check these trucks

It took the courage and strong will of the IGP, Dr. George Akuffo Dampare and the Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (D-G), Michael Luguje, on Sunday 5th April, 2024 to meet and listen to the lamentations of our drivers. For four (4) hours under the scoching sun at the GPHA’s truck park these dedicated and true servants of Mother Ghana, stood on their feet to listen to our concerns and assure our rank and file of their commitment to deploying a sustainable solutions to this age-old problem.

In our history, as a transport union, THERE HAS NOT BEEN ANY IGP THAT HAS EXTENDED SUCH A LISTENING EAR AND COMPASSION TO US, AS WE HAVE WITNESSED FROM IGP GEORGE AKUFFO DAMPARE.

Whiles JAPTU Ghana wishes to commend the IGP Dr. George Akuffo Dampare and his abled lieutenants for the swift and courageous manner in which the top hierarchy of the Ghana Police Service have moved to deploy a sustainable solution to the challenges that are impeding growth in Ghana’s transit trade facilitation efforts, we urge the public to allow the Police force to address these issues and not to colour same  with any political insinuation.

Thank you.

Signed:

IBRAHIM MUSAH

(Executive Secretary)

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