Africa-Press – Ghana. The Minority in Parliament has described as cosmetic, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor’s recent statement suggesting government never knew the extent of devastation by illegal mining. The Minister who was speaking at the 40th Anniversary celebration by the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), just after a working visit to Manso Datano in the Amansie South District of the Ashanti Region, said he was shocked at the level of devastation, which couldn’t have happened on the blind side of local authorities. “The question I ask is, how could this have happened on the blind side of the Chief, elders, assemblymen, unit committee members, district police commander, district chief executive, district officers of the minerals commission, forestry commission, environmental protection agency and the members of the community?…he asked. He virtually took a swipe at traditional authorities who he blamed for not helping government’s effort. “I come from a palace and I can say without a shred of equivocation that in most cases, no one, and I repeat, no one can bring a chain saw to harvest in the forest or an excavator to mine in the bush or chanfang to work on a river body in a community without the knowledge, acquiescence or passive approval somehow of the Chief, Elders, the assemblymen, opinion leaders and or local authorities in the community.” But the Minority in a strongly worded statement described the Minister’s lamentation as laughable. “Why will anyone be surprised when it is clear that there were no practical actions to save our lands after the several expensive conferences the government organised,” the statement emphasized. It noted that it had previously raised concern about illegal mining before it gained renewed national attention and challenged government to demonstrate willingness to curb the menace and stop the pretence. “Twice this year, the minority through the Mines and Energy Committee drew the attention of Government about the relapse in their fight against galamsey.” “We called on the Ministers responsible to wake up from their long-drawn sleep and save our lands from selfish galamsay operators.” The Minority maintained that government clearly knows the actors and has allowed illegal mining to continue, with known “party supporters busily sinking machines into lands all over, including state reserved areas, polluting our fresh waters and destroying farm lands.” “The ease at which private citizens, many of foreign background, plunge into our lands and ravage it under this Regime is very worrying. It justifies why many citizens and civil society groups express worry about the future of our country.”…it emphasized.