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Trasacco Saga: Kewunor elders speak out

On October 10, 2018, after months of construction at the estuary, and countless meetings on the part of district offices, NGO’s and community pressure groups; Trasacco conceded to the mandatory Environmental and Social impacts assessment, and sent contractors from EESL (Ecosystem Environmental Solutions LTD.) to Kewunor community at the Ada estuary to conduct interviews and study the environment at the proposed resort site. During the course of the day, the three consultants held separate meetings with the elders of Kewunor, and the youth of both Kewunor and other surrounding communities. Both meetings were long, loud, and filled with questions both from the consultants, and from the community members. At times asking about alternatives to the situation such as suggesting a co-existence model for the project where the community and the resort exist side by side, and at other times community members suggesting that the company should rather come and kill them before taking them from their estuary home.

During the elders meeting we were able to record multiple testimonies of both men and women, the following are the transcribed records of those testimonies concerning the proposed Trasacco Estates development comany project they call Ada Turtle Bay set to be constructed as a 300-room resort on Kewunor community at the site of the Ada Foah estuary

Elder woman 1

I have lived here in this place since I was a baby, and my mother was a fish seller who would smoke fish and sell it to support the family, so I also smoke fish to sell so that I can feed my family. We didn’t have money for me to go to school so this is what I know how to do.

Then some people come and say it is not good that we live here, they want to take us from this place, which is our home, and resettle us onto a land which is not ours; this is what they are saying to us, but me I say no. So this is where we are, the white men come from their various countries to take photographs of the place and send the photos back so they can make plans to have the place for themselves. But I cannot go to any other place, this is my home, so if they should come to take me from this place, it would be better that they kill me, I will not go.

Originally my family is from the Volta region where everyone does fish smoking, so if I had to go, then there would be no work for me so that I can make enough money to feed my family. So I plead with you to solve this issue, so we can live in peace.

Elder woman 2

I am from Kewunor community, I am a fish smoker. Then these people come, and say they will make another place for us, but we don’t even know where we will be going, and we don’t want to go to that place; where we are living, we like it here. The fern leaf houses which we are living in, we like them. When I go to sleep, I can sleep on one side of the compound and my child can sleep on the other side and we will all be safe. And as the child is growing we can build another room for the child, but this new place, there is no way to construct another room onto your house, so we don’t want to go to that place.

Then what about our unborn children, and the next generation, what will we have to give them, and where will they stay, where will they come back to as their home? So we do not want to leave this place.

We have come from very far to this place, out island was sunk by the ocean, it is now under the ocean waters, so we are not going anywhere. They should rather send us back into the ocean before they take our home.

Or if these people want our current land at the estuary then they should dredge our land which is under the sea, so that we can have our home. Otherwise, if these foreigners want to come and take our home, then we can go to their homes in their countries and stay there, we can do that instead and that would be acceptable.

Elder Man 1

The whole community is against the relocation, we don’t want it, and we don’t even know where they have planned for us to go. We have come to stay at this place for a long time, and here as well as on the islands and along the coast, we are fishermen, we make our livelihood by fishing. So if they take us from this place, where will we go, what will we do?

So the whole of the community is against the relocation, we still want to be here, and that is my major, major, major problem [with the project].

These videos portray a small portion of the interviews taken that day, but shows the earnest desires of almost the entire community to stay on their homeland.

Once again, we urge Trasacco and Hilton, and the government of Ghana to use justice, and human and environmental rights as the foundations of any project developed in Ghana, and with these strong values as the backbone to do the right thing concerning the proposed development project at the Ada estuary which is being called 'Ada Turtle Bay' , don't eject the inhabitants who desire to continue living in peace, and don't privatize such a magnificent commonwealth asset that is the estuary near Ada Foah Ghana. This is the voice of the people.

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