Opinion: Joe Onyame Is Both Right and Wrong – By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

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Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.

For the country to healthily develop and progress, we need the skills and talents and the entrepreneurship of all who desire to invest in our national development effort, without regard to race, ethnicity or citizenship. But everybody who decides to involve himself or herself in such a wholesome enterprise must do so in accordance with the laws of the land. As of this writing, a manhunt had been launched for the arrest of two Chinese nationals alleged to have imported 1,310 cartons of unwholesome tilapia which they intended to put on the market for consumption (See “Ghana Police Chase 2 Chinese for Importing Harmful Tilapia” Citifmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 9/6/17).

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We are also told that an inspection conducted by personnel of the country’s Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) clearly indicated that, indeed, the entire consignment of tilapia was not fit for human consumption. In other words, what we are dealing with here is the case of two businessmen who had the criminal intention of selling rotten fish to Ghanaians. Rotten fish is poisoned or poisonous fish. I have avoided specifying the Chinese nationality of the alleged culprits because their nationality, while indeed significant, may not necessarily be the motivating factor here.

What is clearly at stake here is naked greed and abject human insensitivity. We must also quickly point out here that it is an open-secret that some native Ghanaian citizens have been engaged in the same criminal and foul practice. And for all we know, Messrs. Zhang Ming (aka Gary) and Chu Yong Shani, currently on the lam, might have collaborated with some Ghanaian citizens on the lookout to making quick money at the expense of the health of their fellow citizens. Unless Messrs. Ming and Shani have been living in the country for a considerable while, there is absolutely no reason to believe or suspect that they could have embarked on such criminal enterprise without local input or complicity.

I, however, vehemently disagree with those Ghanaian citizens in the fishery business who are calling for Chinese nationals to be barred from fishing in our territorial waters. Such collective punishment would be tantamount to a gross violation of the human and civil rights of these Chinese nationals, especially if they also happen to be legally resident in our country. If any Chinese, or foreign nationals, for that matter, are to be barred from the fishery business or industry, such prohibition must be squarely based on a case-by-case basis of proven criminal activity. But unlike Mr. Joseph Onyame, Managing-Director of Onyame Fisheries, I happen to believe that Ghanaians do not require the participation of foreign nationals to be able to produce sea food in adequate quantities to meet the consumption capacity of the nation at large.

Then also, the argument that Ghanaians, by and large, lack the requisite capital resources and the skill to purchase and operate the sort of sophisticated state-of-the-art vessels operated by Chinese fishermen to harvest their catch from our territorial waters is unpardonably preposterous. Which is not to necessarily contradict Mr. Onyame on the fact that, indeed, many Ghanaian fishermen may lack the requisite skills for fishing in the modern industrial and postindustrial era. In sum, what the Managing-Director of Onyame Fisheries ought to be advocating, is for our vocational institutions, colleges and universities to establish courses in state-of-the art fishing or commercial/industrial fishing, as a means of upgrading the standards of hygiene in the fishing or sea-food industry.

Both local and foreign investors could also be encouraged to test the waters of our sea-food industry. This is also another prime avenue that the Akufo-Addo Administration ought to be seriously looking at in terms of job creation. Allied/aligned to the preceding is the industrial processing of sea-food in the country, which is highly likely to facilitate the creation of even more jobs than currently prevails.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs

The opinions expressed are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views or have the endorsement of the Editorial Board of www.africanewsanalysis.com and www.zongonews.com