The Proprietress of the Ave Maria Resort, Theresa Ntim, has rubbished claims made by the Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GHPA), Paul Asare Ansah, to the effect that a compensation package had been agreed between them and the managers of the Resort ahead of the planned demolition of the facility.
Mr. Asare Ansah had earlier said the Ave Maria Resort in Tema would be pulled down by the end of January 2018 as part of the $1.5 billion Tema Port Expansion Project.According to him, the GHPA had reached an agreement with the managers of the Resort to pull down the 10 million-dollar facility.
However, Mrs. Ntim refuted the GPHA boss’ assertions, indicating that no conclusive decision had been taken on the matter, which has persisted for over two years.
“It is true they [GPHA] have written that we should leave by January 26. We have replied them to give us three months to wind up and also to make sure they give us compensation and relocation,” she told Citi News.
“I heard he [Mr. Asare Ansah] was saying they have given me several offers. It is not true. Nobody has given me any offers. We were just given a copy of the compensation by the valuers and we are still working on the anomalies in the compensation… So nothing is certain.”
The GPHA boss had also said they had taken the decision to demolish the facility only after they had explored other unsuccessful options to ensure that the establishment remained intact.
But Mrs. Ntim also dismissed these comments, stating that the Meridian Port Services (MPS), the company executing the expansion had indicated that the Resort could be retained and fused into the expansion plans.
“The MPS Managing Director, he told me that Ave Maria can either be included or excluded. In fact, all they need to do was put up a wall, but it was up to the GPHA. The fact that he is saying the people say it cannot be done is not true,” she stated.
“All the things that he [Mr. Asare Ansah] was saying, they were half-truths. I don’t know why he is doing that. He is a liar. I am sorry to use that word,” Mrs. Ntim said.
In October 2017, staff of the Resort were reportedly surrounded by some security personnel of the GPHA. There was some earth movement by a bulldozer which blocked the front gate of the Resort, trapping staff and guests.
A Board Member of the Resort, accused the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), of intimidating the Resort for over two years.
In a Citi News interview, the Board Member said the police offered little protection to the Resort and its staff during a recent attack by security personnel of GPHA.
Managers of the facility lamented that the tension between the Resort and the GPHA was indicative of a country that doesn’t value heritage.
The Resort is said to have been recommended to be preserved by the Center of the World Committee, as it is viewed as having great value for Ghana’s tourism sector.
It has a long heritage for hosting the likes of Ghana’s First President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah as a regular patron, and Queen Elizabeth when she visited Ghana.
By: Elvis Washington/Citifmonline.com/Ghana