Have you recently passed by the once well-equipped and maintained Efua Sutherland Park in Accra? Perhaps not—even if that is your case, GhanaCelebrities.Com captured the state of the Children’s Park a few months ago and words like ‘appalling, shocking and pathetic’ were not enough to depict what has become of the park.
It’s an inherent Ghanaian problem: we lack the culture of maintenance and more than enough, we’ve reduced important national monuments to rodents’ habitat. Places of tourism capable of fetching the country significant revenue to cushion our struggling economy have been freely rented out to rats and bats—some are the perfect avenues to host a global cobweb exhibition.
Our recent photo feature on the Efua Sutherland’s Children Park was shocking but what we’ve discovered following that coverage goes become the shock of seeing how the park has deteriorated under the national watch, in our capital city.
Today, Accra cannot boast of a modern Children’s Park or any place worth taking our children to—they can’t have Disney but at least, they deserve something within budget to kindle the beauty of being children as far as playgrounds are concerned.
But once again, the awfulness of our politics of discontinuity—where a change in ‘government officials’ implies the suspension of all policies, ideas and negotiations by the precious officials no matter how valuable these policies are has truncated a viable prospect of restoring and improving the Children’s Park.
Following our publication on the inexcusable state of the Efua Sutherland’s Children Park, we decided to find out how come no entity or persons have taken interest in the revival of the park—and we got information about a company -Downtown Leisure, which had tried to invest a whopping 3 million dollars into the park but they were ‘frustrated’ by our own government.
For years, the executives of Downtown Leisure company, which specialises in recreational facilities, tried all that was possible to rejuvenate the Park by proposing to invest $3million into it but when everything was almost set, a change at the Ministry in charge (Ministry of Women and Children Affairs renamed Gender, Children and Social Protection) ‘killed’ all the progress the company had made with the Ministry.
GhanaCelebrities.Com’s contact at Downtown Leisure told us this; “we, Downtown Leisure, had signed a 15+15 year lease with the Ministry for Children Affairs when Honourable Juliana Azumah-Mensah was the minister in 2012.
We prepared our studies and project details during 2012 and we were ready by the end of that year but Ghana went into elections. NDC returned to power but the Minister was replaced.
Sad to say everything slowed down and practically came to a standstill. Responsibility was always delegated to lower ranking officers.
We were promised all kinds of action to move forward but for whatever reasons, they did nothing. Many high ranking Ghanaians in power knew about our project but none moved to help us. Even GIPC whose primary objective was Investment in Ghana knew about us.”
Considering the fact that the park sits as a destitute yard at the center of our capital where we do not have any nearby alternative, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say, those at the top do not really care about our children or wish for anything good to come their way.
And it was not just a Children’s package—there were real extended benefits for the economy and several Ghanaians.
According to Downtime Leisure, they “would have created approximately 150 local jobs and then transformed the whole area into a thing of beauty and landscape. The children of Ghana and their families would have had a playground and a place to relax and enjoy.”
They added “We had promised to provide hundreds of free passes each month to underprivileged school children. We were estimating to pay approx 100,000 Dollars in Licence fees to the Ministry, vast amounts in taxation and other State taxes – in effect, we would have created a mini economy around us to other smaller service providers.
We had also proposed to help train other Government departments on how to duplicate our ideas and concepts at other smaller Government controlled locations throughout Ghana.
All these ideas and concessions to Government were mutually agreed and negotiated with the then Minister, Honourable Juliana Azumah-Mensah. In fact had she still been in office it is highly probable that Sutherland Park would have been up and running by now. ”
Yet, our own government officials have pushed them out of the country with the unnecessary bureaucracy and their lackadaisical attitudes toward the project.
This seems like a case of we won’t do anything with the space and we have nothing to offer these children but we won’t allow anyone to make relevant use of the space—that’s an ingredient of retrogressive cruelty, a tactic Satan has even renounced.
Downtime Leisure was right when they told us that “every Ghanaian who learned about our project were just amazed at the Plan and equally amazed at the failure of their Government”.
And to be frank, we can’t just understand our own government for robbing our future leaders of such high investment and deserving entertainment.
What’s particularly perplexing is the fact that, a mere change of those at the top within even the same government can results to such an outlandish treatment of those who have outlined such great plans and hold in their hands huge capital to invest in the very Children’s Park we’ve forgotten about.
We surely need to evaluate our priorities as a country and if you are ever asked to cite the reason why Ghana’s development is stalling, just quote ‘misplaced priorities’ and walk off.
Anytime you walk pass the terrible Efua Sutherland’s Children Park, imagine how it might have looked with a $3 million investment infused into the place—boasting the latest State-of-Art equipment from USA, Germany, UK and Korea well positioned on it and a landscaped environment you could visit and enjoy foods and refreshments at leisure while your children play.
Your child or cousin or sibling could have been spinning on one of those equipment but our government has once again robbed us, because of whatever political game they so much cherish to play to our detriment.