QUOTE: “Grenfell Tower fire is ‘corporate manslaughter’ and arrests must be made, says LABOUR MP David Lammy ‘We should call it what it is; it’s corporate manslaughter, that’s what it is and there should be arrests made, frankly,’ the Tottenham MP said. UNQUOTE
These words, uttered by Mr David Lammy, one of the few black Members of the British Parliament, gave voice to the feelings of many who watched in horror as Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey block of flats in Latimer Road, in the Ladbroke Grove area of West London, was engulfed in flames.
Seventeen people have been reported as having died from the inferno. But there are fears that the final death toll will be much higher – probably passing the 100 mark.
The first thought that entered my head when I saw the building burning on TV in the early hours of Wednesday, 14 November 2017, was how closely the sight reminded me of what I saw on TV on 9/11 – the day the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York were hit by aircraft used to deliberately pummel them. The sheer horror of it all came back.
But why, at such an early stage (when the enquiry into the fire promised by the British Prime Minister, Mrs Theresa May, has not even begun its work, let alone reach any conclusions about the cause(s) of the fire) should Mr Lammy be making a demand for arrests?
The answer is that it has emerged since the conflagration, that the residents had been calling attention to the unsafe nature of the building for the past two years at least, but that their cries have been ignored. The building was refurbished recently at a cost of several million pounds. But instead of becoming safer, it became even more dangerous.
To improve its insulation from the cold air outside, the walls were covered with “cladding”, but apparently the “cladding” used was not fire-resistant and is not allowed to be used on buildings in the US, especially New York. As soon as the fire reached the outside of the building from the 4th floor – where a power surge is suspected to have caused a fridge to explode and catch fire — the entire “cladding” was ignited – from the top of the building right down – and the chances of many people being able to escape the flames and the thick black smoke, vanished.
The UK is a fully advanced country, where building technology has become very proficient. But the Conservative Governments of recent years – which were mimicked by the Labour Government of Tony Blair to some extent — have been starving councils of money, with the result that corners are often cut when public works are undertaken.
Even worse, many council and governmental construction establishments have been dissolved, with the result that many public works are given out on contract to private firms, whose first objective is, of course, to enrich their share-holders. It is suspected that council officials sometimes collude with private contractors to allow less expensive, but often unsafe, materials to be used in the course of carrying out public works. So, if you imagined that it is only in developing countries that public officials and private firms get together to cheat and sometimes endanger the lives of members of the public, think again. The enquiry into this disaster will therefore be watched very closely all over the world
As the anti-galamsey campaign gathers momentum, some of the revelations coming forward are quite unbelievable. Who would have thought that “top people” in the Forestry Commission, who are entrusted with the task of safeguarding our forest reserves from marauding profit-seekers, would be the very people who would allow Chinese galamseyers and their Ghanaian collaborators to enter forest reserves and carry out galamsey there? Yet a serious allegation has been publicly made on TV that this is happening, and yet, up till now, the Forestry Commission has said absolutely nothing about the allegation!
We know, of course, that the Minerals Commission has been at the forefront of creating confusion in the mineral laws of the land – by overlooking the legislation that requires mining licences to be ratified by Parliament before they can become operative — and thereby giving leeway to the galamseyers to destroy our river-bodies and farmlands.
What I personally did not realise is that the Water Resources Commission is also involved in allowing galamseyers to dredge rivers and streams in search of gold!
I was shocked to read the following report, which came out– inadvertently, no doubt, at a court hearing:
QUOTE: “Dr Mawuli Lumor, officer in charge of the Ankobra River Basin,… [has] confirmed that the Water Resources Commission (WRC) has not granted permits to … five Chinese and five Ghanaian, charged for … [carrying out] galamsey in River Ankobra at Bamianko, in the Western Region…. “As far as I am concerned, they have not been permitted to mine in the Ankobra Basin since 2007. I have been working in the Basin and I do investigations before the go-ahead can be given. Concerning the accused, no [application for a] permit has come to my office. Addressing questions posed by counsel for the accused, Dr Lumor said that dredging or diverting of a water course was allowed but under technical supervision, and by laws as stipulated by the Water Act.” UNQUOTE
Three questions arise from this report: (1) Is the Ankobra River polluted and in danger, as a result of the dredging of its riverbed? (2) Has the Water Resources Commission granted any permits for such dredging on the Ankobra? (3) If it has, is it not directly responsible for the state of the Ankobra River and other Rivers and streams on which it has granted permits for dredging to be conducted?
You can see from the above questions that we would never have known that the Water Resources Commission is issuing permits for dredging and diversion of rivers, but for the court case. Thus, our own state machinery, it appears, is being suborned to sue permits to destroy our country and its resources. For how many galamseyers have actually been given a sheen of legitimacy by state officials who are – if we take the charitable attitude – simply inefficient, or if we take the cynical view, corrupt? We never can tell.
Meanwhile, the destruction of the rivers, streams and farmlands, continues.
What a people.
By Cameron Duodu