Sekondi, November 8, 1960
I am happy to send you as your first Regional Commissioner, Hon. John Arthur, one of the valiant comrades who, as a worker and a Party activist in the liberation struggle, toiled and suffered with you. His election by the Sekondi/Takoradi constituency to the National Assembly is eloquent testimony of your confidence in him. The task that devolves upon Regional Commissioners throughout the country is a very onerous one and needs all your support and co- operation. I also expect all of you to cooperate fully with the District Commissioners too in the discharge of their duties; they are vital for the successful implementation of our development plan on which the prosperity of this country depends.
Today, Ghana is a free, sovereign and independent state, and with the establishment of the Republic on July 1st, she has given eloquent ex
The mere mention of Sekondi-Takoradi in connection with the struggle for independence conjures up in our minds the heroic part played by the workers of Ghana and especially those of this area in the liberation movement. The monumental T. U. C. Headquarters building in Accra not only represents, but symbolises the gratitude of the people of Ghana, and of my own in particular, for the unforgettable contribution of the worker to the attainment of Ghana’s independence. We fought for independence so that among other things, we may raise the standard of living of the workers and of the broad masses generally. Recently, at the occasion of the opening of the T.U.C. Headquarters in Accra, I outlined ail eleven-point programme for the improvement of workers’ condition of service. I said among other things the following:
1. To make the civil servants ‘Widows’ and Orphans’ Pension Scheme voluntary instead of compulsory,
2. To declare January First each year a public holiday, 3. To make all public holidays paid holidays:
4. To increase wages;
5. To have wages of low income groups paid fortnightly instead of monthly;
6. To control the high cost of living and
7. To provide more housing and more food at reasonable rates which all workers can afford. I am glad to say that since then, most of these promises have been implemented and the few remaining ones are being attended to.
Nananom, Fellow Ghanaians, the people of this country have a great future before them: I dream of city of Ghana with large factories and cultural institutions; I dream also of the countryside dotted with large farms and flourishing farming communities and well planned villages; yes, I dream of a new Ghana and a new Africa with a happy, prosperous and progressive people.
But these dreams cannot be realised without hard work and devoted service. The economic and social reconstruction of Ghana demands from all of us our utmost devotion and service. I therefore call on all workers to give the Government and the Convention People’s Party your continued loyalty and support and work for a prosperous future for all of us.
This spirit of service and devotion which I require from all of you for the building of the new Ghana is inconsistent with the ‘I don’t care’ attitude on the part of some Government officials and workers. These people do nothing when they see things going wrong or Government property being misused. They look on with an “I don’t-care attitude, they say "it is your Government which has done or is doing this," or "it is Government property." These people are nothing but wreckers and saboteurs. Remember, it is the taxes you contribute that provide Government with funds for public expenditure. It is the duty of every citizen therefore to safeguard public funds and protect public property as well as explain Government measures to the understanding of the broad masses of our people. This is the duty of the true citizen of Ghana.
The country is now free and united, marching under the glorious banner of the dynamic Convention People’s Party. The Party is now the only national party in Ghana. I have often stated that the party is supreme and when I say that the party is supreme, what I mean is that the decisions of the Central Committee of the party as announced by the Secretary of the Central Committee which is myself, override all considerations. I can say today that the Government, the Party and the people are one and the Government is the Government of the people by the people and for the people; in other words, the Government is ours. There is therefore no longer what used to be called "white man’s work." It is your work: it is our work. Government hours of work is your hours of work. Government property and money are therefore your property and money and you must take r good care of them wherever you find them.
As I have been saying, the political revolution has ended; we have now entered the era of economic and social reconstruction. My chief pre-occupation now is how to industrialise Ghana, revolutionise our agriculture and raise the living standard of the people, and I shall leave no stone unturned until that has been achieved. I am working out plans for implementation, so that in few years. We shall see a new Ghana, moving on wheels, with electricity and water in plentiful supply everywhere.
This region is to participate fully in the economic and social development and factories and large rooms are to be established in this region too. Of particular interest to Sekondi/Takoradi is my intention to establish a Naval Base at the site of the old Sekondi Harbour. If the experts approve of it as l technically feasible, then I propose to develop that plan of Sekondi near the old harbour and all that part which used to be called European Town into a naval establishment for the use of our naval base.
With regard to the sea wall which is being threatened by the sea, I am inviting experts from Holland to come and do nothing about it. Sekondi Takoradi is the only municipality without a Town Hall. A town of its size and importance and at present, the main gateway to Ghana by sea cannot be denied a Town Hall any longer. I am therefore happy to inform you that the Government is going to put up a Town Hall in this municipality. Finally with the re-constitution of the Western Region for administrative purposes, there is the need for a Residency for the Regional Commissioner and I am going to inspect and select a site for it sometime this afternoon or tomorrow so that construction can start without delay.
And now some points about other parts of the Region. I want to inform you that the reconstruction and tarring of the Agona Junction —Axim road is to start soon. The contract has already been awarded. This applies to the Mpataba-Elub; and Yaakesi-Dadieso roads. A jetty is also to be built at Jewi Wharf to facilitate transportation on the Eyi Lagoon and Tano River. Various important roads in the Region are also being attended to.
Difficulties about our Western frontier are also engaging our attention. We have not forgotten our brothers and sisters along the frontiers of the Ivory Coast.
And now Nananom, we come to the question regarding Chieftaincy. The problem now is the maintenance of traditional authorities. The Government appreciates the efforts being made by many chiefs to change with the times and move abreast with their people. Under the modern democratic setup of our republican constitution, we should do away with antiquated practices and customs which retard our progress, but retain the best in our institutions.
Besides, there should be the closest cooperation between chiefs and Government for the effective administration of the country. I must say this of the chiefs of this region that they are doing very well in this respect. We would therefore like them to continue and improve on this spirit of cooperation with the Government. I expect Nananom to move abreast with the time. As regards the attention of the maintenance of traditional authorities, l and the Government have given much thought to it and l think that some provision should be made so that the Government can give some personal allowances to all Paramount Chiefs, Divisional or Wing Chiefs and Queen Mothers attached to paramount stools. This grant is in addition to any allowances provided on behalf of the staff of State Councils.
This will cost the nation, but it is worth it, taking into consideration the fact that chieftaincy is part of our institutions and cultural heritage. The Chiefs on the other hand are expected and in fact duty bound, to do everything possible to help in the drive for economic and social reconstruction and for successful administration of the country, but above all, for the promotion of orderly living, the prosperity and happiness of the people.
Finally, Nananom, fellow countrymen, the role which Ghana is called upon to play in African and world affairs is great. Our brothers in other parts of Africa are playing their part, but many of our brothers are still languishing under the yoke of colonialism and imperialism. Besides, you have the task yes, the proud duty of asserting the African personality in world affairs. To achieve all mm Ghana must be a modem state • industrially and agriculturally; technologically and culturally. Let us therefore mobilise our forces together and will determination and singleness of purpose, with hard work and devoted march forward together under the glorious banner of the indomitable Convention People’s Party to the new haven of our dreams and aspirations. Forward Ever, Backward Never.
Once more, I thank you all Nananom, workers and farmers, and everybody in the region for this magnificent reception and forth touching demonstration of your faith and confidence in us. Thank you all.