Why close Local Radio Stations for Free Spectrum to US Military ?–Helen Ntoso

 

Hon Mrs Helen Adjoa Ntoso, Member of Parliament (MP) for Krachi West, has questioned the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government loyalty to the good people of Ghana in the wake of the Ghana- USA Military cooperation agreement with regards to granting free radio spectrum to the USA, after closing down  local radio stations over frequency renewal  in the country.

According to the former Volta Regional Minister, the agreement to grant unimpeded access to facilities in the country, including free radio spectrum to the USA Military is the highest betrayal of its kind on Ghanaian tax payers.

Last Friday Parliament by majority side approved an agreement that allows the United States of America to set up a military base in Ghana.

The agreement between the two countries also grants unrestricted access to a host of facilities including free radio spectrum and wide-ranging tax exemptions to the United States military and civilian personnel.

Portion of the agreement document states that, “Ghana shall accord to military personnel and civilian personnel the privileges, exemptions, and immunities equivalent to those accorded to the administrative and technical staff of a diplomatic mission under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April 18, 1961.”

The granting of free radio spectrums to US military defeated  the recent action by National Communication Authority(NCA) where some local radio stations operations license were revoked for default in payment for renewal.

Speaking to THE REPUBLIC on why the Minority members on the parliamentary select committee of Defence and Interior dissented on the agreement, Mrs Ntoso said, whether the agreement is a US military base or military cooperation with the US, the deal Defence Minister, Mr Dominic Nitiwul and his NPP government just foisted on Ghanaians serves to advance US permanent interests mainly and hence indicts the country sovereignty rights and laws.

She described the government decision to sign the agreement against all concerns by Ghanaians as a betrayal of trust and smacks of self-pity and denial, both of which are unbecoming of a government elected in the name of change by the people and for the defence of the people.
The Krachi West lawmaker stated that, despite the fact that Ghana has long bilateral relation with the US, sections of the agreement were bad in nature, judging from the fact that Ghana is a sovereignty state with laws.

On the argument that the agreement traced back to the 1998 under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, Mrs Ntoso said, governance is not marked by blame games, but by stepping up and taking responsibility in governance, adding that, what the Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul and his government should have been telling and clarifying to the good people of Ghana was why , “we should trust the goodwill of a foreign country with free use of our radio spectrum, provision of and free use of a special runway, and unfettered access to our international airport with exclusive use of other unnamed premises with no liability for damages whatsoever.”

In effect, she argued that the US army would have a control and operating a state within a state with the US Ambassador possibly as President, not the President that Ghanaians lined up to the polls to elect in 2016 under the sweltering sun.

The Minority MP said, the government has underrated the potential dangers imposed on Ghanaians with the agreement for which reason, they used the parliamentary majority in such a very sensitive national security concerns.

She said, the situation as it remained is worrying for our burgeoning democracy, stating, ” we love the Americans but we don’t trust them.”

The former Regional Minister said, it was not surprise even the cursory observer that this deal has the hallmarks of American interests written all over it from preamble to appendix, pointing out that, “in some of the Articles of the agreement, they made sure the language is very clear and instructive where it matters to them and abstruse where it matters to Ghana.”

Mrs Ntoso also questioned the reason that US would want to pay $20million to Ghana and obscure the potential benefits to our country, stating, “why the so call US$20 million is not in the agreement, we knew of the 20million USD not from the text of the deal but from oral submissions by our Defence Minister only.”

She said, the Minority dissented on grounds of procedural and legal lapses, adding that the agreement was brought to parliament without signature which by interpretation of law felt short of Article 75(1) and (2) of Ghana’s 1992 constitution and the Standing Orders of the August House.

She therefore charged Ghanaians to stand up with the Minority MPs in parliament to demanded for the right thing to be done with law and that Ghana is a sovereignty state and could be push as such by a foreign country to enter into agreement which would expose the people to terrorist attack.

Meanwhile the Minority in Parliament on Friday, staged a walkout over the agreement which was approved by the majority for ratification.

Majority side of the Committee led by Seth Acheampong said,, after thorough examination of the agreement it found that “its ratification would help provide a mutually beneficial arrangement for cooperation and readiness to combat emerging global security threats.”

He further argued that the agreement would further help enhance the already existing relationship between the two countries in the area of security cooperation.

Sources:www.therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba

The Republic News Online

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