Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs. Catherine Abelema Afeku on behalf of President Akufo-Addo has cut the sod for redevelopment of the Axim Victoria Park into a Ceremonial Grounds to boost tourism activities in the area.
The Victoria Park is in front of Fort Saint Antonio, where national and local programmes are mostly held and serves as the venue where the Chiefs and people of Lower and Upper Axim Traditional Council celebrate their annual Kundum festival.
Historically, it was developed as part of Fort Saint Antonio in 1515 by the Portuguese government as a tourist site but since that time, the park has been deteriorating and can’t attract any tourists.
It would be recalled that during the 2018 Kundum festival celebration by the Chiefs and people of Axim, President Akufo-Addo who was the special guest of honour promised to redevelop the park into a Ceremonial Park to attract more tourists into the area.
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It also comes as a result of the promise the then Flag-bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), President Akufo-Addo made during the round up to the 2016 election when he met the Chiefs and people of the area.
The modernised facility, which is being executed by Freidoug Construction Ltd will comprise a VIP Parking, Pre-Event Lounge, Restaurant, Multi-Purpose entertainment, Administration, Preservation of Shrine, Ground Control Barries, VIP Access, One way traffic, paved or grassed.
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Others include, Subsidiary seating for 40 people, Guest seating for 225 people, Processing entrance or exit, and Seating for 60 Chiefs.
The facility is part of Axim Tourism Development Enclave project being executed by the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) and Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB) to develop tourist places into standard ones.
Speaking at the sod-cutting ceremony on Monday, December 24, 2018 at Axim, Mrs. Catherine Afeku who performed the sod-cutting ceremony on behalf of President Akufo-Addo, expressed her profound gratitude to the Chiefs and people of Evalue Ajomoro-Gwira Constituency for the overwhelming support given to the NPP government for this facility to see the light of day.
She said the facility, among others, was to create jobs for the local people in the area.
She added that the facility when completed will attract more tourists and improve the local economy of the people.
Mrs. Afeku who is also the MP for the area said Axim is one of the tourist destinations in the country but bemoaned how tourism was going down.
She added that this is the time for the government to develop the tourist sites in the area to attract tourists and fetch the country money.
According to her , the facility begins immediately and is expected to be completed in nine (9) months.
She disclosed that the project is going to create job opportunities for the skilled and unskilled youth in the area before and after construction.
She therefore, charged the teeming unemployed youth not to be lazy when given the opportunity.
The Minister charged the contractor to ensure that quality work was done to ensure value for money and urged the people to embrace the project and support the contractor to complete the work on schedule.
She revealed that since 1957 no government had developed the area than the NPP government and that the project when completed will face-lift the image of the late Paa Grant who was the founder of the UGCC/UP traditions.
Madam Catherine Afeku said election must inure to development to better the living conditions of the people.
She mentioned a sea-defence project, a sports stadium, DVLA office, construction of Axim township roads as some of the achievements she had chalked so far and asked the people to rally behind Nana Akufo Addo to continue with developmental projects in the area.
She also announced to the gathering that early next year, government will cut the sod for the construction of Axim Landing Beach and also the Gwira roads adding that more projects are in the pipeline.
“This facility is the Christmas gift for the people of Axim given by the NPP government led by President Akufo-Addo and Axim is now becoming a sod-cutting ceremony constituency in Ghana”, she excited.
She, therefore, seized the opportunity to advise the people to refrain from partisan politics and rally for development, “partisan politics is killing us and it should be the thing of the past”.
On his part, the Chief Executive Director of Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Dr. Akwasi Agyemang thanked President Akufo-Addo for honouring his 2016 campaign promise of redeveloping the Axim Victoria Park.
“In fact, President Akufo-Addo is a promise and deliver man because during this year’s Kundum festival celebration, he promised to honour his 2016 campaign promise and we are here today to execute his promise”, he said.
He revealed to the gathering that, the tourism sector is the number three Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contributor in the country and said this facility will boost the tourism industry in the country.
He said the facility will create direct and indirect employment opportunities for the people and appealed to the people to embrace the project.
He commended the chiefs and people of Nsein Traditional Council for throwing their support behind Hon Catherine Afeku for her to bring this important project in the area.
He, therefore, used the opportunity to appeal to the people to vote massively for Hon. Catherine Afeku in 2020 to continue with the good works she has started.
He predicted “Very soon, Axim will look like Abroad that’s USA”.
The Deputy Director in charge of projects of Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB), Mr. Kingsley Ofosu Ntiamoah said God has blessed the good people of Nzema East Municipality for giving Hon. Catherine Afeku as their Cabinet Minister and appealed to them to vote for her again in 2020 to bring more developments into the area.
He said Ghana Museums and Monuments Board is under the Tourism Ministry is in charge of Castles, Forts and Museums in the country and added, “We thank God that today we and the Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) have collaborated to develop Axim Victoria Park into Ceremonial Ground”.
He revealed that government is in consultation with the Italian government to renovate the Fort St. Antonio as part Axim Tourism Development Enclave project.
He said if the redevelopment of Axim Victoria Park facility completed it will help tourists who will visit the Fort for relaxation.
He announced at the gathering that from today going, government was going to give 5% of money earn from the Fort to the family whose land the Fort has been used.
He also promised to upgrade the tomb of late George Paa Grant who was a founder of UGCC into a national monument.
On his part, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of the area, Hon. Frank Okpenyen alias Franko also expressed profound appreciation to the NPP government for bringing this great facility to Axim which will help develop the area.
He used the occasion to thank the chiefs and people of the area for releasing land for the construction this facility.
He pledged his total commitment to liaise with the contractor to complete the project on time as expected.
He urged the people to embrace the project and support the contractor to complete the work on schedule.
The MCE thanked the Tourism Minister for the facility and pledged the Assembly’s readiness for the facility.
“We are happy about this project, we are ready for development, we will help the Ministry to develop this area”, he expressed joy.
He appealed to the contractor to employ some of the youth in the area to assist in the construction work.
He, therefore, called on the youth to take advantage of the opportunity given.
He called on the youth of the area to rally behind His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and pray for him as he has started implementing his flagship programs.
“President Nana Addo has the youth of this country at heart and he needs your total support to execute his flagship programs”, he said.
The MCE admitted that the spate of development springing up in the municipality in the last two years was unprecedented.
He would, therefore, continue to team up with the MP to redouble their efforts to accelerate development and boost the local economy.
He revealed that 95 per cent of the DVLA office in the area is complete and expected to be commissioned in 2019.
He added that the construction of the Sea Defence Wall is steadily ongoing and said the project has given jobs to the local people in the area.
He seized the occasion to express his profound gratitude to President Akufo-Addo for always thinking about his area and called on his people to rally behind the NPP government.
“Let us rally behind President Akufo-Addo and his government and also pray hard for President Akufo-Addo for wisdom and long life and develop our area”, he pleaded.
He also urged them to vote massively for Hon Catherine Afeku to continue her good works that she started in 2020.
Mr. George Kofi Anderson, the project manager of Freidoug Ltd, disclosed to the media that all construction works would be given to local artisans.
He said about 70% temporal workers in the Municipality will be engaged during the construction as part of the local content policy.
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