The Ghana Prisons Service and Zoomlion Ghana Limited have signed a one-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the cleaning up of streets in Accra.
Under the MoU, Zoomlion is providing tools and equipment such as trucks, wheelbarrows, reflectors, white-wash paints and vehicles to covey prisoners from one place to another from Monday to Friday.
In addition, Zoomlion is also providing GH¢10 per prisoner to the GPS and GH¢5 as feeding money to the prisoners taking part in the exercise.
The Ghana Prisons Service, on the other hand, is providing labour–prisoners, officers to escort the prisoners to the sites and a team of monitors to ensure that work is executed.
The 60 prisoners, who are engaged in the exercise, work from 8 am to 12 noon except on holidays when they do not work.
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The Chief Public Relations Officer of the GPS, Superintendent Vitalis Ai-yeh, told the Daily Graphic last Friday that the intention was to replicate the project across the country in areas where there are prisons.
Under the MoU, he said, the prisoners would be weeding, desilting drains, clearing sand off the streets to create space for water flow and also white-washing major streets.
He said since the project started in Accra, major routes such as Kanda Highway to the Ridge Roundabout, the National Theatre road through to Opeibea, Kwame Nkrumah Interchange, and N1-Highway, had been covered.
He explained that in line with the concept of the project to keep the city clean, the prisoners often returned to already cleared areas to clean up the mess after the rains or filth by members of the public.
Type of prisoners
Mr Ai-yeh said the authorities often used prisoners who were about ending their sentences and did not pose any threat to the public. He said the prisons authorities saw that as part of an integration process for those about to be released.
Under such circumstances, he said, the prisoners would not dare to escape since it would mean starting a new jail term when re-arrested.
Mr Ai-yeh said it was unacceptable for prisoners to be soliciting for money from motorists and pedestrians while they engaged in such activities.
He explained that soliciting for money often obstructed their work and traffic, as well as create an environment for accidents.
He, therefore, appealed to motorists, passengers and pedestrians not to be giving out money to the prisoners.
He said those prisoners, with penchant for begging, were often stopped from participating in such public activities.