Public institutions do not necessarily belong to present occupants.

BY: K.B. Asante

A correspondent called me a few days ago and asked what I thought of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) building being pulled down. He continued by saying the building had been pulled down because the occupants found certain insects and other creatures in it. I was horrified. The building was a national monument of architecture and history. It did not belong to CHRAJ which was a temporary occupant. He talked about the nuisance of creepies and the likes. He was apparently horrified when I reminded him that it was a scandal. The building was a national monument of architecture and history.

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The building was constructed by the Governor of the Gold Coast, Sir Arnold Hodson, to house the government’s annual pantomime, the Zakariah Fee. The pantomime assembled all talents from the schools, the teaching profession, the civil service and similar organisations. It gave the people of the Gold Coast something to celebrate at Christmas.

The architecture was not exceptional and perhaps had a few faults and defects but the KG V was a monument of excellence to many. It diverted attention from some of the problems of the time. It was argued by some that the idea was to divert people’s attention from some of the many problems that assailed the nation.

Be that as it might, it was enjoyed by many. Many found the five shillings, which was a quarter of the monthly pay of the civil servant, to attend the performance difficult to afford.


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It should, however, be emphasised that organisations had no right to demolish or tamper with the buildings they occupied. Recently, there were talks about some problems with the present Supreme Court building. The Supreme Court cannot change its present building. It does not belong to the judges. It is a national establishment and can only be changed by those to whom it belongs.

The rule of law should prevail. Occupants cannot do as they like with the buildings that have been assigned to them.

There is a tendency to ignore the rule of law and this should be stopped. I would advise correspondents to think about what they write and the implications. I am not Mr Know-All and those who ask questions should have some ideas of answers expected. In this particular case, as I have already stated, I was surprised that the questioner did not know that the occupants of the building could not do as they pleased.

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Even if the building was on the verge og collapse, we have a procedure for pulling down structures which are nearly dilapidated. Proper procedures should be followed before a structure is pulled down and the reasons should be carefully assessed and put right as demanded by law.