“Mr Chairman, Representatives of the Tsakos Group and Maria Tsakos Foundation, Directors and partners of the St. Nicholas Preparatory School, the Media, Distinguished invited guests, all Protocols observed, it is a great pleasure for me to address this gathering and to officially open the St. Nicholas Preparatory School, Tema Newtown.
Mr Chairman, When the Chiefs and people Tema, Kpone and Nungua Traditional Areas, in the national interest, released close to 63 square miles of land to the Government of Ghana for the construction of a major seaport as well as an industrial city, great was the joy that accompanied the event in the hope that the people were going to benefit from the jobs that would be created thereby.
Many years down the line, however, the construction and development of Tema into a seaport appears to have led to the under-development of some of the communities which gave up the land for this purpose and Tema Manhean (Tema New Town) is no exception. This huge community of people comprising unemployed labour, both skilled and unskilled as well as their dependants has developed around the port leading to unplanned and semi-developed residential communities in the area.
The main occupations which sustained the people in this area before the construction of the port were farming and fishing. However, with construction of the Port and the development of the Tema Township, all the farmland has been turned into residential areas while the livelihood of the fisher-folk has been usurped by bigger fishing vessels whose origin often falls outside our shores and who take away resources without putting anything back.
The teeming population of floating residents has gradually grown into a huge community of concern to the Chiefs and people of Tema Traditional Area and their social and economic survival is of great importance to us. This does not augur well for the Traditional Area and the country as a whole, when the residents of this area come from all over the country including Ewes, Gas and Fantis whose major livelihood is fishing.
It is our belief that the people living in this community deserve better and as part of their corporate social responsibility, it should be possible for other organisations and individuals operating their businesses here to give back to the community through support to schools and educational projects.
We are therefore happy at this time that the St. Nicholas Preparatory School, a project of the Tsakos Group in Ghana and the Maria Tsakos Foundation, with support from the Greek Companies and Community in Ghana as well as outside, together with the donations from other partners such as Jonmoore International, has been initiated to provide education to the under-privileged children between the ages of 4-6 years, a majority of whom had never stepped into a classroom.
This is a true recognition of social responsibility on the part of the initiators of this project and I say kudos to them for this laudable initiative. We are fully supportive of any initiative that is aimed at bringing development to our people and we shall do anything we can to ensure the success of this project.
On my own behalf and that of the Traditional Council as well as the Chiefs and people of Tema, I extend our gratitude