GFD to sue ASHMA over accessibility

Ashaiman (GAR)- The Ashaiman branch of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (GFD) has threatened to sue the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly (ASHMA) over the lack of accessibility to the assembly’s office buildings.

The association is seeking the court’s order in relation to the Persons With Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715), which reads in part that, The owner or occupier of a place to which the public has access shall provide appropriate facilities that make the place accessible to and available for use by a person with disability.

The ACT also stated that a person who contravenes the sections commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 50 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months or to both.”

Mr Courage Wormenor, Chairman of the GFD in Ashaiman, disclosing this to the Ghana News Agency, said after the elapsing of the 10 year moratorium on the full implementation of the Act, ASHMA had flatly refused to implement the provisions on accessibility to public buildings.

Mr Wormenor expressed worry about the situation as he revealed that several letters to the ASHMA had proved futile as officials at the Assembly did not even respond to their messages.

He said their lawyers were considering a legal action against the Assembly to ensure that the needed physical accessibility was put in place to enable disables in the Municipality to access public buildings.

According to him, ASHMA was currently constructing new office buildings on its premises without taking disability accessibility into consideration.

He wondered the reason behind the neglect and inaction from the Assembly.

“The officials do not even consider to do the right thing in accordance with a letter from the Ministry of Works and Housing to them on the issue, ” he said.

A copy of the letter signed by Mr Steve Aggor, Director, General Administration, Ministry of Works and Housing, dated July 13, 2018, indicated that the Ministry closely associate itself with the concerns expressed by the GFD.

The letter reminded ASHMA that, Municipal Assemblies,as the planning authorities at the local level are mandated to ensure compliance with those requirements and therefore asked the Assembly to ensure that the building was disability friendly in compliance with the relevant laws and policies.

Mr Lewis Djan, Project Coordinator of the GFD in Ashaiman, on his part, question ASHMA’s moral authority to enforce the law when developers refused to comply.

Source: Ghana News Agency