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Gov’t will equip the Navy to deal with maritime security threat

By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA

Accra, March 28, GNA – Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on Tuesday gave the assurance that the Government would equip the Ghana Navy and other stakeholders in the maritime industry to protect and preserve the vital national assets.

He said government had decided to purchase two offshore vessels with helicopter landing facilities for the Navy, and also establish a Forward Operating Base in the Western Region, to train and equip Special Forces to deal swiftly with any maritime security threat.

He said: Maritime security is a collaborative effort involving many agencies and other countries since there is no physical boundary at sea, he stated.

Therefore, he said, government was making frantic effort to equip the Marine Police Unit of the Ghana Police Service, the Judiciary and other agencies to expeditiously prosecute maritime offences.

The Vice President said this at the opening of the third Coastal and Maritime Surveillance Africa Conference and Defence Exhibition in Accra.

The event, organised by the Ghana Navy and the Ministry of Defence, in partnership with the International Quality and Productivity Centre, brought together experts in the maritime security in Africa and other advanced countries, to discuss and adopt modern strategies to deal effectively with maritime threats.

Dr. Bawumia noted that coastal and maritime surveillance was a major operational component of maritime security, therefore, bringing together experts and professionals in the industry was the best way forward, saying; maritime security has been a major issue for countries in the Gulf of Guinea in their quest for socio-economic development .

He said it was the vision of the Government to make Ghana the most attractive investment destination in Africa and expressed optimism that the conference would provide the opportunity for technology transfer and investment.

The Vice President noted that the resources at the maritime domain was enormous, however, it had been undermined by multifaceted domestic, regional and international maritime security threats, which threatened the socio-economic stability of the Sub-region.

He said the pervasive insecurity in the resource-based maritime environment had resulted in annual financial losses to the tune of two billion dollars in the Sub-region and, therefore, significantly constraining investments, growing prospects and having adverse political consequences.

In view of this, he said regional and international strategies had been proposed as the possible solution to the growing threats and, therefore, urged the stakeholders to find new concepts and technologies to effectively deal with the challenge.

The conference is timely since it will provide opportunity to maritime security and surveillance experts, chiefs of services and senior commanders from the various African countries to discuss threats posed to the maritime domain in the Sub-region, he stated.

The Vice President observed that since the nation discovered crude oil in commercial quantities in 2007 with various oil installations offshore, it had made the country s maritime domain a critical national assets and security threat.

Therefore, he said, government was working with other neighbouring countries under the auspices of the Yaound Accord, Code of Conduct of Maritime Security and Heads of State to strengthen the country s maritime environment.

He said, under the accord, a number of coordinating centres were established within the Gulf of Guinea and Ghana had agreed to host the coordinating centre comprising Liberia, Cote d Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

This, he said, showed the commitment of the Government towards safeguarding maritime security in the Sub-region and assured that, it would support other neighbouring countries to strengthen their maritime security since any maritime threat would have rippling effects in the Sub-region.

The Vice President indicated that government was looking at long term partnerships and standardisation across the Sub-region and, therefore, tasked the service chiefs to work with their counterparts in other countries to find solution to the maritime security challenge.

In his welcome address, Rear Admiral Peter Kofi Faidoo, the Chief of Naval Staff, said the challenges in the maritime domain were dynamic, therefore, it required constant review in order to be abreast with new emerging security threats, hence the conference would provide an opportunity to assess the country s maritime security and that of the Sub-region.

He said the country being an oil producing nation with offshore installations makes it critical to upgrade the human resource base, surveillance and equipment so that it could respond promptly to any maritime threat.

He said the Navy would collaborate with other stakeholders in protecting and preserving the vital offshore installations.

The Chief of the Naval Staff gave the assurance that the Navy would always present disciplined and combat-ready security force that would protect the interest of the nation for accelerated national development.

GNA

Philip May acts as ‘translator’ for the Prime Minister on business issues

Philip May is the Prime Minister’s “translator” when she talks to businesses, sources have said.

Theresa May’s husband has a long career in the city of London and works hard behind the scenes to act as her eyes and ears according to reports. He also helps to translate business issues for his wife and acts as a key go-between in the City, senior executives have said. Sources told the Financial Times that Mr May also regularly speaks to party members and is known by some as the Prime Minister’s “secret weapon” because he is able to keep her in touch with the grassroots.

Philip May Acts As 'translator' For The Prime Minister On Business Issues

Philip May sat next to his wife, the Prime Minister Credit: EPA

Mr May, who began his career as a stockbroker in 1979 has spent most of his working life in the financial district.

He also worked in fund management at Prudential and then Deutsche Asset Management, before stepping back from managing money in 2006 to work on retirement products for Capital Group. But it is his role as the PM’s business translator that has become invaluable to Mrs May’s Number 10 operation.

Philip May Acts As 'translator' For The Prime Minister On Business Issues

The PM Credit: Getty

One senior executive told the FT: “He is very much a back channel to City sentiment.

“He does understand business in a way that [Mrs May] has not experienced herself.

“You could say he comes across as a translator for the PM.”

His role in the Prime Minister’s close-knit team is to remain “super-supportive and smiley” at all times, according to the report, which also claims he understands she must be in charge at all times.

Philip May Acts As 'translator' For The Prime Minister On Business Issues

Mr May also helps the PM with her fashion choices Credit: Getty

Mrs May has previously highlighted the support offered to her by her husband in her role running the country.

Speaking earlier this year she said of her husband: “He s been a huge support to me. Of course, because he s been involved in the party, he understands politics, which I think is very, very helpful. But she added that having close protection officers means the couple get less privacy.

The protection team get to know what Philip s getting for his birthday before he does because they see me buying it,” she said.

American University reopens, defying threats of attack

Defying threats of another deadly attack, the American University of Afghanistan, or AUAF, has re-opened in Kabul with upgraded security. Classes restarted on Tuesday, seven months after militants stormed its compound[1], located on a busy street in the western part of the Afghan capital, leaving 13 dead, including seven students, one lecturer, and a member of the Afghan security forces.

The attack forced the university which is the country s leading higher education institution to shut down and left the fate of hundreds of students in limbo, until it officially reopened on 25 March, although its Professional Development Institute, which is also a major test centre for international examinations including TOEFL, GRE and international accountancy qualifications, reopened in January. The university has moved all of its faculty staff and some students into housing on the campus. It has fortified and almost doubled the height of the boundary walls, with guard towers and checkpoints manned by heavily armed foreign guards employed by a Canadian private security firm.

We are very grateful to the Afghan government, particularly President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani who granted us an exemption to hire a foreign security firm, which is not usually allowed in Afghanistan anymore, Zubaida Akbar, the university s director for communications, told University World News. Private security guards had previously been banned in Afghanistan since 2010.

Akbar noted that against all the predictions, the turnout at the university has been impressive. In fact, the enrolment rate has been higher than ever; we have 80 new students this year, the campus is much larger and with many more facilities and features than before, she added. She said the university had been in touch with its students via the internet throughout the past seven months to ensure they stay on track with the syllabus.

Upbeat mood

Despite haunting memories of the horror last August, the mood on campus has been upbeat upon re-opening. Students embraced each other warmly, and Afghan Year greetings the new year began on 21 March resounded around campus as students resumed their studies. Political science student Rahmatullah Amiri was shot with three bullets during the deadly assault on the campus last year. We will never give up on our quest for knowledge; what the militants did [at the university] was absolutely wrong from all perspectives, he said this week, showing a resistance typical of Afghan people after decades of conflict.

Another student, Mohammad Haseeb, 21, said AUAF is his best chance for a quality education. I am determined to complete my studies here no matter what, he told University World News. Shukria Sultani is among many young Afghan women at the university, a third-year student at the faculty of business and administration. Sultani praised AUAF for taking care of students post-education life by helping them seek internships and jobs and said she was content with the faculty members and academic system at the university. Parents of students have been invited to visit the campus to see the new security measures, to allay their fears of another attack militants have targeted educational institutions in recent years.

Established in 2006, the AUAF, with some 1,700 students, offers graduate and undergraduate programmes based on the United States system. However, due to its association with the US, it has been targeted by militants. Two of its professors, American Kevin King and Australian Tim Weeks, who were abducted[2] last year, remain in the custody of militants. The Taliban have never officially claimed responsibility, but David Sedney, the university s president[3] who was appointed after the attack, and US officials in Afghanistan have blamed Taliban militants for the attack . The university administration has said the university s security officials will work more closely with Afghan and international agencies to be better informed about possible threats.

Related Links
AFGHANISTAN
Video appeal by professors abducted by armed group[4]
AFGHANISTAN
New leader at American university after terror attack[5]
AFGHANISTAN
American University of Afghanistan closed after attack[6]

References

  1. ^ militants stormed its compound (www.universityworldnews.com)
  2. ^ abducted (www.universityworldnews.com)
  3. ^ David Sedney, the university s president (www.universityworldnews.com)
  4. ^ Video appeal by professors abducted by armed group (www.universityworldnews.com)
  5. ^ New leader at American university after terror attack (www.universityworldnews.com)
  6. ^ American University of Afghanistan closed after attack (www.universityworldnews.com)
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