It has emerged that management of Ave Maria Resort whose location is currently derailing the progress of work on the Tema Port expansion project has been pleading for mercy from the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority on one hand and on the other hand spewing untruth about the Authority in the public domain.
Available records indicate that Ave Maria Resort pleaded with the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority to give them a grace period up to the 30th April, 2018 to vacate the property for the expansion works to continue.
“We would be grateful for your consent to wind up our operations and vacate the property by 30th April 2018,” part of a letter which was dated 8th January 2018 and signed by one Theresa Efua Ntim for and on behalf of Ave Maria stated.
This plea comes after a decision had been reached by GPHA and Ave Maria owners to pull the structure down by the 26th January 2018, while the compensation is fairly determined.
The letter also states: “We hope that, now that the valuation report by the Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL) is ready, we can now agree on a relocation package and compensation.”
Again, contrary to claims by Ave Maria that that the Director General of GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah had indicated that a compensation deal had been reached, the DG of GPHA has indicated that he never said that and that GPHA has forwarded the AESL valuation report on the property forwarded to the Valuation Board of the Lands Commission for further advice as part of the processes leading to the determination of the final compensation package for Ave Maria. Since GPHA is State Agency and all such valuation transactions must be approved by the National Valuation Board.
According to the Director General of GPHA, the decision to pull down the Hotel and Restaurant structure has already been reached by GPHA and Ave Maria based on directives from the courts of Ghana and the compensation agreement is not a condition precedent for demolishing the facility.
Paul Asare Ansah indicated that Ave Maria has officially written to the Port Authority not to demolish the facility by end of January as indicated earlier but to extend to April 2018, a request he says may not be granted due to difficulties and risks involved. “We understand the emotional Outburst of the owners. She is passionate about protecting her interest but the national interest supersedes all others.” Paul Ansah advised Ave Maria. He continued that “She has to understand that the facility is occupying the location for the railway terminal which forms a critical component of the new container Terminal.
The Engineers, contractors and consultants have disclosed that leaving Ave Maria at its current location will cost Ghana more than 10 times the current value of the facility, which therefore leaves the Port Authority with no choice than to pull down the facility.
According to the Engineers, if Ave Maria is left at its current location, the newly Expanded Tema Port Terminals will not be able to have an exit gate and also the expected exit container scanners, because those are the exact locations of those facilities.
They also revealed that, there are no planned drainage systems linking Ave Maria to the new Terminal, a situation that will cause Ave Maria to be constantly flooded when left in its current situation, not to talk about the fact that there will be regular movement of equipment in such a highly operational environment that cannot allow revelers to come into the hotel and restaurant just for leisure.
Also the port’s new container Terminal may not be certified to operate with a “restaurant” located right in the center of operations.
Above all, the engineers also disclosed that Ave Maria’s presence at its current location is attracting delay damages from the project contractors to the tune of, minimum, $ 80,000 weekly and the earlier the matter is rested the better for the country.