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Cocoa drivers threaten demo

About 800 articulated truck drivers hauling cocoa to the commodities village at Beahu in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region have threatened to stage a massive demonstration.

The drivers’ threat stems from the reluctance of managers of the cocoa warehouse at Beahu to allow them to offload their cocoa beans.

The trucks which are heavily loaded with bags of cocoa are locked up at the cocoa commodities village.

Majority of the trucks are loaded with between 600 to 750 bags of cocoa and have been there for several weeks.

According to the visibly angry drivers, managers of the warehouse have prevented them from offloading their cocoa beans into the warehouse, with the reason that the facility was undergoing renovation works.

But the drivers intimated that they expected the maintenance works to have been done by Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) during the offseason.

They indicated that they have come to the conclusion that the only time government acts is when a demonstration is staged or when it is threatened.

The development, which has lasted for some weeks now, according to our Western Regional Chief Bureau, Simon Ahensah, who is with our affiliate TV station, ATV, was becoming very frustrating for many of the drivers.

Consequently, they have issued a one-week ultimatum to COCOBOD and the government to address their grievances, failure of which they will have no option but to hit the streets.

“We are giving the government a one-week ultimatum, because last year we did not receive any feedback after several petitions, so we have come to the realisation that the only language that government understands is demonstration. We have, therefore, decided that until the president sits us down and negotiate with us we are not going to listen to any leader from Kajebri,” spokesperson for the drivers, Imoro Sekunde, told our correspondent.

The drivers further urged COCOBOD and the government to address what they described as “insanitary conditions” at the village, a situation which has left many of them to fall ill.

“There is no hostel facility here where we can sleep while waiting for our vehicles to be offloaded. So we sleep under our trucks with no mosquito nets protection. We do not have any toilet facility here so we are compelled to attend to nature’s call in a gutter which is very close to where we pass the night. To make matters worse, we do not have any source of potable water,” the drivers lamented.

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