The Federation of Handicraft Producers, Dealers, and Exporters Association at the Arts Centre in Accra, has served notice that they will reject their planned eviction to pave way for the Marine Drive Tourism Investment Project until the government fully completes the needed infrastructure agreed on to accommodate them.
The association says, the Kawukudi and Dodowa projects agreed on to house them should be completed and ready for business before they are relocated. Already, some creative artists in the country are not happy with the decision by the government to demolish the center to pave the way for the Marine Drive Tourism Investment Project.
The associations are the Greater Accra Arts and Craft Dealers Association, United Craft Producers Association, Traditional Cultural Kente and Adinkra Manufacturers and Sellers Association, and the Traditional Herbal Dealers Association.
Bright Antwi, the Coordinator of the association says the government should fast track processes leading to the completion of the buildings before they are relocated.
“It has to be understood that only the producers that are the manufactures of handicrafts, having realized that they cannot be accommodated at Kawokudi because of their volume of work, machinery, heavy nature of their materials and space for export activities, found a better location at Dodowa and the Marine Drive Team welcomed this initiative.”
“The handicraft operators agreed that no one group will move out of the center and leave the other. Hence, the Kawokudi and Dodowa projects should be completed before all operators move out, and the movement must happen at once and the same time”.
They pointed out that relocating to Ghana House would not serve the purpose of the Arts Centre since up-and-coming artists such as poets, stage actors, and visual artists who use the centre would lose the opportunity.
He further indicated that “unfortunately, the recent event seems to give the false impression that the Arts centre market including the building housing the administration will be demolished and relocated to Ghana house and Kawokudi respectively. However, this is not the case. It is only the administration of the centre for National Culture that is relocating to the Ghana House.”
The government intends to pull down the structure to pave way for the commencement of the marine drive project.
Although the government has justified the move with claims that the marine drive project is an investment that will rectify the poor condition of the area, boost Ghana’s tourism industry, and create jobs and revenue streams for the local inhabitants, the artists insist these do not override the importance of the center which has served as an embodiment of culture for many years.