Raymond Archer, Chief Executive Officer of Universal Labels & Packaging Co. Ltd and Colour Planet Limited, whose facilities were among the many that were demolished Sunday night by the Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited (GTFC) told GhanaWeb his factory has been in operation for over a decade and had injected a whopping $10 million into the business.
While expressing utmost dismay over the unlawful demolition exercise, Mr Archer mentioned that the private enterprise he had laboured to sustain for years employs over 120 persons.
“We built a beautiful factory that employs over 120 workers, there are a lot of products we’re are doing now that we’re are the only factory in Africa that can do these kinds of works. To see our government target a business like this and break it down midnight is really unacceptable,” a visibly devastated Archer said.
“We are citizens here. How do you destroy one’s business because you want to bring another person’s business using politics? If you destroy my business with politics, then what? If I also get power, I also break it down? Where did we go as people? And this business has nothing to do with politics. In fact, when I was doing this business, I specifically not to do government projects purposely because I didn’t want the politics in my business. Every work we're doing here is for the private sector.”
GTFC took tenants and owners of factories situated at the Trade Fair by surprise when it embarked on a demolition exercise backed by “orders from above”.
The exercise which began around 10 pm and ended after 12:00am saw two bulldozers and a team of armed police officers overseeing the destruction of structures and heavy industrial equipment.
Archer in an interview with GhanaWeb at the scene said he got a call from his security “that there was a team of armed policemen and set of bulldozers demolishing my factory, so we got here and lo and behold the whole factory with this equipment were under destruction.”
He could not fathom why his property would be reduced to debris just for the powers that be to satisfy the thirst of fellow politicians especially when he served officials a stay of execution from the court.
“Four years ago, I was here when officials came that they want to redevelop the Trade Fair so I said okay. I’m a legal tenant and my construction was actually supervised by the Trade Fair. I’ve put in $10 million here…so they started doing a whole lot of things here which made me head to court.
“Last Wednesday they went to court to lift an injunction that the court had placed on the Trade Fair, so my lawyer immediately filed an appeal and a stay of execution which was served on them on Wednesday and Thursday. Then this midnight [Sunday] they come here with bulldozers, lock the gates so that no one can see, come here armed to the teeth just to break down the factory that we’ve built with our toil over ten years,” he said.
“…to target the business, [and say] 'we're the government, you can't fight the government...'; 'I’m not here to fight the government; I’m here to earn a living and an honest one at that.”