Raymond Archer, publisher of Enquirer newspaper and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Labels & Packaging Co. Ltd, as well as Colour Planet Limited, insists that his business, as well as other businesses situated at the premises of Ghana Trade Fair Centre, were demolished based on party affiliations.
In a six-page response to the management of the Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited (GTFCL), Mr Archer indicated that prior to demolishing businesses at the Trade Fair, the CEO met with some few tenants based on party affiliations and “others including Colour Planet Ltd and the rest were not even given the chance to meet with the CEO”.
The management of GTFCL had earlier discredited reports in the media that businesses at the Trade Fair were demolished due to political reasons.
According to them, GTFCL “is redeveloping the Ghana International Trade Fair Centre into an ultra-modern, first-class, mixed-use facility with a focus on trade facilitation and business promotion”.
It stated further that GTFCL informed all the tenants about the redevelopment project and gave them the mandatory 6-month notice on July 10, 2018, to vacate the site by 31st December, 2018.
“Prior to this, on September 24, 2017, the Company sent notices to all tenants to renew their tenancy agreements for another year. Reminders followed on November 1st 2017 to renew by November 10, 2017, for the last time before the redevelopment was to start in 2019. Since 31st December 2018, therefore, none of the business on-site had any valid tenancy agreement with the GTFCL,” parts of the statement read.
GTFCL explained further that in November 2018, the Company took the initiative to engage with the businesses one-on-one to discuss the redevelopment project and its impact on them. Some of the businesses took advantage of the offer, others did not.
But Mr Archer in his statement explained “the leadership of our legally registered Tenants Association requested a meeting with the CEO to deliberate over the issues in contention. She refused to meet us claiming that she does not recognize the association. Eventually, she was forced to meet with the tenants in one meeting where they basically told the tenants, that it is a take or leave it situation, and that they were going to go ahead with the re-development and we cannot be part of it and we weren’t entitled to compensation.
“Tenants told them that there had been serious investments running into millions of dollars and that it would be unacceptable for our investments to be sacrificed to pave way for other people’s investments. The Trade Fair CEO and her team on that day stated that they were going to deal with us individually because some tenants had special needs. They pushed back against our request to deal with the entire group. They insisted that they were going to engage with tenants individually. As you can see, they never took any initiative.”
He then described the action by GTFCL as “lies, injustice and vindictiveness perpetrated against us cannot be allowed in a constitutional democracy like ours. Freedom and Justice”.