The Ghana Tourist Authority (GTA) in Upper East Region has stated that it is not aware of the existence of the Tono Recreational Pool that claimed the live of a final year student of the Bolgatanga Polytechnic last Friday.
The Regional Director of the Authority, Alhaji Hakeem Ismael has told A1 Radio his office was not aware of the facility and said those who operated it did so illegally and should be arrested by the Police for engaging in illegal business and subsequently causing the death of an innocent person.
It would be recalled that this paper reported on Monday that a final year student of the Bolgatanga Polytechnic, Kwabena Bayingme, got drowned at the Tono Recreational Pool last Friday when he and his colleagues went there for socialization as part of their SCR week celebrations.
But in an interview with this reporter on his knowledge about the existence of the facility, Alhaji Hakeem stated that the facility was not in the records of the GTA and this therefore made its operation illegal because the laws of Ghana mandate the GTA to register and regulate such facilities.
He explained that in the records of GTA in the region, only two hotels, Blue Skies Hotel at Zuarungu and Ex-Teee Crystal Hotels that have swimming pools but they were not using them because he has insisted that not until they train and recruit qualified swimming pool attendants, they would not be allowed to operate them.
According to him, as far as he was aware, the Tono pool was closed down in 1995 at the time he was a student at Navrongo Secondary School and he never knew it had been reopened for public use.
He however admitted he was aware of the Irrigation Company of Upper Region’s (ICOUR’s) Guest House at Tono which he said he recently inspected.
Alhaji Hakeem is challenging the recreational facility to produce its GTA Lincese and District Assembly permit authorizing its operation or else, the Police must take up the matter and ensure that the owners are brought to book.
“He said whoever that might have poured water into the pond and is operating it as a swimming pool is a criminal and should be treated as such” he stressed.
Information indicates that the pool in question has claimed many lives in past.
He lamented that whenever he leads his team to close down sub-standard facilities like guest houses and hotels, owners of such facilities run to minister and DCEs to intervene on their behalf. He cited the recent incident in which he led a team of Police and his staff to close down a brothel after which he received so many calls from ministers and DCEs calling to intervene.
On Monday, Alhaji Hakeem who was out of the region on an official duty sent his staff to inspect the place but when they got there, water in the pool had been drained and the club closed down.
Meanwhile, the Manager of the pool and spinner at the club, who declined to give his name, claimed the facility is licensed and has been operating for a very long time now.
Credit: William Jalulah/a1radioonline.com/Ghana