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Parliament And The Imminent GMO Judgment Debts!

Wed, 18 Dec 2013 Source: Amamoo, Nana Ama

The Akan

people have a saying that translates as "If you don't know what death

looks like, take a look at a sleeping person". Ghana's Ministers for

Agriculture, the Minister for Justice and MPs will do well to read this

article Happily ever NAFTA: New trade pact would boost corporations and

harm environment [2]grist.org [3]. If pressed for time, they should

ponder these paragraphs:

_"…Welcome to NAFTA's unexpected

environmental legacy. Chapter 11 is not well known in the U.S. -- its

tribunals are secret, and Canada and Mexico are the countries that get

sued the most under it. But NAFTA was always meant to be a template for

other trade agreements, and since its mid-'90s enactment it has become

one. As NAFTA's offspring have multiplied around the world, so have

lawsuits like Lone Pine's, where corporations seek damages from

countries whose environmental regulations affect their ability to do

business._

There have been more than 500 cases brought against 95

governments around the world, according to Ilana Solomon, director of

the Responsible Trade Program for the Sierra Club. Germany's decision to

phase out nuclear power plants is being challenged by the Swedish

company Vattenfall. Uruguay's move to add warning labels to cigarette

packages has prompted a suit from Philip Morris.

If the 1890s

[sic]_were about setting a legal precedent that gave corporations the

same rights as people, the 1990s were about adding powers that brought

them more in line with nation states. Today, increasingly, corporations

in one country get to tell governments in another country what to do…"_

In the Plant Breeders' Bill before Parliament, Clause 23 is perhaps

the most outrageous clause introduced to Parliament since the 6th of

March 1957. The offending Clause is easy to understand. Whereas, the

Constitution of Ghana makes even the Human Rights of citizens subject to

the laws of Ghana, the Plant Breeders' right is placed over and above

that of the state. Clause 23 reads:

_"__23 MEASURES REGULATING

COMMERCE. _

_A plant breeder right shall be independent of any measure

taken by the Republic to regulate within Ghana the production,

certification and marketing of material of a variety or the importation

or exportation of the material."_

The caution in the Akan proverb

should give them cause to pause and examine the legacy of NAFTA for

Canada and Mexico. And the consequences for 95 other countries, who gave

legal carte blanche to multinational companies who now operate above and

beyond the laws of those countries. Are these trading partners'

intentions benign?

The Mahama Administration in collaboration with

Parliament are leading Ghana into a similar abyss, with Clause 23! As if

we don't have enough judgement debts already! The least they can do is

to delete that clause from the Bill as we petitioned. Otherwise they

will be sparking the engine of the judgement debt-making machine. We

need mass public awareness and participation in such an important and

far-reaching decision.

Nana Ama Amamoo

Director, Research and

Information Department,

Food Sovereignty Ghana

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/FoodSovereignGH [4]

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/FoodSovereigntyGhana [5]

Website:

http://foodsovereigntyghana.org/ [6]

Columnist: Amamoo, Nana Ama

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