MI Speaker, we salute our veterans- long live the Veterans Associations worldwide and long live mother Ghana.
Thank you, Commemoration of Our Heroes, Mr Speaker.
Commemoration of Our Heroes .
Maj. DerekYaw Oduro (retd) (NPP- Nkorawza North): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to make this Statement to mark the commemoration of the ex-service men and Women and other civilians in Ghana who fought in various wars. I cannot make this Statement without reference to the old adage that a nation that does not honour her heroes is not worth dying for.
in this regard, the ceremony that is also known as the "Poppy Day" or the "Veterans Day" is observed on November 11 to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the Armed Forces and civilians in times of war specifically since the World War 1. The day is observed on every November 11 to recall the end of World War 1. On that date in 1918, major hostilities of World War 1 formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of l9l8 with the signing of the Armistices.
Mr Speaker, it is important, at this juncture, to state that the day should not only be a remembrance day for those who lo 1st their lives during the First World War, but also a day that recognises our service men, women and civilians still alive and those who have lost their lives during
peacekeeping operations in Liberia, Sierra Leone, la Cote d'Ivoire, Somalia, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, Lebanon, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia and in many other places around the world.
Mr Speaker, I take this opportunity to salute all veterans, retired officers, men and women as well as the gallant soldiers of the Armed Forces.
Mr Speaker, the ‘contribution of Ghanaian troops during conflicts cannot be overemphasised. Ghanaian security agencies have exhibited high professionalism.and discipline in the discharge of their duties, particularly on peacekeeping missions and have as a result, won the country high international recognition over the years. For instance, Ghanaian soldiers contributed immensely to the UN, AU and ECOWAS peacekeeping operations and have been commended internationally.
Ghana's role in peacekeeping dates back to the then Gold Coast, where her illustrious sons were sent overseas to participate in various wars and some lost their lives. Today, many countries recognise the day not only for the sacrifices of those who fell in the two World Wars, but also for those who have died in the subsequent conflicts Around the world, including those who .Were deployed on peacekeeping duties.
Mr Speaker, the heroes built their inspirations from Christ who laid his life to save mankind. The significance of the Remembrance Day is that these servicemen and women, and civilians sacrificed their lives for world peace during the World Wars.
Mr Speaker, ex-servicemen are full of experiences in terms of peacekeeping and it is worthy to share these with the serving security agencies towards bringing a lasting peace to areas engulfed in Wars or conflict.
Mr Speaker, the high sense of professionalism of the ex-servicemen is not only limited to the peacekeeping. Our ex- servicemen have been exhibiting their professional work in diverse ways. They recently epitomised this professionalism in Ghana when a. section of the retired military and police officers who were medical doctors heeded to the call of the President of this land to attend to patients at Military and Police Hospitals following the almost three weeks strike by the medical doctors in State hospitals.
For this, I think, the retired medical officers deserve commendation. Mr Speaker, the Veterans Administration Bill is before the august House for its passage into law.
Permit me, Mr Speaker, once again, to congratulate all the stakeholders who made it possible for this Bill to get to this stage. Let me also express my appreciation and thanks to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Interior, of which I am a member, for its contribution with regard to this Bill.
My contacts with my colleague, retired veterans reveal that there is one salient clause in the Bill they are happy about, and it is the law that makes it mandatory for every or all retired service personnel to belong to VAG Administration. In other words, VAG is no more going to be a voluntary association. The implication, Mr Speaker, is that, Government is going to seriously cater for the welfare needs of the veterans.
Mr Speaker, I will be remiss if I did not touch on the finances of VAG Despite the fact that it gets some subvention, VAG still
needs substantial injection of financing. Mr Speaker, the VAG West Raffle, which is now defunct, used to support the VA_G's Administration, but as you well know, the. National Lottery Bill has come to abrogate it -
If you recall , Mr Speaker, the late Finance Minister, Hon Kwadwo Baah Wiredu (may his soul rest in peace) came to an agreement with the Lotteries Authority to run a special raffle for the benefit of charitable organisations including VAG: This promise, Mr Speaker, has not up to date been fulfilled Veterans do not forget promises. May L on this occasion, call the attention of the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning or remind him to take steps to bring this promise to fruition for the benefit of VAG
Finally Mr Speaker, it is my prayer that God would touch the hearts of the count1y's leaders to work diligently towards the promotion of peace and development as the contribution of these soldiers and civilians depicted discipline, hard work, good moral standards and other virtues for development and progress of society.
Mr Speaker, once again I thank you for this opportunity.