Mr Speaker, in the first place, I would like to support a whole Minister for calling upon the British Government to consider compensating us.
Mr Speaker, the whole incident took place without any organised motivation to the soldiers. They did it out of their love for this country and their love for a welfare State. Mr Speaker, they comported themselves in a very peaceful manner in their march towards the seat of Government.
Mr Speaker, this is something which we all must appreciate and we must all admire the stance of our soldiers. Throughout history, especially, the military history; the history of the Ghana Armed Forces, this is the only incident in which the soldiers marched towards the seat of Government. None has occurred since that time and this is a clear demonstration of an improvement in the professional status and appreciation of the role of the military in the country.
Mr Speaker, this love that they demonstrated to the people of Ghana, this love for the welfare of the State is exemplified by the quick response that our Government and the Ghana Armed Forces gave to the call to contribute towards international peacekeeping operations.
Mr Speaker, we have done this in a way that has received the total and absolute admiration of the international community. It is not only Ghanaians that would take
pride in the role that our soldiers have been playing in the peacekeeping operations and peace building sus tenance, but the international community also takes pride in what our soldiers are doing.
It is therefore, not surprising that, each time there is the need for contribution of troops to the international arena for peacekeeping operations, some of the foremost contributing countries to be called upon is the Ghana Armed Forces. We were recently invited to Mali and we are on our way to South Sudan.
Mr Speaker, we must appreciate the contribution of the Ghana Armed Forces from time immemorial and try as much as possible to sustain their welfare.
Mr Speaker, when John the Baptist was preaching, three categories of people approached him. The first was the public and the second was the tax payers. He had pieces of advice for all of them. The last one was the soldiers. Among other things, he told them not to visit violence on the people but most importantly, he told them to be content with the welfare that would be given to them -- content with your pay.
Mr Speaker, our soldiers have adhered to this Biblical injunction, and what happened on the 28th of February, should be something we should take into account that, if they are so tolerant about their state of affairs, it may get to a point where they may no more be tolerant. It is a duty call on us to ensure that the welfare of our soldiers is taken into paramount con- sideration.
Wg. Cdr. Francis Anaman (retd.) (NDC -- Jomoro): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to support
the Statement made by my Colleague Maj. Oduro (retd), Member of Parliament for Nkoranza North.
Mr Speaker, 28th February would continue to be significant and relevant to Ghana's independence. Incidentally, this day is always a week away from independence, a coincidence which attests to the significant role played by our gallant men and women towards independence.
Mr Speaker, 28th February, l948 was indeed the straw that broke the camel's back. It began the process for independence. The incidence which led to the formation of The Watson Commission which re- commended among other things self- governance for Ghana. It actually, ignited the struggle that gave bir th to our independence in 1957.
One important lesson that we need to learn, Mr Speaker, is to appreciate the sacrifices that are made by our Colleagues, especially, the vital services in our country.
Mr Speaker, it is heart-warming to know that every year, this day is dedicated to the bravery and heroism of the Adjeteys, the Attipoes and the Lampteys. But we must not only commemorate this day, we must try and immortalise these people. Why can we not name the Tema Motor- way after Sgt Adjetey? After all, is he not a product of our independence? We can also do the same for the Attipoes and the Lampteys.
Mr Speaker, the contribution of our Ghanaian soldiers to United Nations peacekeeping duty is acknowledged as one of the best. We have lost officers in internal peacekeeping--operation Gong gong. We have lost them in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire and in other international theatres. What are we doing to give hope to our men and women in uniform so that they can contribute to
make the unparallel sacrifices that they are making. What are we doing to give hope to our gallant men and women who have served their motherland even at the peril of their lives-- many of whom live in abject poverty today.
Mr Speaker, it is only when we have provided sufficiently for these people that we can continue to celebrate and commemorate this day with pomp and pride. It is only when we have done that, that we can say that, we are recognising what they did. We should not only recognise them at the going down of the sun but even at the rising of the sun.
Mr Speaker, I wish to request that, while we appreciate the gesture made by the Government in providing logistical support to the military, we would also tackle the welfare of the men in uniform.
In doing so, we should not forget our brothers and sisters in the police service who are also laying down their lives, who are seen on the highways, the streets and city corners day and night trying to ensure our safety and the security of our property.
Mr Speaker, it is only when we have done this, that the sacrifices of Sgt Adjetey, Cpl Attipoe and Pte Odartey Lamptey and the many others who have paid for our freedom with their blood would not be in vain.
As we commemorate this day, I wish that we all join hands in saying ayekoo to our gallant men and women both serving and retired.
Long live the Veterans Association of Ghana.
Long live the Ghana Armed Forces,
Long live Mother Ghana.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.