just be brief and go straight to the Address by the President on the issue of law and order. It is almost everybody's business when there is peace in the country and the reason is that wherever plans that, the Government has put in place without the needed peace, we cannot proceed as a country.
When the Hon Minister for Finance came to this House, a number of issues were raised concerning our men and women in the security forces.
The President just alluded to the fact that our men and women in the forces are working under very serious and degrading situations. I personally, and with the Committee members, have visited a lot of garrisons and barracks.
It would interest us to note that, even though our men and women in the forces cannot go on demonstrations, the situation that, they are currently under is such that if they were allowed to go on demonstration, they would have de- monstrated. About their accommodation, especially those who are single and not married. If we look at the way they have been congested in some rooms, Mr Speaker, it is not good.
When the President was also speaking and talking about peacekeeping opera- tions outside, after mentioning all the areas that we are having this peace- keeping, he failed to mention La Cote D'lvoire. We want to find out whether our men over there are no longer under the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.
If they are under UN peacekeeping Operation and His Excellency came here and failed to recognize that our men and women are there, then that is quite a disincentive. If we want to find out if they are there, under whose authority are they still operating?
Apart from that, failing to mention that we have officers and men serving there, is along something that is quite disturbing and we want the President to at least send a word of encouragement to them and apologize to them. If some people are working for this State and we have not recognized them, then that is very serious.
We are also talking about something related to our border patrol.
We have said it over and over on the floor of this House that, now crime across borders of this country is always increasing yet the people who are patrolling our borders are not resourced well. A typical example is the border post along Ghana and Togo. Our men and women over there have not been re- sourced such that the Act establishing the Ghana Immigration Service does not allow them to carry weapons.
Meanwhile, their counterparts at the Togo border have been armed and our men, Immigration Officers just use some clubs and whistles and when they see some smugglers coming, they just whistle and that is the end. This is not good enough. The President must keep faith with these security forces by bringing a Bill to this House to change the Act, such that, they can be allowed to carry weapons.
I was also so much amazed about the extent to which the President did not say anything about the state of disrepair of our various police accommodation. He just made mention of the fact that the Police Force has increased from 29,117 to 32, an increase of about 1,000. But no reference was made to the accommodation issue but merely increasing the number without corresponding increase in where they will sleep.
We are not making any headway and I will always keep on saying that, our security as a country, is very important.
Moreover, apart from that he made mention of the Police Taining School at Winneba and after the State of the Nation Address, I have personally visited there. If we go there, we would see that basic things that they need for the training of our policemen are lacking. They do not have a reference library and research facilities and these are people that we are training to come over and provide security for us.
It is very important that the Hon Ministers for Defence and Interior take cue from this and ensures that, such facilities are provided, espcially, the CID Section. We need them and we need to give them a lot of equipment to be able to facilitate the kind of training that they are giving to our men and women there.
Lastly, I would like to quote something on page 23, under Parliament, I think the second paragraph. Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, let me just read that:
“Mr Speaker, I will continue to work to enhance the dignity and respect of this august House.”
Mr Speaker, this is not just a lip- service. If the President wants to ensure the dignity and respect of this House, then enough funds must be made available to this House. I am saying so because I am a Member of the House Committee. There are so many things that we need to do.
Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, let me use this platform to appeal to the President to expedite action on the Bill that we are supposed to present to this House, relating to the Constitutional Review Committee. We need to change certain things in our Constitution that would ensure that certain grey areas are ironed out.
Apart from that, I think we have come far and the issue of having almost 50 per cent of our Ministers drawn from Parliament, we need to take a second look at it. When we do that, the issue of almost always politicizing every single national issue on the floor of this House, would cease. Parliament must be made to be truly independent of the Executive and we need to do that.
The President, we are aware he has received the Report and we do not know why he is keeping it. He should bring it here for us to debate and then see the way forward. We cannot continue to have for example, a Minister for Justice and then there is the same Minister being the Attorney-General. We cannot have that, being the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Government Business. All these things I think that are conflicting issues that need to be ironed out.
If he is saying that he is going to ensure that Parliament works efficiently, then that is an area that we expect the President to expedite action on. Mr Speaker, I thank you for the time and I believe that the Hon Minister for Defence is not here but wherever he is, this message must be carried to him that all of us are under security threat if they fail to resource the security service well enough to continue their work efficiently.