Let me just say, since the Leaders are here, that I have a view on this issue provoking debate -- because when you look -- but I do not want to make a ruling. I can share my view with you. When you look at -- it is just a matter of fundamental nature that perhaps, the Speaker himself should make a ruling.
But when you look at Part 10, which talks of Statements, it says in Standing Order 70, that:
“Mr Speaker may make statements on any matter of interest to the House.”
So, one of the Statements that can be made is by the Speaker and that is why the Speaker as we are closing from time to time makes a Statement.
Standing Order 70 (2) says that:
“A Minister of State may make an announcement or a statement of government policy. Any such announcement or statement should be limited to facts which it is deemed necessary to make known to the House and should not be designed to provoke debate at this stage. Any Member may comment briefly, subject to the same limitation.”
So, the second kind of Statement is the Statement that is made by a Minister. It is an announcement or a Statement of government policy. There, the Order says specifically that it should not provoke debate and you must even note that it says “it should not provoke debate at this stage.” Subsequently after that, there can be debate.
Three, Standing Order 71, the third kind of speech is ceremonial speech. It says:
“Ceremonial speeches may be allowed. Such speeches may be confined to commemorating special events or occasions of death of distinguished persons.”
That is why we do all these speeches on July 1, and all of that. So, that is another kind of speech. Then the Statement that is being made today is under Order 72 and it says:
“By the indulgence of the House and leave of Mr Speaker a Member may, at the time appointed for statements under Order 53 (Order of Business) explain a matter of personal nature or make a statement on a matter of urgent public
importance. Any statement other than a personal statement may be commented upon by other Members for a limited duration of time not exceeding one hour. The terms of any such proposed statement shall first be submitted to Mr Speaker.”
My view on this matter, it is not a ruling, it is just my view -- is that, where the framers of this Standing Orders wanted to say that there should be no debate, they said it. There are different kinds of statements; Statements by the Speaker, Statements by a Minister, Ceremonial Statements and Statements by Members.
It is only with Statements by Ministers of State, (Standing Order 72) that the framers of the Standing Orders specifically say that there should not be any debate. I have been in this House for about ten years and I know that the practice has developed, when Statements are made, that we do not say things to provoke debate.
I am not going to make a ruling but if I were to make a ruling, my view is that, apart from Statements that come under Standing Order 70 (2), you can provoke debate because this is a House of debate. If we cannot debate here, where can we debate? But it is not a ruling.
Hon Simon Osei-Mensah, Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament, you know the Conventions in this House, so, let us stick to them. Though you have brought us from Brazil to Ghana, we have finished with POTAG, do not repeat it and the other things you have said. You conclude in about two sentences.