Debates of 10 Dec 2015

STATEMENTS 11:50 a.m.

Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC-- Asawase) 11:50 a.m.
“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. . . For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
‘Death is swallowed up in victory
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?'
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15:50, 53-57, English Standard Version)
Mr Speaker, as we mourn the sudden departure of our Colleague, father, husband, son, uncle, nephew, grandfather, friend and statesman, we remind ourselves of the statement of Thomas Parnell that:
“Death Is But A Path That Must Be Trodden If Man Would Ever Pass To God”
News of the passing on of the late Hon John Gyetuah was received with great shock in Parliament at a time when the House was preparing to resume Sittings for the Third Meeting of the Session, particularly, as our Colleague was seen in the precincts of the House the week prior to his demise.
Born on 1st October, 1959 in Asankra- Breman in the Amenfi West District of the Western Region, the late John Gyetuah entered Parliament in January 2005 as a professional teacher with a unique commitment towards the growth and development of the Western Region and the entire country. A commitment he undoubtedly stuck to and pursued with strong passion until his departure to glory.
Hon Gyetuah was one of the finest duty conscious Members who did not just avail himself for service to mother Ghana, but also demonstrated commitment to the work of the House. During critical moments in the past when the Majority needed to maximise the numbers within its group in Parliament to vote on key policy decisions, he was always available to lend support.
He was a quiet and unassuming person who exhibited tremendous strength of “character in canvassing his views on the floor of the House.
He specifically sought to make a case for the development of infrastructure in theWestern Region. He pursued this advocacy without any equivocation whenever he had the opportunity to address the House on any matter. Indeed, all his Colleagues observed this attribute as a common strand which featured prominently in all his contributions,
whether by way of Statements, questions or debate on developmental issues considered by the House.
Notable among the Statements he made was one on “The planning of cities and towns in Ghana” where he proposed the institution of a comprehensive national policy on human settlement to guide the planning of towns and settlements in the country.
In a contribution to a Statement on the state of infrastructure in some parts of the country, he had this to say and I quote, with your permission, Mr Speaker:
“. . . And when you take Aowin Constituency, for instance, the roads are very deplorable. So, I would like to appeal to the Government to ensure that equity is actually adhered to. When you look at the road network and the lighting system, everything is very bad. So, in this case, I would appeal that we should adhere to and then ensure that every part of the nation is being given a fair share of the national cake. ''
Still on road infrastructure in the Western Region, the late Hon Member again said and I beg to quote, with your permission:
“Mr Speaker, when you look at the terrain of Western Region, as we all fall within the forest zone, the roads are very deplorable. Mr Speaker, I wonder whether article 36, clause 2 (d) of the Constitution —
“(d) undertaking even and balanced development of all regions and every part of each region of Ghana, and, in particular, improving the conditions of life in the rural
areas, and generally, redressing any imbalance in development between the rural and urban areas..”
“Mr Speaker, I wonder whether this constitutional requirement is being adhered to, looking at the problem that we are going through in the district. Western Region is the food basket of the nation and when you look at the roads, specifically in the Aowin/Suaman District, you will realise that not even a single road is tarred.''
In a contribution on the Motion for the approval of the 2009 Annual Budget Estimates, he had this to say about the rail sector of the economy, and I beg to quote:
“Mr Speaker, rail infrastructure is key to the economic development of this country. And considering your Committee's Report, the rail sub- sector, that is the ongoing project for the 2010 programme, it has been stated over here that the ongoing feasibility studies on the western corridor rail will be completed and private sector investment sought for to rehabilitate the lines. Indeed, looking at the Western Region, where the bulk of the resources actually come from, there is the need for the Ministry to have a critical look at the area.”
Hon Gyetuah's concern for development was not just limited to infrastructure facilities.
He was also concerned about building the capacity of teachers to enable them impact knowledge. He had this to say during Question time on the floor.
“I would want to find out from the Hon Minister whether his Ministry
has plans to absorb the cost of books for teachers embarking upon distance education?”
His passion for developing Ghana, knew no bounds and therefore, found expression in every opportunity he had to speak in the House, to the extent that, even as a Minister of State, he still would ask Questions of his Colleague Ministers in his right as a Member of Parliament, although contrary to practice, and on behalf of Colleague MPs from the Western Region.
No wonder on one occasion, he had to convince the Speaker to indulge him to ask a Question on behalf of his Colleague Member of Parliament from the Western Region, which resulted in an interesting drama on the floor when he rose on his feet.
“Mr John Gyetuah — rose —
“The First Deputy Speaker: Hon Member, you are a Minister of State?
‘‘Mr Gyetuah: Yes, I know. I am aware, Sir. Mr Speaker, my Colleague travelled to the constituency during the weekend and he has just called me to seek your permission to ask the Question on his behalf.
“The First Deputy Speaker: I do not know whether I should give you permission to ask the Question. I am not sure because Question time is the time that the House tries to put the Executive on their toes, and for an Hon Minister of State now asking Questions of a Colleague Minister, even though you are an Hon Member of Parliament (MP),
I think that the better thing to do is to get an MP, who is not a Minister to ask the Questions.
“Mr Gyetuah: But Mr Speaker, there is no harm.”
Such was the extent of Hon Gyetuah's commitment to the work of the House and matters affecting his constituents and region.
The Hon Member 's concern for development was holistic. Beyond socio- economic and infrastructural facilities, he was also concerned about public safety and administration of justice and in this regard, he had this to say:
“Madam Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister, since the inception of this particular programme, that is, Justice for all Programme, can he tell this House the number of remand prisoners who have benefited from this particular facility?”
Besides, Hon Gyetuah was an objective and fair-minded person who exhibited a high sense of impartiality in his dealings with Colleagues from both sides of the political divide.
He was a man of principle whose sense of justice was unquestionable. He demonstrated by his conduct and action, a deep concern for the interest of the citizenry and sought to do all within his power to support the deprived and down trodden in society.
During his tenure as a three-term Member of Parliament, he served on a number of committees, including Roads and Transport, Works and Housing, Health, Committee on Gender and Children, Committee on Privileges, of which he was the Vice Chairperson before
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Members, we will take two contributions from either side of the aisle.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh (NDC -- Wa West) noon
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
I would extend my condolences to the family, particularly his wife and children. I worked with Hon John Gyetuah very closely, because he was an Hon Member of the Committee on Health. He was very punctual and always ready to make his contribution.
The little I know about him is, he was somebody who, from very humble beginnings, did so many things in his life. At one stage, he was winning souls for Jesus Christ; he was a pastor.
He interrupted his studies several times in order to go and raise funds to pay school fees. He worked dedicatedly. From low levels of education, he did his best and at the time that he died, he was studying law at that age.
It is this kind of commitment that we see in human beings. He was willing to share his experiences with other people. For us on the Committee on Health, we have lost a very dedicated Hon Member. He was always present, no matter the difficulties he had, he would always make his views known. That is why I think people like him, unfortunately, have been taken away too early.
There are so many young people who should have learnt from his perseverance, humility and the fact that he was willing to always share.
I wish him the best. This is because of the kind of souls that he had won earlier in his life before joining political parties. Jesus Christ Himself will welcome him into His bosom.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr George K. Arthur (NDC -- Amenfi Central) noon
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by the Hon Majority Chief Whip.
Mr Speaker, I had known Hon Gyetuah since 2004, when all of us contested for the Amenfi Central and Amenfi West seats. There was a by-election in Asankragwa where Madam Agnes Sonful won for two years.
After the two years, Amenfi West wanted somebody to contest on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). In fact, they had it tough in getting somebody, but by then, Hon Gyetuah had come out of the university and he agreed to contest in 2004 for the Amenfi West Constituency.
It was there that I realised that Hon Gyetuah was my family member from the same Agona Clan. They settled in Asankra-Breman though, but their real history is from Apesa Dompem near Tarkwa in the Tarkwa Nsuaem Consti- tuency.
Mr Speaker, Hon Gyetuah attended Breman District Council Primary School. After his elementary education, he left for Nigeria for greener pastures, but he was deported. When he came back, he went into cocoa farming and oil palm plantation.
After being in the farming business, he decided to attend the Enchi Training College and completed with Certificate ‘A' and came out as a teacher.
As a teacher, he contested the District Assembly Elections and won the Assembly membership seat for Asankra- Breman and worked with the Assembly for eleven years.
From the Assembly, he left for the University of Cape Coast to pursue a programme in sociology. When he came out of the university, he contested the seat and became the Member of Parliament from January, 2005 to date.
Mr Speaker, while in Parliament, he attended the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) to pursue his Executive Masters in Governance and Leadership (EMGL) course with some of us. After that, he continued to pursue a programme in law.
A lot has been said about him from the two Hon Members who earlier spoke.
He was so popular in his hometown that, even after going through series of illnesses, his Hon Colleagues from the Western Region, that is the Western Regional Caucus, advised him to rest because he had passed through a lot. When he went back home, the people from the constituency encouraged him that he was the one they wanted, he was their choice and he must contest again. So, Hon Gyetuah filed to contest the 2016 primaries.
It was on the 13th September, 2015, that we heard that he had passed on. Even now, the people are still urging that they get somebody from his hometown to replace him for the good work that he did.
I can mention a few legacies he left in Asankra-Brema where the funeral will be
Mr Joe K. Gidisu (NDC -- Central Tongu) 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to add a few words to those spoken by other Hon Colleagues in memory of our fallen Hon Colleague.
Mr Speaker, I knew Hon Gyetuah very closely in terms of what he stood for. I quite remember when I was the Hon Minister for Roads and Highways, his concern was for the infrastructural development of his constituency and the region at large.
Mr Speaker, it was during one of those hectic times that he walked to my office one day and succeeded in pulling our whole staff from the Ministry to go on a tour of the roads in the Western Region.
Mr Speaker, I vividly recollect our travel on the road from Samreboi towards Prestea. It was during the rainy season and a lot of vehicles got stranded at Mumuni Camp.
Mr Speaker, it was through his ingenuity that today, that road has become passable. It is only that road from Samreboi through Mumuni Camp to Prestea, but even the Asankragua town roads have seen improvement. That is a living testimony of his struggle to get that road updated.
He was very passionate about infrastructural development as noted by the Hon Chief Whip in his memory. I would want to add that there is the need for all of us to take a cue from what has been said about our Hon Colleague and hope that whoever succeeds him would look at the interest of the constituency and join forces with the other Hon Colleagues from the Western Region in championing the overall development of the region and their areas, so that at one
time or the other, the Western Region will take its proper place in the development agenda of the country.
On this note, I would want to extend to the family, the constituency and the region, my sympathies. I hope that our Hon Colleague will find rest in the bosom of his Maker.
Thank you for this opportunity.
Mr Daniel Botwe (NPP -- Okere) 12:10 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to add a few words to what my Hon Colleagues have said.
It is natural that when people die, we pay tribute to them. The tendency is for people to think that it is customarily and because the person has passed on, we try to find pleasant things to say about him.
I am happy that the maker of the Statement actually went to the extent of quoting extensively from the Hansard as to some of the things that our dear Hon Colleague said on the floor of this House. This will go to show that we are not just saying it as a normal customary thing that we should do, but indeed, he lived to the very things that he believed in.
Even though he was a Minister, for example, he did want to ask Questions about things that were happening in his constituency. He cared so much about his constituency, first and foremost, as someone representing them.
Mr Speaker, I had the opportunity of sitting quite close to him on the third row on my left side between 2009 and 2012. We had taken part in the by-election in his constituency early on. So, I happened to know many of the towns in his constituency.
I used to ask him “Has the road to Toropain been done?” Then he would give me the answer-- There are interesting names in his constituency. I would also ask “What about from Woman -- No -- Good -- to Prestea Nkwanta?” Has the road been constructed?” We used to converse and share ideas about his area. It was almost always obvious that our Brother Gyetuah was very passionate about his constituency.
Again, due to his background, as we have all been told, he worked more than just an ordinary Member of Parliament. We all go through it -- the ritual of helping people; doing things that are beyond our legislative functions, yet we find ourselves inadequate and wish we could do more.
At times, when Hon Members even fall sick and they are doing their normal work in Parliament House, we are unable to detect that the Hon Member is sick.
I have heard many tributes paid in the memory of some of our Hon Colleagues who have departed. In all these tributes, we all come to the conclusion that we should learn something from them and that we should be conscious of our lives, welfare and health even when we are still serving our community.
Our Hon Colleague has departed; he has left his family. A few days after he is buried, there would be a by-election. This means that, even before his burial, somebody has been nominated as the candidate for his constituency.
Immediately after that, 15th December, 2015, a new person will be elected to replace him. What happens to all that he spent his time to do? Is it the end of it?
Hon Gyetuah was a very passionate person. He loved his people and his constituency. I happen to know his town, Breman very well. We did a lot of campaign
Mr Daniel Botwe (NPP -- Okere) 12:10 p.m.
there. I am not surprised that they voted for him. He was the man of the people. The people loved him. He knew his community. He served them even before coming to Parliament.
While he was in Parliament, I can say, and I know the Committee will also assert to the fact that Hon Gyetuah did not disappoint them. Now that he is demised, we can only learn from it.
Mr Speaker, there were many times he entered the House and you could see he was not very well, yet he still attended upon the House. I would want to believe he was still working in his constituency. I would want to believe that he was the same person who had a terrible accident some time ago. Even after that, he was very conscientious and always visited his constituency.
If you know where Amenfi West is, the terrain -- Driving from Accra to that place is another matter. Even when you arrive in the constituency and want to tour it, it will really take a lot toll on you. It is unfortunate he has gone before us.
I believe that the best tribute we can pay to his memory is to continue the race from where he left off, so that dying and knowing all that he had gone through, he will still live to inspire us and that we will even remain committed to our duties as representatives of the people. And that doing our work, maybe, we would be inspired by the fact that we are not only working, so that people will vote for us or return us to another term in Parliament. But that we work and because it is a duty and for the love of country and constituency.
Mr Speaker, I will also add, may his soul rest in peace and I believe that we will join his community and give him a befitting burial ceremony on Saturday.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.

12. 20 p.m.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Members, I indicated earlier that we were taking four contributions --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Very well, we will permit you to make a contribution.
Mr Emmanuel Kwesi Bedzrah (NDC - - Ho West) 12:10 p.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made by our Hon Majority Chief Whip.
Mr Speaker, our late Hon Colleague, John Gyentuah, who passed on a few months ago, was noted as a man of a unique character. Unique character in the sense that, we used to sit at the same place at the other side. Even though he being an Hon Minister, he would ask questions on the floor of the House. He normally came to sit down quietly, listened without any contribution but once a while, he would ask, “Emmanuel, what is going on?”
Before you realised, he had jotted things down and was going to ask a question. Sometimes, I asked him, “You are an Hon Minister, what kind of question are you going to ask?” But Mr Speaker, it shows that clearly, late Hon Gyetuah had the work at heart.
Mr Speaker, one thing that we all know as public servants, as we serve the people, is to dedicate our lives to the course of our duty and to the course of being a public servant.
An Hon Colleague mentioned that, the late Hon Gyetuah had an accident in the course of his duty and even that, he still came to work after the accident when he got well.
The issue is that, as public servants, as people who serve our constituents and this nation, what is the nation doing for us? All we hear is that, a Member of Parliament is riding in a four-wheel drive vehicle, a Member of Parliament does this and that but the health of the Member of Parliament who serves the people, nobody cares about that.
This is a clear example of our late Brother who died and when he was sick, he came to work, he sat down and listened, dedicating his life to the course of duty.
I believe that, this is the time for this nation to take care of the people who serve them as the people in Public Service. We started and I believe, when we came some years back, we had a thorough medical examination for Members of Parliament. But today, we ask, do we still have those medical examinations? We do not.
We go about doing our jobs; we go about our constituency work but there is nobody who cares for the public servant, either a Member of Parliament, a Minister of State, Chief Directors--nobody cares about the welfare and the wellbeing of the public servant.
Mr Speaker, indeed, there has been primaries to elect somebody to take over. He has not been buried and because of constitutional issues, there should be a by-election on the 15th December, 2015 but the man is still in the morgue. He would be buried on Saturday. Just after that, I am sure we will swear-in another person, who would come and continue with his work.
But Hon Gyetuah would be forgotten and all that he did for his constituency. This is because somebody else has taken over.
That is why I am advising all my Hon Colleagues, that let us take care of our
health. Our health is our life and therefore, we must not think that when we die today, nobody would take care of the constituency. Somebody else would come and continue with the work that you are doing. Your health is precious and your health is for all of us.
Mr Speaker, what the people of Amenfi West can do to the memory of Hon John Gyetuah is to elect an NDC person at this by-election to continue with his work.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member, this is meant to be a contribution to a Statement. You do not need to make statements that would generate debates.
Hon Member, can you withdraw that last bit of your statement?
Mr Bedzrah 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, to elect somebody who can continue to do the work that he started.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member, do I take it that, you are withdrawing the earlier one and substituting it with this new one?
Mr Bedzrah 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, exactly so.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, this brings us to the end of Statements.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, there are some Papers to be laid as captured in item number 4 on the Order Paper. Chairman of the Finance Committee is ready to lay the Papers.
PAPERS 12:10 p.m.

Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Member, are we taking item number 4 (b)?
Mr Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
No, Mr Speaker. Majority of the items that have been programmed for the day, are still before the committees and we will consider them before we report to the House.
Mr Speaker, the Electoral Commission, as captured at item 15 under committee sittings, is supposed to be here and brief the House, but that is also not coming on.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
I cannot hear you. Are they not here?
Mr Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, they are not here.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:10 p.m.
But did you give them the time when they should be available here?
Mr Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, we duly informed them and unfortunately, they are not here now.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
I am talking about the time element.
Mr Agbesi 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, they are billed to come but because of the other business which is not already before the House, we are bond to take them now but they are also not here.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Very well. So, do we not have any items on the Order Paper now, that we can deal with for today?
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader, we are in your hands.
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, that being the case, I would like to move, that the House adjourns now till tomorrow, 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I know that we have a lot of committee sittings, that is why I was trying to find out if you gave them a time frame. If for example, you gave them 2.00 o'clock., then we could suspend Sitting, go and come back at 2.00 o'clock, then, they would also be here to present their reports. Is that possible?
Mr Agbesi 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, sensing the mood of my Hon Colleagues on the other side of the House, whether the House could suspend until 2.00 o'clock -- the mood of my Hon Colleague is showing a different thing. That is why I would want to move for the adjournment of the House.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I have just been informed that a meeting is programmed to hold between the Electoral Commission (EC) and Parliament. As you have observed, there are many committee meetings programmed but because we have very limited time between now and the time of adjournment, I think it would

be important to allow the committees to move into committees to begin to consider the estimates.

Having said so, it is going to be extremely difficult, once we move to committee meetings, to re-gather to meet the EC, for which reason, I would want to propose that, we reschedule that meeting to Monday. This is because, I understand that tomorrow is going to be very choked for us as a House. So, perhaps, Monday would be a more useful time for this engagement with the EC.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, I hope that you are in agreement?
Mr Agbesi 12:30 p.m.
To have the EC before us on Monday.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, that meeting is rescheduled for Monday and this time, I will prefer that we give them the time they should be here to present their report.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Agbesi 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I have already moved for the adjournment of the House till tomorrow.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
I did not hear you move.
Very well.
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, it has been moved and seconded --
Sorry, yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, information was transmitted to me from the Clerks-at-the-Table, that there is a
proposal for Parliament to meet at 9.00 o'clock instead of the usual 10.00 o'clock at the forenoon. So, we are rather going to meet at 9.00 o'clock.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
When? Tomorrow?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Very well.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, if the announcement could be categorical, so that we position our minds and bodies to meet here at 9.00 o'clock instead of the usual time of 10.00 o'clock.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, could you then amend your Motion?
Mr Agbesi 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, my attention has been drawn to that as the Hon Minority Leader has said. So the position is that, we would meet tomorrow morning at 9.00 o'clock for the whole House to Sit before 10.00 o'clock. I move on that note.
My earlier Motion is hereby amended accordingly.
Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the amended Motion.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, the reason for this amendment is the fact that, tomorrow is going to be a very tight day for us, especially with regard to the burial of our Hon Colleague from Amenfi West, together with and so many other items which we cannot publicly talk about.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:30 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.35 p.m. till Friday, 11th December, 2015 at 9.00 a.m.