“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