Hon Members, let mewelcome you to the Second Meeting ofthe Fourth Session of the Sixth Parliamentof the Fourth Republic. I thank theAlmighty God for graciously granting youprotection, strength and good health andfor seeing to your wellbeing during theEaster recess and bringing you all backsafely to the House this morning. It is myprayer that the Almighty God will continueto extend His hand of favour and divinemercies over this House during the courseof this Meeting and the period thereafter. Hon Members, you would recall thatin my Closing Remarks prior to theadjournment of the House, I noted thatyou deserved to take a good rest duringthe Easter recess in order to returnrefreshed for the Second Meeting. I am aware, however, that most of youwere unable to take sufficient rest duringthe recess, primarily because you were inaddition to the surgeries, engaged indischarging your very tiresome duties toyour constituents during the limitedelectoral registration exercise. Hon Members, this is an election year,and the time available to the House islimited. I do hope that, your preparationfor the general elections later this year willnot significantly affect attendance duringSittings of the House. I would like to drawyour attention to the fact that the agendafor this current Meeting is a tall one. Having regard to the paucity of time atour disposal, I would entreat HonMembers to attend upon the business ofthe House with punctuality andseriousness, both at plenary and incommittee in order to facilitate theexpeditious consideration of pro-grammed business. I do hope Hon
Members would give the Chair and theLeadership maximum cooperation, toenable us complete our business on time. Hon Members, we need to give priorityto the consideration of the Right toInformation Bill, which is at theConsideration Stage. I also urge the Leadership of theMajority Caucus, to impress upon HonMinisters to respect the timetable of theHouse and respond promptly toinvitations to answer parliamentaryQuestions and carry through GovernmentBusiness outlined on the agenda ofbusiness in this House relating to theirrespective Ministries, Departments andAgencies (MDAs). Hon Members, the Leadership isextremely concerned about the recentspate of attacks on Hon Members of thisaugust House. You will recall that earlier this year, welost a distinguished Member of Parliamentthrough what is suspected to be an armedrobbery incident. Another incidentoccurred about a fortnight ago against amember of the Leadership and hishousehold. Thankfully, God intervenedand their lives were spared. We have made the necessaryrepresentations to the security agenciesand they are handling the situation. TheLeadership will take whatever lawful andreasonable additional steps that arenecessary to protect and secure itsMembers and staff. I urge Hon Membersto take all necessary security precautionsin their respective homes while the matteris being addressed. On this note, I once again welcome HonMembers to the House. It is my prayerthat the good Lord will guide us in ourdeliberations. Hon Members, thank you very much. Before we proceed, I would want toinvite the Leaders if they have any wordof advice for the newly sworn Member ofParliament for Abuakwa North.
Mr Speaker, I would want to relate inparticular to the attendance of HonMinisters upon the House to answerQuestions. Mr Speaker, often times, when therehas been some noticeable lethargy on thepart of the Hon Ministers and theyeventually appear, their plea have alwaysbeen that Questions were transmitted tothem very late. Some of them would saythey had them just yesterday or maybe,the day before. In that regard, may I respectfullysubmit to you, Mr Speaker, that,Questions that you have alreadyapproved of, be transmitted to the HonMinisters even before we programme themto attend to the Business of the House,so, they are aware and prepare to attendto the House rather than store themsomewhere and then, maybe, the weekbefore, they are programmed to appear,they are transmitted to them, then theyhave to scamper all over looking for therelevant information. I believe it is one reason that explainswhy in many cases, the Hon Ministers,especially the Hon Deputy Ministers whostand in for the Hon Ministers, are foundwanting when they come to respond toQuestions. We do not have the luxury oftime in this Meeting. Mr Speaker, as I said, I would want toplead with you, that Questions that wewould want to recycle, especially thebacklog that we had before we went onrecess, if you have approved of them,
through the normal channels ofcommunication, let us serve them on theHon Ministers to prepare themadequately, so that when we programmethem, there would not be any excuses. Mr Speaker, relating to the swearingin, even though we do not have much timeas we speak, between now and theelections, -- nobody is sure whether itis going to be 7th November or the statusquo is going to be maintained. There hasbeen some indications. Be that as it may, Mr Speaker, our ladywould not have much time to register herpresence strongly and boldly in theHouse. However, Mr Speaker, if she is agood material, as I think she is, I believeeven given the limited time, she wouldblossom. My advice to her is that, the rule hereis simple. There are two primarydocuments that Hon Members have toavail themselves to. The first one relatesto the conduct of business in the House-- the Standing Orders of the Parliamentof Ghana. The second one, which, in myview, is the supreme rule, is theConstitution of the Republic of Ghana. To quote the words of the venerable J.H. Mensah, the former Hon MinorityLeader who subsequently became the HonMajority Leader. He said and I beg toquote:
“The relative importance of the twodocuments find expression in thevolume of the two documents . . . ”-- The Constitution and the StandingOrders. Without doubt, the Constitution is theprimary document for us; it is the basedocument for us in this Parliament. The rules of procedure -- if an HonMember would want to be relevant in thisHouse, would have be be learnt by thatparticular Hon Member.
I would entreat her to apply herselfreligiously to the two documents -- theConstitution of the Republic and theStanding Orders. Fortunately for her, many Bills are listedfor consideration and passage; there aremany Instruments -- some Bills are withcommittees; some Bills are programmedfor Second Reading and Instrumentswould be presented. Mr Speaker, I believethis would give her the baptism that sherequires in this House -- [Interruptions.] Mr Speaker, I am being threatened bythe Hon Member for Sekondi, who isdirectly behind me, himself a former HonMajority Leader.