Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity and thanks to the Hon Members who made these Statements and bringing up issues that have attracted global attention in recent times.
Mr Speaker, we have seen a lot of videos on social media, mainly from the Gulf States which depict some of these vices which are unwarranted and very much not dignified to be happening to the human race. One question is clear, why would people want to leave the Ghanaian shores to seek greener pastures in the Gulf?
Mr Speaker, I have asked this question, but I did not get the right answers.
Somebody told me that the orientation of the Ghanaian youth, particularly women, to jobs is something that as a country, we should work on. For example, in Ghana, the technical and vocational jobs such as cleaning jobs are not so much cherished. Therefore, when people are even asked to do one job or the other, they tend to see them as second, third or fourth class jobs that are not respected in society. I think we must take it up and let the orientation of the Ghanaian youth change.
Mr Speaker, I worked in Germany for about one year when I was a student. I did a cleaning job. I did that two hours every day. I remember when I went to do the job, I met a lot of people; but nobody asked me what job I did. The questions is, “are you going to work” or “have you closed from work?” So, I was not worried and ashamed of what I did for a living.
Mr Speaker, but here in Ghana, people question what one does. What is the nature of the job? This is why if even under the “One District, One Factory”
project that is coming, it is not all the jobs that would be white collar. Ghanaians must understand that they could be put to use to do things that would benefit and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
Mr Speaker, we should take it up, so that when people have hope that they can do something in Ghana, travelling to the Gulf would no longer be attractive.
Mr Speaker, it is also good that I mention that in the last two weeks or so, my Hon Minister made a very strong appeal to the Labour Department to halt the licenses of all those who have even been issued licenses to recruit people to the Gulf. This is in the right direction. We are looking and studying this carefully, so that everybody who is given the license, henceforth, would comply with certain measures to ensure that our citizens who travel to the Gulf are not treated anyhow.
Mr Speaker, I would also call on the international community. In fact, the International Labour Conference (ILC) is currently underway in Geneva. I would call on them -- it is about two or three days more to the end of the conference. If this issue has not been brought to their attention -- the way workers, especially those from Africa, are treated in the Gulf -- it still should be a matter of international concern, so that we put pressure on the Gulf States to do what is befitting to our people who travel to seek greener pastures there.
Mr Speaker, Hon Members of Parliament also have a role. We are very close to our constituents. Let us carry the message and let them know that it is not all that rosy in the Gulf. If we speak, they listen. So, Members of Parliament must take advantage. When we mount any platform, be it durbars and open days in
the schools, I urge my Hon Colleagues to, as it were, mention that it is good to make a living here than to go to the Gulf and suffer as well.
We also call on all our security agencies to tighten whatever they do, so that people who traffick these innocent lives to the Gulf Region would also be maintained here at home.
Mr Speaker, lastly, I urge all the youth to refocus their minds and know that Ghana could be a place for them to live.
Mr Speaker, on this note, I associate myself with the Statement that was made.
Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye (NDC- - Odododiodioo): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to also contribute to these Statements that have been made by our Hon Colleagues.
I would begin by commending all those that have preceded me, in addressing these issues that have turned out in the Statements.
Mr Speaker, I believe it is not by accident that the Hon Deputy Majority Leader started with a commendation of fathers, and these Statements also came in.
As we sit here, most of us are fathers, and I believe that it is incumbent on us, that as we celebrate this day, we also bear in mind that it is not only our biological children that we have responsibility of. If we fail to also help in addressing issues affecting other children, we may nurture monsters who would devour us in the future.
It is important that as we celebrate the Africa Day of the Child, we take a critical look at these issues that have been mentioned in the various Statements.
Mr Speaker, as an Hon MP for the difficult area in our country where these issues play on the screen every day, I feel it is an obligation to mention one or two things. One of the most critical issues that have come up in the development of our children today in our capital towns is their exposure to dangers.
The Hon Member of Parliament for Pusiga talked about those who sell on the streets and where they sleep. Mr Speaker, in this rainy season, it is a pity to see where these children are left to sleep in the evening, especially when it rains - by the roadsides, in the medians of our streets, the corners of shops and on tables. What do they use for a bed? Cardboards, plastics -- it is horrible.
As a society, we are creating the impression on these children that we do not care about them. So, when they become used to the sort of things they see, they would also not care about us. They would attack us when they want to.
Some of these children are exposed to very dangerous lives -- drug abuse, smoking and alcoholism, just to mention a few. They grow up seeing the environment in which they are left -- people smoking, getting high on drugs, drinking alcohol and getting drunk, and all those things. They grow with it and think that it is a normal part of their lives.
So, tomorrow, if these boys become abusers of marijuana and other cracks, whose fault would it be? It is because we failed to check which people do those things in front of children.
I believe when we were growing up, some of us were not even permitted to see our fathers drink or smoke. Mr Speaker, but today, people wantonly smoke in front of their children, drink and do everything. People even take children to beer bars and drinking spots even though there is a law that debars children under 18 years from entering those spots.
When we go on the Teshie-Nungua Road this evening, we would see the number of children at the various drinking spots there. It is alarming.