Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I equally rise to support and associate with the Statement ably made.
Mr Speaker, with regard to what happened to the Grenfell Tower in London, I would say that it was a very unfortunate incident. We all know that the United Kingdom is a country that has very high safety regulations and laws that are very biting; unfortunately, this happened.
Mr Speaker, if you listened to the commentary on how things happened, the most surprising of all was how fast the fire was able to engulf the whole building.
Mr Speaker, with regard to the number of deaths, as of yesterday, there were a lot of arguments. The residents are not very happy because they believe the Police
are hiding some information, but the Police are also saying that, they would want to be sure of the numbers. This is because they would want any information that comes from them to be the most authentic. As of yesterday, they said the number of deaths was seventy-nine, but they expect this number to rise.
Mr Speaker, if we look at the time the Fire Service got there -- It is said that the call was made and within five minutes, not less than forty fire tenders were around the building; yet, the fire was able to do this much damage. If this incident had occurred in Ghana, I doubt if anybody in that building would have escaped, apart from maybe, those on the first or second floor.
Mr Speaker, it draws attention to the ‘Job 600'. I remember when the ‘Job 600' was commissioned, the Chief Fire Officer told us clearly and plainly that they do not have the capacity to deal with fire, should it happen beyond the sixth floor of the ‘Job 600'.
Mr Speaker, this was said more than a year ago. Up to date, nothing has been done to either strengthen the GNFS or to engage them to see what is needed to assist them to deal with fire outbreak beyond the sixth floor.
Mr Speaker, therefore, for those of us who are beyond the sixth floor, each morning we would have to pray that as we climb the lift to our offices, we come down safely.
Mr Speaker, this is however, not a child's play. This is something that, as a House, we need to take very seriously. This is because apart from ‘Job 600', in Accra now, we have other buildings that are more than twelve floors. What happens to these should the unfortunate happen?
Mr Speaker, aside that, as law makers, this is where I am happy that in your opening statement when you got sworn in, you said that you would encourage us as Hon Members of Parliament to come up with Private Members' Bills.
Mr Speaker, as we speak now, there is no specific law that deals with safety in our country. They are just scattered in laws around. To have a law in our country that has been passed by Parliament detailing safety, we do not have. We only have a little here and a little there; but we need to have -- No country can ever survive in the way the modern world is going with internets, a lot of gadgets and the sophistication, without clear laws regulating safety in our country.
Mr Speaker, many of us have travelled across the world. In many countries, even in small conference rooms that take ten people, immediately one enters, someone would come in to give a breakdown on safety issues. They would inform people of the particular place that they would have to pass if something is to happen in that particular conference room. They would also tell them where to assemble after they have passed through that particular place.
Mr Speaker, we have all those measures in place, but in Ghana, we depend on the phrase, “God would provide.” Unfortunately, in Africa, I believe we overburden God with things that we have to do. God would only do the sophisticated things; but for the natural things, we would have to do them ourselves.
This is because, God could only do the supernatural to help us. For the natural things, God has given us the wisdom and the knowledge, and others have taken the lead. So, we cannot continue to rely on God for those ones.
Mr Speaker, in this Chamber, as we Sit, God forbid, if there is fire outbreak, what would we do? I have been in this House for over a decade, but I have never been told that should there be any fire, I should go in a particular way, get down and assemble at a particular end. We just come in and Sit. Even during orientation, we do not get any briefing on fire safety measures.
I am on the House Committee, where Hon Members appointed me to; but the House Committee members are not experts on how to deal with safety. These are things that we all talk and laugh about and leave it there. We need to follow up on these issues.
Mr Speaker, lastly, I would speak on the general average Ghanaian attitude. Our attitude towards things are just too bad. The laissez faire or the “I do not care attitude”. They would say to themselves,
“Why should I have fire extin- guishers in my house? I could use that money to pay a month's bill in my house.”
Mr Speaker, out of the 275 Hon Members of Parliament, if you call the Fire Service person to march each and every one of us to our homes now, I doubt if you would get even up to 50 of us whose houses are fire safety compliant. We just build and just hope that God would continue to protect us.
Mr Speaker, I sincerely believe that this House should take the lead. We should try to put together the pieces of legislations that have been scattered in the many legislations about safety into a safety law.
We should also make sure that as these things happen, we are all given the right training about the use of the ‘Job 600' and its safety measures in this Chamber and in our homes; so that as leaders in our various constituencies, we would lead