Hon Members, we have two communications from the President, both dated 23 rd June, 2017. SPACE FOR LETTER - PAGE 2 - 1.00 P.M. SPACE FOR LETTER - PAGE 3 - 1.00 P.M.
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, item numbered 2 -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. The Votes and Proceedings dated Friday, 23rd June, 2017. Pages 1…10 --
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, on page 10, there is a report on Statements that were made by Hon Members, and absent from the report is the Statement made by the Hon Member for Salaga South on Eid ul Fitr. I think for the occasion, it is important that the records reflect that. Thank you.
Thank you very much. Any further corrections? Hon Members, in the absence of any further corrections, the Votes and Proceedings as read and corrected are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Tuesday, 20 th May, 2017.]
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to ask further questions. Mr Speaker, may I know from the Hon Minister whether he is aware that the people of Adaklu have already, through their own efforts, built a police station with all the facilities? They have provided a two-bedroom bungalow for the police commander and space for other five police officers as we speak. So, the issue of help by the Hon Member of Parliament or by the community had been done. Mr Speaker, if that is the case, could he assure us that we have already fulfilled much of what he talked about, so, we require a police station urgently?
Mr Speaker, I have already assured the Hon Member that Adaklu is on the list. He talked about accommodation for six officers. But of course, a district police station needs more than that. Adaklu is on the agenda and that is not an issue. We are entreating the Hon Member as well as other institutions and persons, that the greatest support we get in upgrading the district, the more personnel we can send there and the more effective the police station would be. So, there is no contradiction in what the Hon Member has told me. As I said, Adaklu is on the list, but greater effort would not harm the programme. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer, he cited the population of the district and crime rate as part of the criteria for siting a police station. Mr Speaker, there has been three murder cases in Adaklu this year alone and there has also been issues of Fulani herdsmen clashing with members of the community. Mr Speaker, everything that the Hon Minister has cited as a criterion had been met in Adaklu. So, all we need is for him to tell us when the police station would be activated.
There is an allowance for a preamble towards a question, and I would --
Hon Member, I have not interrupted you. [Laughter.]
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I just want to help the Hon Minister understand that Adaklu has met all its criteria. All we needed was for him to give us a time frame when we will get a district police station.
Mr Speaker, I have already assured the Hon Member that Adaklu is on the list to be made a district police station. It is clear in the Answer; Adaklu is one of those to be considered. Mr Speaker, I also said in the Answer that the police have a transformation agenda to pursue. And I am giving the criteria for the benefit of all other Members of Parliament, that, should they require that, it would be useful. But I have already assured the Hon Member for Adaklu that his constituency is on the list to be considered. As he said, they have provided accommodation for only six police officers; what is wrong with having further support to deploy more policemen than six? Mr Speaker, so, the simple thing is that the Hon Member is making a case that has already been granted and is on the list. We are talking of what would facilitate and enhance it as a district police station; period. Mr Agbodza — rose --
Hon Member, I believe you have exhausted your three supple- mentary questions. [Pause.] Please, go ahead.
Mr Speaker, in the Hon Minister's Answer, he said, and with your permission, I quote: “Rt. Hon Speaker, the current Police Administration is embarking on a transformation agenda which will include upgrading a number of police stations in the country ...” Mr Speaker, can the Hon Minister tell us what this “transformation agenda” is since it is in his Answer?
Mr Speaker, if the Hon Member of Parliament wishes me to give details of the “transformation agenda”, may he file a Question on that aspect. I brought that Answer in context that in keeping with the agenda that we have, it has qualified -- but we would need greater help. I have not come here with transformational agenda; I said “includes” -- that means it is just one aspect and that is the aspect that the Hon Member wants and it is the Answer I have given him. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Minister to tell us what the “transformation agenda” is. What does it mean? [Interruption.]
Hon Members, order! Hon Member, if you would want a whole constituency agenda, please, ask the Hon Minister for it.
Mr Speaker, there is a Committee in this House called Committee on Government Assurances (CAG). The Hon Minister has not answered for us to follow up when --
Hon Member, please, ask your question.
Very well. Mr Speaker, I would want to find out from the Hon Minister when exactly Adaklu would be given a full district police station?
Hon Minister, it is a time specific question.
Mr Speaker, there is a Question that has been asked which is: “To ask the Hon Minister for the Interior what plans were in place to establish a full district police station at Adaklu.” Mr Speaker, I have said that the plan is that it should be created. I hve answered that, time frame depends on all these things working together to effect it at a particular time -- but yes, it is being considered. For instance, we do not have sufficient police personnel and we are going to recruit personnel this year and hope that it would help us. Mr Speaker, so, I have answered the Question and we would do so, I believe, before the end of this year.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister in his Answer to the Question indicated that there is a transformation agenda which would include upgrading a number of police stations in the country. Mr Speaker, we are in the second half of the year; may I know from the Hon Minister when we would see the first implementation of this transformation agenda anywhere in the country?
Mr Speaker, we are now in the second half of the year. I do not know if my Hon Colleague is ahead of us. What I am saying is that there is an agenda within which we have the establishment of district police stations. Should the Hon Member want details of that, he should please file an appropriate Question.
Mr Speaker, in response to the supplementary question from the Hon Member, the Hon Minister indicated that Adaklu community has provided accommodation for six officers and he is urging them to provide more. I would want to know the minimum number of accommodation for police officers that a community needs to provide in order to qualify for a police station?
Mr Speaker, I said that we would establish the district police station. However, the number of police personnel we can deploy depends on the accommodation that can be provided. Having said so, we also know that we need to also involve ourselves. For instance, Adaklu asked for six officers; we hope that with the plea I have made to the Hon Member, he would involve the District Assembly in enhancing that. Beyond that, we would also do what we can. But I do not want a commitment to a specific number. It depends on what the situation is in every case. But we would do our best to provide what we can provide. Mr Speaker, one of the challenges is that we do not have sufficient police officers and we are working towards getting the ratio of one police officer to 500 citizens. I have already indicated at another forum that we probably need about 8,000 police officers to be recruited this year. If we can achieve that, I am sure we would be able to do a lot more, including Adaklu.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful. Mr Speaker, I would want to read from the last paragraph of the Answer provided by the Hon Minister. The Hon Minister for the Interior said, and with your permission, I quote: “Rt Hon Speaker, since the issue of security is a national concern, we wish to encourage Members of Parliament and the citizenry at large to assist the Police Administration in the refurbishment of police stations in their areas that need upgrading as well as providing residential accommodation for police personnel posted when upgraded . . .” Mr Speaker, the question is that, is this an official Government policy and what are the security implications if citizens are encouraged to provide police posts and residential accommodation for police personnel? If those citizens themselves fall foul of the law and they are to be arrested, but are the landlords to the police, how does that help in the effective delivery of security and protecting the citizenry?
Hon Ablakwa, if that were so, then nobody can arrest me in Dome Kwabenya because I have built a police station. Hon Members of Parliament as well as other well-meaning people can build police stations. The police must operate with formalistic impersonality. Hon Minister, you may give your comments. Actually, this one is not a question.
Mr Speaker, the first question whether it is the policy -- Indeed, article 41 of our Constitution does provide some of the activities that are expected of the individual citizen towards
I am grateful, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Adaklu said the community has provided six residential accommodation for the personnel. The Minister said the six is not enough. I am also going to provide accommodation at Bia East.
Mr Speaker, there is no ceiling. He is asking for ceiling, but there is none. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I would want clarification from the Hon Minister for the Interior. He mentions the considerations to be met for the opening of a district police office. Are these considerations cumulative? That is, should a district meet all these considerations before they can open the district police office or should there be one of the conditions present and more prevailing like the issue of crime? Perhaps, the district may not have met all the other conditions, but one of the conditions might be prevailing and perhaps, more serious than the others. In this situation, would he consider opening a district police office?
Mr Speaker, these are considerations. But I can give an example: one, being crime rate. Crime rate alone, depending on the level, will propel us to move into a district and even set up tents. So, these are just guidelines for us but the way they interact would be done on a case by case basis. We cannot sit down if there is murder in some area and say, we have no police station there and so, we will not move. We would move there. So, Mr Speaker, these are guidelines, but we would do what would enable us maintain the security and make Ghanaians safe. Thank you.
Hon Member, the last Question. [Interruption.] Not you. Or you would want to withdraw from asking the question.
No, Mr Speaker, with your permission, I will proceed.
Hon Member, proceed.
Mr Speaker, in one of the responses offered by the Hon Minister, he did indicate that Adaklu was one of many other districts being considered. If he would not mind, can he share with us the rest of the districts being considered as qualified districts for police posts? [Interruption]-- Especially Builsa.
Mr Speaker, please, could the Hon Member file a specific Question asking for the list and then, I would get the information for him.
Hon Minister, you are entitled to say that he should ask you a question specifically on the list. But having mentioned that it is one of many districts, it could be a legitimate question to ask; which are those many districts? This is because the question is rooted in the Answer. [Hear! Hear!]
Mr Speaker, I did not say many districts.
Order! Order! But Hon Member, you need not have the list now.
Mr Speaker, with the greatest of respect, I did not say one of many districts. I said, ‘one to be considered…' Now, Mr Speaker would realise that in this House, I must be precise in the answers that I give. So, the better approach is for the specific question to be asked and I would specifically bring the Answers here. Mr Speaker, for instance, I was in Kumasi last week Thursday to open the Police Commanders' Conference. About three communities made applications that they want facilities.
Thank you very much. Hon Member, if you want details, come by way of a specific Question.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. In the Hon Minister's Answer, he indicated four requirements and I would like to paraphrase the very last two paragraphs. He said it must be noted that creating a police district in a community requires certain considerations such as -- and he mentions four of those considerations.
Mr Speaker, I need to emphasise that these four considerations are among others. I said, “such as”. I am promising consideration of districts that do not have district police stations to provide the requisite support and pass the test. I am not canvassing “One District, One Police Station” -- [Laughter.] In any case, there are districts that are so large that they have more than one police station.
Hon Minister for the Interior, just for us to know, is population an issue in these matters?
Mr Speaker, yes, it is among the factors. The third is the population of the district. It is a factor.
Mr Speaker, the Question by the Hon Kwame Govers Agbodza, the Member of Parliament for Adaklu, reads: “To ask the Minister for the Interior what plans were in place to establish a full district police station at Adaklu.” Mr Speaker, the Hon Ranking Member for the Committee on Government Assurances repeated the same cons- truction. The question is, whether in the scheme of operation of the Ministry of the Interior, they have a concept called, “partial district police station” since they are asking for a “full district police station”. In the scheme of operations, do they have anything --
Hon Majority Leader, are you asking a question?
Mr Speaker, yes. The question is, whether they have any scheme known as “partial district police station”.
Hon Minister, you may answer the question.
Mr Speaker, I am not aware of any classification of district police Stations as partial and full. I know about districts, divisional, et cetera. I do not know about partial police stations. Thank you very much.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Question time. I would thank the Hon Minister, who is an Hon Member of this House, and he may want to take his appropriate seat accordingly. Item numbered 4 on the Order Paper -- Statements. I have admitted Statements, but the makers are not here. Therefore, at the Commencement of Public Business since the Hon Members who are supposed to read Statements and whose Statements have been admitted are not here. I encourage Hon Members on both sides of the House to submit more Statements because they are a way of articulating matters of national concern. I am quite generous about admitting them. I, therefore, expect more in my office. Item numbered 5 -- Presentation of Papers. Item numbered 5(a) by the Hon Majority Leader/Minister for Parlia- mentary Affairs.
Hon Members, item listed 5(b) -- Hon Minister for Roads and Highways. By the Majority Leader/Minister for Parliamentary Affairs (on behalf of the Minister for Roads and Transport) -- Treaty on the Establishment of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor among the Governments of the Republic of Benin, the Republic of la Cote d'lvoire, the Republic of Ghana, the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Togolese Republic. Referred to the Committee on Roads and Transport.
Hon Members, item numbered 5(c).
Mr Speaker, I regret that the Report of the Committee of the Whole still has a few challenges to be ironed out; so, it is not ready to be laid now. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Very well; the item would be suspended for now. Hon Majority Leader, at this stage, is there any indication?
Mr Speaker, we have exhausted the Business listed for today, but there is a very important matter before the Committee of the Whole to be discharged. We would do so immediately after adjournment. So, I may propose that we adjourn for the Committee of the Whole to deal with the subject matter, which is the Formula for the Distribution of the District Assemblies' Common Fund for the year 2017.