10.03.2005 General News

Workshop on Democracy, Good Governance underway

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Saltpond (C/R), March 10, GNA - Mr Frank Adoba, Central Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), has advocated the separation of hardened criminals from those serving terms for minor and civil offences to prevent the prisons from becoming the training grounds for armed robbers.

"Recent revelations indicate that our prisons are becoming breeding grounds or an academy for armed robbers," Mr Adoba said. He made the call at a workshop on: "Promoting Democracy and Good Governance" at Saltpond on Wednesday.

The two-day workshop was organised by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), in partnership with the NCCE and the Mfantseman District Assembly, on the theme: "Fighting Corruption - An Agenda for Democracy and Good Governance."

Mr Adoba urged the government to strengthen youth training centres to train the youth to acquire employable skills to prevent them from resorting to anti-social activities such as stealing, armed robbery, among other crimes.

Mr Daniel Batidam, Executive Secretary, GII said his organisation was the National Chapter of Transparency International, a worldwide NGO with 90 National Chapters, the world over, dealing with corruption. Mr Batidam said it had been observed that grants and loans from donor countries and agencies to developing countries did not have any meaningful impact on the lives of the people and exhorted people entrusted with power and resources to use them for the benefit of the people but not to use the funds to enrich themselves.

He urged the government to strengthen anti-corruption institutions to enable them to exert effectively check the canker, adding that, "keeping corruption at a limit would make funds that go wayward go into development projects to improve the lives if the people."

Reverend Isaac Kweku Sam, Superintendent Minister of the Cape Coast Methodist Church, expressed regret that many people now regarded politics as a means to amass wealth instead of serving society. He called on leaders to provide selfless and dedicated service to the people and to regard themselves as servants of the people. Rev Sam deplored expensive weddings and funerals and admonished religious leaders and traditional authorities to help to address the issue.

In a keynote address, Mr Robert Quainoo-Arthur, District Chief Executive noted that nothing could be achieved at the national level unless good governance practices were observed at the grassroots, saying effective decentralisation enhanced good governance.

Mr Quainoo-Arthur said the Assembly was taking steps to strengthen its sub-structures to enable them to play effective roles in consolidating the democratic process.

He said democracy and good governance thrived on tolerance of dissenting views and urged district assemblies and Parliament to encourage consensus building on issues before it. The DCE urged Ghanaians to wage a relentless war on corruption by observing the principles of good governance in both public and private life.

He reminded the people that henceforth probity, transparency and accountability would be demanded from them and would be used as a yardstick to judge them.

"Everyone of us from now on must begin a personal evaluation of his or her lifestyles to find out if it is within acceptable limits," the DCE added.

Chiefs, heads of departments, assembly members and personnel from the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana National Fire Service are participating in the workshop.

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