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07.10.2005 Politics

Forum on Parliament held at Wa

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Wa, Oct. 7, GNA - Mr Felix Owusu Agyapong, Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs on Friday said it was not the duty of Members of Parliament to provide development projects to their constituents.

That responsibility, he stated, rested on District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies through the Chief Executives and the MP's role was to monitor their implementation processes to see that, they were evenly distributed.

Mr Owusu Agyapong said this when he spoke on "The Role of a Member of Parliament" at a Public Forum on the work of Parliament as part of Parliament's outreach programme to the northern sector at Wa. The well attended forum, which attracted traditional rulers, civil and public servants, civil society, students and political party functionaries created a platform for the participants to interact with the leadership of parliament and assess its work.

The Parliamentary leadership that included Chairmen and ranking members of certain key committees of parliament answered questions bordering on both Legislative and Executive functions. Others that fell in the domain of the Head of State, such as the non-appointment of a Cabinet Minister from the region were not answered.

Mr Ebenezer Sekyi Hughes, Speaker of Parliament said the parliamentary outreach programme was an important step towards forging a closer bond of relationship between parliament and the citizenry.

Such programmes, when sustained, would do away with any wrong perception of mistrust between the people and their representatives. He regretted that some of the MPs use the foyer of the House and their car boots as offices but those difficulties notwithstanding, they were prepared to serve their constituents and the larger public to the best of their abilities.

Mr Freddie Blay, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament said Parliament was looking for resources to assist MPs to undertake individual outreach programmes to explain what they had been doing in Parliament to their constituents.

Speaking on "The Role of the Minority in Parliament," Mr Alban Bagbin, the Minority Leader, said they and the Majority had been moving towards developing consultation and constructive engagement towards building consensus.

"We and the Majority have agreed on 85 per cent of business that came before the House and not much is heard of that but when we disagree on any issue, it is usually blown up".

He stressed that they were not in Parliament to always "sing one voice with the Majority", because they represented a different voice, which they would follow with passion and commitment Mr Ambrose Dery, Upper West Regional Minister noted that the country's democracy was being deepened by the day through such outreach programmes and all citizens should make sure that they were stakeholders in It. He told the Parliamentary Leadership to take cognisance of the problems confronting the region during their brief stay there. Alhaji Alhassan Bin Salih, a member of the Council of State, who chaired the function, said the region could only realize its developmental objectives, if its people lived in peace and unity.

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