Cape Coast Dec. 30 GNA-The Archbishop of Cape Coast, Cardinal Peter Appiah Turkson, on Friday called on the government to fulfill its promise to provide all Ghanaian citizens with identity cards and to tackle it as one of its major projects in the coming year. He said the identity cards were a "basic instrument for democracy", since it would give the government the needed statistics on the number of people it has to deal with.
Cardinal Turkson, made the call in his New Year message through the born, or of people in the working age.
He however, cautioned that Ghanaians should not see the provision of the ID cards as a move to sack aliens, but as a way of giving Ghanaians the requisite recognition, as well as enable the government to do effective planning.
According to the Cardinal, the provision of ID cards "would be unforgettable legacy" the government would leave for the people, stressing that possessing voter ID cards and Passports, was not enough to give Ghanaians the needed recognition in the intentional world. Cardinal Turkson acknowledged the peaceful manner in which both the NPP and NDC conducted their congresses, and said this was an indication that the nation was "now maturing in its democracy", and urged the leaders of the various political parties do their campaigns devoid of rancor, and tribalism and ensure that there was total freedom of expression.
The Archbishop, however observed that there was the need "for a third strong political party in the country to enable people to make other choices instead having to either go for NDC or NPP" " Our democracy is maturing and we need other alternatives to choose from" he stressed.
Touching on the economy, Cardinal Turkson thanked the country's development partners for their support by either cancelling her debts or providing loans and grants and tasked the government to make good use of such support to change the social and economic orbit of the country. He was hopeful that the "economic favours" received by the government would become "motors" to push the country into a new orbit for a better economy, adding that efforts towards a single digit inflation, should be translated into improving the lives of the people, since there was still poverty in many homes, in spite of the numerous international interventions.
He said although the provision of projects, like KVIPs, schools and hospitals were all good for the people, a lot more should done to enable them have decent accommodation, potable water and good meals, since these were basic things that life depended on.
On the fight against HIV/AIDS, he thanked the Ghana AIDS Commission and other concerned organisations for their efforts and urged that the ministry of health to find ways of decentralizing the provision of anti-retroviral drugs to all hospitals, and not to restrict their dispensing to only Korle-Bu and Komfo-Anokye hospitals, as people have to travel long distances to get treated.
Touching on the role of the church, the Cardinal said the church would continue to play its partnership role effectively and would commit itself to making human life fulfilling and wished all Ghanaians a more promising year.
For His part, the Right Reverend Isaac Quansah, Bishop of the Cape Coast diocese of the Methodist Church, said as much as people wish good things for themselves in their New Year resolutions, they should think about the nation, which he said, also needs such good wishes to "survive".
He in this regard urged Ghanaians to resolve to tackle sanitation seriously in the coming year to rid the nation of filth and disease.
Bishop Quansah also expressed happiness that that the two main political parties had conducted their congresses peacefully, and urged the various party leaders to ensure healthy political campaigns that would build the nation and not destroy it.
He called on the government, as a matter of urgency, to take care of the needs of Ghanaians particularly the aged, stressing that, the "aged must be seriously taken care of, and not left to despair, since many of them have contributed towards the development of the nation." He, in this regard asked that programmes should be evolved to enhance the welfare of pensioners since the monies they received as pensions "was nothing to write home about".
Rev. Quansah also tasked parents to plan their families to help reduce streetism, drug abuse, rape, defilement and other vices, associated with the youth, adding that the nation was engulfed by such social vices because many parents were shirking their responsibilities by leaving their children to their fate.
On HIV/AIDS, he advised the youth "to value their lives and abstain from premarital sex", and asked Christians to lead exemplary lives, stressing that the hope of the nation depended on the various religious organisations and that as Christ dwelt among his people, so must all Christians dwell among all people and impact positively on them. He took the opportunity, to pray for peace and unity in the country.
The central regional minister, Mr Isaac Edumadze, for his part, urged people in the region to endeavour to live in peace and unity and to endeavour to resolve their differences amicably.
" I am not saying anyone should cover any evil deed", but we should ensure that all disputes are settled amicably and within the region for accelerated development" he stressed, adding that this was imperative as the region's development record was not good enough.
Mr Edumadze, in this regard, called on people in the region to work harder in the coming year, to achieve a higher standard of living. On the Christmas celebrations, the minister, was full of praise for drivers in the region for virtually ensuring an accident- free Christmas, particularly on the highways, but expressed concern that this record was marred by the fatal accident at Agona-Abrem in which eight people lost their lives.
He said the attitude of the drivers was an indication that they had taken road safety campaigns seriously. Dec 30, 05