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07.02.2006 General News

Power outage mars Peoples' Assembly

Power outage mars Peoples' Assembly
Cape Coast, Feb. 7, GNA - A sudden power outage at the Centre for National Culture (CNC) at Cape Coast, venue for this year's Peoples' Assembly, on Tuesday, marred the programme as proceedings had to be brought to an abrupt end due to the intensive heat in the main hall at the centre. Several people had already spoken on issues agitating their minds and there was still a long queue or people waiting to speak to President J.A Kufuor, but the outage which occurred at about 12.25 PM, cut short the programme, which started at 10 am. He therefore had no option, but to answer a few more questions and have proceedings brought to a halt, although he had been prepared to stay on for two more hours. As a result, those who had been unable to interact with the President had their concerns compiled and handed over to be tackled later by the President. The President had been at his best answering a wide range of question from the people, including students and school children. Questions and issues raised were on the National Health Insurance, roads, the People's Representation Amendment Bill and support for the disabled. Others were the disability and the domestic violence bills, severance awards for retrenched workers and land administration and were all answered by the President, who occasionally sought support from his ministers.
Reacting to concerns raised by Anna Oyez Luther, a women's rights activist on the Domestic Violence Bill and the President's impression on marital rape, President Kufuor, explained that a comprehensive report on the bill had been presented to Cabinet for study.
He said there was the need to streamline the Bill, which, he said, a comprehensive policy on lands would soon be formulated and urged stool land owners who are agitating for their lands to be returned to them to exercise restraint, but added that lands which has been acquired and paid for would remain with government for use, and those held in trust without compensation, returned.
President Kufuor also stressed the need for intensive education on the NHIS to encourage more people to register for the scheme. Mr. Owes Korankye, a physically challenged student at the Cape Coast Polytechnic, complained about lack of business opportunities as well as non-provision of access facilities for the disabled, and asked what the government was doing to alleviate their plight.
Two pupils, one with a visual impairment and the other, deaf and dumb, also added their voices to the call on the government to support the disabled, and appealed for teaching and learning materials in Braille and a school bus for the Cape Coast School for the Deaf to enhance academic work.
The President assured them of his administration's support and re-assured them that the disability bill would soon be passed to address all their concerns.
Some people also suggested that contractors doing shoddy work should be brought to book and the President urged Ghanaians to endeavour to report such contractors to the regional administrations for appropriate sanctions. 07 Feb. 06