...after passage of ROPAB - Yaw Baah Accra, Feb 09, GNA - Mr Yaw Baah, Chairman of the Judicial Committee of Parliament, on Thursday said the Representation of the People's (Amendment) Bill also seeks to enfranchise those who are in legal custody but had not had their cases concluded.
"The focus of discussion on this Bill has been on the rights of Ghanaians living abroad to vote but I think the other wonderful thing it seeks to do is to grant the right to vote the many voiceless people in remand custody throughout the country's prisons."
Mr Baah was speaking to the motion "That this House thanks the President for the message on the State of the Nation, which was delivered to this honourable House on Tuesday, 31st January 2006." He said as the result of the slow pace of the judicial process in Ghana many people have spent close to 12 years in remand waiting for their final day in court.
Mr Baah who is also a Member of Parliament for Kumawu said the Electoral Commission (EC) itself had indicated sometime ago that in order to fully actualise its mandate of registering all Ghanaians for public elections Parliament had to effect the amendment to the defect of the parent law, PNDC Law 284 before other administrative limitations can be dealt with.
He quoted Article 45 (e), which states that, the EC should undertake projects to expand process of voting to Ghanaians everywhere, adding that, "when is when? This is the right time."
Mr David Apesara, PNC-Bolgatanga, appealed to the government to resuscitate the Pwalugu Tomato Factory and other useful factories up north, which used to provide employment and market to the local people. He said these days the people over produce tomato and are left to rot because there are no bulk purchases for the produce. Mr Apesara urged the government to promote cultivation of rice in the three northern regions, which have enough acreage of land and human resources.
"The amount of money we spent in importing rice can be used to make rice cultivation a profitable enterprise in the north and also to generate employment to the youth in the area who are travelling down South for non-existing jobs."
He commended government for initiating the Student Loan Trust, adding, "This would be a relief on our share of the common fund."
Mr Stephen Balado Manu, NPP-Aha Ano South, praised the government for investing in education, especially in the technical, vocational and agricultural training institutes.
He said training the youth in agriculture would go along way to help the country in her quest for food security instead of allowing them to sell dog chains in the streets.
Mr Balado Manu said the government is also committed to upgrade the teacher training colleges to a diploma level.
"They have been given buses and other logistics to help them perform well."
He urged the government to do more for French teachers from the basic to the tertiary level and to vigorously pursue the infrastructure development of these colleges and laboratories.
Captain Nkrabea Effah Dartey (RTD), the Deputy Minister of the Interior and MP for Berekum, said the government's intention of building a Presidential Palace is in the right direction.
He said most nations in the world have Presidential Palaces and it is fair and proper that Ghana owned one.
Capt. Effah Dartey said the Castle, which is supposed to be the residence of the President is not proper since it is a monument of our colonial history.
"The Presidential Palace when built would not be for the NPP government but for the nation and every President no matter which party he belongs to would have access to the Presidential edifies and I urge the President to ensure that the Presidential Palace is constructed." Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah, NPP-Asokwa said he finds it amazing that the same people who were voted into office sometime ago are now against others taking part in an election.
He said nobody should be denied the right to vote and all over the world people have lost their lives because of the denial of this important right. 09 Feb 06