Thank you so much, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity. Mr. Speaker, before I begin I would like to congratulate my hon. Colleague for making this wonderful Statement on the floor today.
Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the Catholic Church has done a yeoman's job in the development of the Upper East Region especially. Mr. Speaker, the Catholic Church in the Bolgatanga/ Navrongo Diocese started in a very small way with communities and if you see those communities after 30 years, today they have become virtually small towns.
On the side of education, Mr. Speaker, the Catholic Church was first to establish Notre Dame Secondary School, and that is an institution today which, at the end of every senior secondary school (SSS) examination, you can see among the first 10 schools in the country. And that is the school in a very remote community yet performing quite well in the examina- tions.
Mr. Speaker, somewhere in 1969,
during Prime Minister Busia Regime, a Catholic Priest in the person of Reverend Father Jaques Morin made approaches to the then Government and initiated a water project for the whole of the Upper East Region. This was launched in 1972 by the former Head of State, General Kutu Acheampong in Garu.
This water project was for a small community -- 300 boreholes -- but gradually this water project has spread all over the region; and today, the Upper East Region can boast of water in all sectors
of the community. It is this Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) project that was brought into the country by this Reverend Father Morin of the Navrongo Catholic Church.
Again, Mr. Speaker, this was the same Priest, in his own small way, who took the lead in introducing ambulance services in the Upper East Region. The first four ambulances to be donated to the community was given to Tongo, Wiaga, Bongo and Garu as far back as in 1969. That was the first time we were experiencing ambulance services in our communities even though small as they were.
So there is no doubt, Mr. Speaker, that the Catholic Church has played a major role in the improvement of the lives of the people all over the country but more especially in the Upper East Region. I therefore want to also congratulate them for all the efforts and still suggest that there is more to be done. And like my hon. Colleague said, the church should collaborate effectively with the Government so that the little they can do to improve the lives of the people would be much welcomed.
Deputy Minister for Trade, Industry, Private Sector and PSI (Mrs. Gifty Ohene-Konadu): I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity to associate myself with the Statement made by the hon. Member for Builsa North.
Mr. Speaker, the Catholic Church is one
Church that I admire very much though I am myself an Adventist. Long before the empowerment of women took the centre spot of development agendas both at the national and international levels, and even become a household word in local and also international communities, the Catholic Church had the foresight to empower women. They started with
opening of schools. In Ghana, we can talk about all the OLA schools -- at Ho, Cape Coast and other places and it shows the level of enlightenment that the Catholic Church had. I am told that men in Ghana would even want to take wives from those who attended those schools and it shows the level of discipline that was instilled in those women.
On this occasion, Mr. Speaker, I would
like to commend the Catholic Church highly and wish them to continue their good works to empower women to take their rightful place in society in the country.
Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I would like to associate myself with the maker of the Statement and to wish the Catholic Church very well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. E. T. Mensah (NDC -- Ningo/
Prampram): Mr. Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the Statement made by the hon. Member for Builsa North and to congratulate the Catholic Church on the occasion of the centenary celebration in the northern sector. The Catholic Church's approach to evangelism is something which needs to be emulated by all churches, especially the churches which are mushrooming these days, whose leaders think about themselves without thinking about the societies where the churches are planted.
Wherever the Catholic Church plants a church, they think about the social wellbeing of the people in the area; they think about schools, they think about health services, which is quite progressive.
The Catholic Church has come a long way and it is one church which believes in positive reforms, that is why it is where it is today. So it is important that