Madam Speaker, I
am not in any way going to indulge myself in any argument with my Hon Colleague at the other side.
What I am saying is that policies that governments in Africa are implementing should be such that they will not “erode” - (that is the operative word) - any social programme or activities that have the likelihood to affect our children. This is because if the welfare of children is what is at stake, what we are all talking, what we are concerned about, then the policies that
we put in place as people in government, particularly people in executive positions should be such that our children should not suffer.
I am just using the fuel price increase recently as an example, that certainly many households would have suffered and when you go in, you will realize that children will be more vulnerable than any other individuals within such households.
Madam Speaker, what is happening is also placing greater burden on children. In my constituency of late, we have a number of children who are of school-going age; the age of 8 years, 9 years, 10 years, 12 years -- children in their formative period going into Galamsey, illegal mining, all because the policies that are in place are not working so well for households to keep children in schools. So they have been drawn to join works which ordinarily we should not expect children to do.
Madam Speaker, these can create problems for us in future, because these are children in their formative periods and they are now being engaged in illegal mining - Galamsey - destroying their own lives and future. Therefore, come let us say, 10, 20 years, they cannot continue to be in such activities. Certainly, in the future, they would have no trade, they would have no skill, they would have no experience. And this is what we must be concerned about.
I am urging the Minister -- and I can see that the Hon Minister, Ms. Akua Dansua is listening to me carefully here. Not only children engage in Galamsey, but children in the streets who are working, they should not be working; they should be in the classrooms. They should be trained, they should be educated, they should get trained at that period, in their formative period, so that they become responsible people when we are gone and then they take our place.
Madam Speaker, this is an important day for our children and therefore, we must all be concerned with what is happening. What is wrong is wrong and we must condemn it, and what is right is what we should all ask for so that our children can grow and grow well.
I thank you for the opportunity.
Minister for Local Government and
Rural Development (Mr. Joseph Y. Chireh): Madam Speaker, thank you for allowing me to make a few comments. First of all, to thank the Hon Minister who ably made the Statement and also to say that the contributions that have gone before have said a few things. But I have just specific things to talk about.
Recently, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development issued a circular to al l Distr ict , Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies to reconstitute the child panels as enshrined in the Children's Act. We also want these committees, the panels to be active so that we will get to see what they do as inscribed in the law.
Again, we are encouraging the District Assemblies in particular to create children's parks for large communities where children can have their own time and relax, play games and possibly listen to the aged ones tell them stories of their history and culture.
I would urge Hon Colleague MPs to support this endeavour by reminding their Assemblies of the need to create these parks. Indeed, on an occasion like this, Ghanaian children should have been celebrating all over on these parks to renew their faith in their parents.
But I have something for the parents also. We are all busy and particularly the young ones like my Hon Colleague, who is always talking, need to spend
- [Interruptions]-- who have younger children - [Interruption.]