Mr. Speaker, permit me to educate my Hon Colleague.
Mr. Speaker, I said that, no matter how beautiful or how well thought-out a planning scheme may be, the end product remains the decision of those who are put in charge of that scheme. If you care to know, the only regret I have being an architect, is the fact that, after sleepless nights of serious thinking, imagination and day-dreaming to get a scheme out, at the end of the day, it takes somebody else to decide whether to allow it or not.
That is why I disagree with the Hon Member on the other side of the House that it is not the planners who allow people to put stores on the hydrants. It is the city administrators, whoever they may be. Having realised these mistakes or these shortfalls, I am challenging and I am calling for the fact that, together as a people we should have the political and the social will to challenge some of these decisions. Because at the end of the day --
We are only lucky that these fire outbreaks do take place in the course of
Mr. Speaker, four years ago there was a serious fire outbreak at Tema Oil Refinery (TOR); fifteen (15) lives were lost. Ghanaians, could not solve the problem. Just recently, one or two lives are lost, meaning, within five (5) years we have lost a total of seventeen (17) lives in TOR and I believe we have to take serious measures about the way forward.
On the way forward, Mr. Speaker, in the olden days when we were in the secondary school, we used to have certain things like illegal connections and when we are talking of fire outbreaks, I would urge the Ghana National Fire Service and their personnel to pay frequent or periodic visits to our second cycle institutions, especially the boarding houses.
Not only that, Mr. Speaker; there might be some illegal connections in our market places and other public places. Therefore it would not be bad if these fire authorities can be paying frequent visits to our public offices to check on certain illegal connections and so on, so that when there is fire outbreak we may not attribute all the faults to frequent power outages and other things. That might be part of it, but that might not be the only cause.
Mr. Speaker, apart from these, when
we are talking of fire outbreak we should not forget about the kind of electrical appliances that are imported into the country. This is the era where certain people are importing most electrical appliances which are not qualified or which are not made according to the standard specifications that should be used for electrification of most of our public offices.
The question is, do we have the capacity to check the quality and the lifespan of those electrical appliances that are imported into our country? Even if we have, can we also embark upon the kind of checks that should be done on some of those things that are smuggled into the
country? If not, then we cannot solve the problem of fire outbreaks.
Mr. Speaker, the kind of contribution that I would make is that the Ghana National Fire Service authorities should collaborate with the Ghana Standards Board to conduct periodic checks on the kind of materials that are used to electrify most of our public offices.
Beside that, Mr. Speaker, when you are embarking upon a journey to anywhere, there are policemen who check for fire extinguishers and other things in our tro tro vehicles.
I would also advise that, the Ghana National Fire Service authorities should train certain personnel who would be able to stand in public places, pay surprise visits to all tro tro drivers and other places to check whether they have fire extinguishers and other things that our policemen have also been checking.
This is because the policeman may not have the capacity to check all those things. Most of the times what they do is, they would ask the driver, “Where are your papers?” And after checking the papers they allow the drivers to go. They may not know the importance or essence of checking for the fire extinguishers. So just as we have joint military and police patrol, we can have joint police and the Fire Service patrols to pay frequent visits to our tro tro drivers, our public vehicles to check their fire extinguishers and other things.
Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I
thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement.