Thank you very much for the information.
So, Lt-Col. Anku Tsede (retd) was one of the people that tried to explain to us - because coming from the military to civilian rule, we had very bad misconceptions about the military. So, he tried as much as possible, when he was made the Chairman of the Committee of Defence and Interior, to explain to us some of the things that the military were doing and some of the things that we thought were not in the right direction.
Mr Speaker, it was upon some of these things and an improvement of these explanations that led to us today having a very stable Parliament and now, we have Open Days for the military and now, everybody thinks that our democracy is running very smoothly.
Mr Speaker, Lt Col Anku Tsede (retd) also contributed so much to Parliament. He contributed in debates and as much as possible, tried to encourage us - at that time, those of us who were very young -- to take our parliamentary duties very seriously and encourage us to “die” a little for our country. He did a lot.
Those days, as you know, we did not have means of transport; we did not have anything to go to our constituencies. He encouraged us to work hard and I can say that we have learnt a lot from people like Lt Col Anku Tsede(retd) and that has contributed a lot to some of us being in Parliament up to this time. I can say that Mr Speaker, your honourable self is not out of the lessons that Lt Col Anku Tsede (retd) gave us.
Now, he is gone but I want to suggest
that -- Lt-Col. Anku Tsede (retd) was a professional. He was an architect. We have a lot of Members of Parliament, people who have come as professionals and when they leave here, they do not get any job to do. If it is possible, we must get people like the professionals, we encourage them to set up companies or whatever, we can do to encourage them so that when they go out - they have learnt a lot in Parliament. Some of the things that we need, we can easily fall on them and that can help us run our institutions very smoothly.
Lt- Col. Anku Tsede (retd) is gone. We can only say that may the good Lord give him a good resting place.
To the people of Ho West, a big tree has fallen and we hope that they will not be too much worried because Lt-Col. Anku Tsede (retd) has paid his dues and it is left for us to play our part.
Minority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei-
Mensah-Bonsu): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity to say a few words to the memory of the departed former Colleague and former Hon Member of Parliament.
Mr Speaker, the point has already been made by the Hon Member for Sekondi (Papa Owusu-Ankomah) that the non- contribution from the Minority is not to spite the memory of the former Member of Parliament but in recognition of the fact that when he was in Parliament, our side was not represented in Parliament, the First Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
We understand that he was a very diligent Member of this House. He took his work seriously. Mr. Speaker, for that reason, we should be congratulating him for the legacy that he left in this House.
The point has already been articulated that Members of Parliament, when they exit this House, are left more or less to
rot. Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that governments of the day have not given much recognition to the Members of Parliament who have left this House.
Mr Speaker, every now and then, we see situations where sitting Members of Parliament are overloaded with responsibilities. They are made members of various boards, some even chairmen of boards and they have to combine that with their job as full-time Members of Parliament. Meanwhile, those of them with tremendous experience are not recognized. That certainly cannot be the best and so we must be looking at this situation very well.
The point also is that when you are outside Parliament nobody speaks for you. You are not near the corridors of government. So it is important that those who have the ears of the Presidency, whose duty it is to constitute such boards whisper the names of such Colleagues to the powers that be so that appropriate recognition would be given.
Mr Speaker, people have been saying that when Hon Members leave, Parliament as an institution does not make use of the former Members of Parliament. That indeed, is true to some extent even though we have tried on occasions to the best of our ability here in Parliament, to give recognition to some of them by tapping their experiences when it matters.
But Mr Speaker, to be very honest with ourselves, many people leave this House and you cannot, or they themselves cannot say that they have become masters in the fields where they served, particularly the various committees that they have served.
Mr Speaker, that indeed, if we have to be blunt with ourselves, is the position and the reason is not far to find. Why,
because Mr Speaker, as per our current arrangements, an Hon Member serves on about three, sometimes even four committees. How do you expect such a person to find space and time to participate fully at meetings of such committees?
Elsewhere, an Hon Member serves on one committee and develops the capacity at that committee such that when he exits, he becomes an authority on that subject, and that is how we have to find relevance for such people.
Mr. Speaker, can we in all seriousness and in all honesty, say that about 80 per cent, 90 per cent of Hon Members have such competence? Clearly, not and that is why in having a second look at our Standing Orders, we may have to look at it.
Unfortunately, even before we get there, there is a groundswell of opinion to the effect that no, Hon Members should still have the three, four committees that they are serving on. It will be at their own peril. You will stay here for two, three, four terms and when you exit, you will not be competent in any field. It will not serve any purpose for you, and the nation and Parliament will not derive any benefit from your having been here for any long time. So we should recognize that.
Mr Speaker, in many jurisdictions there are schemes that are fashioned out to sustain Members of Parliament who exit. I do know that the usual time is, maybe, for a person who might have served two terms or more. In our own circumstances, we can propose that we have some scheme - a similar scheme. Maybe, we can even bring it forward. If you served more than two terms, then the pension scheme could affect you.
Mr Speaker, the Chinnery-Hesse Committee agreed with us, when we dialogued with them, to have this as part of their recommendations. Unfortunately, when members of the Committee came
under acid tongue, nobody spoke for them that they had done the right thing.
Now, we are saying that, well, that is the place to go. Happily for us, there is a new team that has been put together by the President. And I believe this should be a part of it, a serious part of it. When we come to talk about the benefits for Hon Members of Parliament, it should be part of our serious input into the work of that Committee.
Finally, Mr Speaker, on empanelment of the forum, I think that is an in-House thing that we could think about and see how, maybe, to provide some resources, except that we should, perhaps, have some dialogue with them. Expectations, really, are very high from them. But are we in a position to do what they are requesting? But of course, that is something that we can sit on, dialogue with our former Colleagues and see the best way forward.
Mr Speaker, on this occasion of
mourning, first of all, let us express our deepest sympathies and empathies to the bereaved family in particular. These days when the relevance of the extended family is about evaporating into a thin air, the relevance of the nuclear family is what we should, maybe, be talking about now. And if the legacy that is left behind is not anything to go by, then of course, the children and the widow may have some problem.
Mr Speaker, let us hope that they will not be imperilled by the transition of our former Colleague.