Debates of 30 Jan 2014

PRAYERS 11:20 a.m.


Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise under Order 48 of our Standing Orders and as I see the empty seats and the time in the day, I am wondering if this House has a quorum and for that matter, proceedings could continue -- [Interruptions.]
Mr Speaker, I really would want your guidance on this matter and to rule on it. I do not think we have a quorum. I do not think we do, Mr Speaker.
Mr Murtala Mohammed Ibrahim 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague said she is wondering; I guess we are not here to wonder. She is not even certain whether, indeed, we have formed a quorum. In any case, I think that it is just an attempt to drag the effort of what we are doing.

I thought the Hon Colleague would have done the necessary thing by counting. I strongly believe that we have formed a quorum and we should allow proceedings to continue.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Dr Matthew O. Prempeh 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, by our Standing Orders, when an Hon Member seeks the Chair's ruling on an issue, others should not be allowed to interject with their wonderings and their muses just like I am doing -- [Interruptions.]
Mr Speaker, my Hon Friend, the Deputy Minister for Information and Media Relations, is trying to dishonour an Hon Member who has sought your ruling on a Standing Order. This is unprecedented in this House -- this is unparliamentary. [Interruptions.] It is an affront to the dignity of the Speaker.
Mr Speaker, it is high time you let the Hon Member realise that this is a House of procedure and process. He cannot expose his ignorance --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Member, I think that an issue has been raised by a Member. He has a completely different view of the matter. He has expressed it; I do not think we should go to the extent of talking about ignorance and so on. I think the word “ignorance” used by you should be withdrawn.
Dr Prempeh 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I used the word “ignorance” in the Standing Orders and not his ignorance. I said his ignorance of the Standing Orders. I am not about withdrawing his ignorance he has exposed of the Standing Orders.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Member, I think you would do the honourable thing to just withdraw that.
Dr Prempeh 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I have taken guidance from you. I withdraw the word “ignorance”.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Member, with regard to the issue you have raised, if you look at subclause (2), it gives us the opportunity to cause a bell to be rung and after ten minutes, if we still have the problem, we address it.
So, I think I will direct that the bell be tolled and then after that, if we still do not have a quorum, we will know what to do.
Ms Safo 11:20 a.m.
No, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, Standing Order 48 (1) is so clear that if there is no quorum --
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Member, you are completely out of order.
Hon Members, a Statement has been admitted --
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, with respect to the Chair, we have begun a new year and I would want to plead that filibustering is a known and accepted strategy in every Parliament. Heckling is also a known strategy in every Parliament but shouting across the isle and using indecent language, wild gesticulations and so on, are not tools known and accepted in any Parliament.
Mr Speaker, we have begun a new year. Let us talk to ourselves. These things are very offensive, particularly when they are not spoken into the microphone and I will urge that we begin on a new clean slate. Let us together give ourselves a new beginning as we start this new year.
Mr Speaker, having said that and before you come to the issue of Statements, I would want us to address our minds to Standing Order 13 (2) which provides --
“Whenever the House is informed by the Clerk at the Table of the unavoidable absence of Mr Speaker, the First Deputy Speaker shall perform the duties and exercise the authority of Mr Speaker in relation to all proceedings of the House until Mr Speaker resumes the Chair, without any further communication to the House.”
Mr Speaker, the operative phrase is in respect of proceedings of this House -- the Speaker is unavailable at the com- mencement of proceedings, the House should be informed. It has nothing to do with whether he is in the jurisdiction. It relates to his unavoidable absence in the House and indeed, from the Chair.
We spoke about this and I think there was conformity. Along the line, it looks like we are adopting some other attitude.
Mr Speaker, I do not know of any jurisdiction where it is assumed that once the Speaker is in the jurisdiction and has not travelled outside the country, if he is not in the Chair, Members of Parliament should not be informed.
Mr Speaker, Members of Parliament reserve the right to be informed whenever -- especially at the commencement of Sitting, that Mr Speaker is not in the Chair. Why he is not in the Chair may not be given to us but the fact of his absence should be communicated before the First Deputy Speaker assumes the Chair.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Minority Leader has quoted Standing Order 13(2) without reference to Standing Order 13(1).
Mr Speaker, Standing Order 13(1) states and I beg to quote;
“Either of the Deputy Speakers shall take the Chair as Deputy Speaker whenever requested to do so by Mr Speaker during a Sitting of the House without any formal commu- nication to the House.”
Mr Speaker, if the Speaker of the House chose to go by Standing Order 13(1) and the Minority Leader is asking that the Speaker should have used Standing Order 13(2), I think that it is the discretion of the Speaker that he chose Standing Order 13(1). Therefore, nothing had been done contrary to our Standing Orders.

No! He has quoted the Standing Orders and I am saying that it is in two parts and the Speaker has the discretion and he has chosen one, so, we cannot fault the Speaker.

Mr Speaker, that is my view.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Deputy Majority Leader is totally wrong in this assumption. Mr Speaker, Order 13(1) relates to a Sitting of the House when the Speaker is presiding and then he has to leave the Chair for whatever reason, then he communicates to any of the Deputy Speakers; he does not have to communicate same to us.
So, we normally see that like it happened on Tuesday, he was presiding, then he left, and before he left, he communicated behind the curtains to the First Deputy Speaker who took over; it
does not have to be communicated to the House. That is the relevance of clause 13(1) and that is distinction.
Order 13(2) relates to when he is not in the Chamber at the commencement of the proceedings. I think the Hon Member understands that?
Mr Speaker, not to further litigate it, may you allow maybe, the Majority Leader or the former Majority Leader to provide further elucidation on this, so that the Deputy Majority Leader would take a cue.
Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Members, I think to cut a long story short, some communication should have taken place ideally and it should have been by the Clerk. We have passed that stage. But for the information of Members, Mr Speaker invited me this morning to his office and informed me that he had some pressing issues to deal with by way of administration in the office, so he wanted me to be in the Chair. That is the reason.
I thank you.
Hon Members, we have a Statement by the Hon Juliana Azumah-Mensah, Member of Parliament (MP) for Agotime- Ziope and it has been allowed, so she will take the floor.
STATEMENTS 11:20 a.m.

Mrs Juliana Azumah-Mensah(NDC -- Agotime-Ziope) 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this is a congratulatory Statement on the 60 years anniversary celebrations of Our Lady of Apostles Senior High School (OLA), Ho, in the Volta Region.
Mr Speaker, this is to congratulate my alma mater OLA Senior High School, which is celebrating its sixty (60) years of existence on Saturday.
Mr Speaker, OLA Senior High School, Ho, which was once a full Mission institution, is now a Government-assisted girls' secondary school but still under the management of the Catholic Mission.
Mr Speaker, OLA Senior High School was officially opened sixty years ago on 1st February, 1954, in Keta with 35 students in the borrowed premises of the then Convent boarding school for girls.
In the beginning, the school was initially named “Queen of Apostles Secondary School”, but was later renamed “Our Lady of Apostles (OLA) Secondary School”.
Mr Speaker, OLA Senior High School was the brainchild of a Dutch national, Bishop Anthony Konings of blessed memory, who was in charge of the then Keta Diocese. As a firm believer in education for girls, Bishop Konings' vision was to establish a secondary school that would give girls in the Volta Region an intellectually sound, moral, spiritual and academic Catholic education.
Mr Speaker, as a result of the founding of OLA, girls from the Volta Region no longer had to travel over 200 miles to Cape Coast, which has a sister institution for girls.
The school adopted the motto, “Vitam Presta Puram”, meaning “Grant Us a Pure Life. A life Without Reproach.” To help actualise that ideal, the Bishop invited the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles (popularly known as OLA Sisters), most of them Irish nuns, to administer the school. The first
Headmistress of the school was Rev. Sr. Theodorus Fahy (of blessed memory) who came to Ghana in January 1954 to take charge of the school. She was assisted by other Ir ish nuns and Ghanaian teaching staff.
There was also Sr. Dolores Davis, who helped in teaching music, and Rev. Fr. Herman Lubbers, the only male, taught religion, and later became the full-time chaplain of OLA from 1957 to 1973.
Mr Speaker, two years later, the school was transferred from Keta to its permanent site at Ho in January 1956.
The 1960s was a period of great infrastructural expansion built with grants from the Dutch Government and complemented by continued diocesan funding.
Mr Speaker, not only did the 1960s see the development of the infrastructure of the school, but it was also a period when the student population increased and courses being offered were expanded. Thus, from 1960, both arts and science subjects were fully taught in the school. In 1962, the school enrolled a double stream, and in 1966, Business subjects were introduced.
Mr Speaker, in 1976, the first headmistress Sr. Theodorus retired from the school and left Ghana after 22 years of sterling service, and was replaced by Sister Maire O'Driscoll. Bishop Konings, the founder of the school also departed Ghana for good, leaving an exemplary Catholic girls' secondary in the capable hands of the Rt. Rev. Bishop Francis Lodonu, who took over the administration of the then Keta/Ho Diocese.
To date, the school has had a total of eight very committed Headmistresses:
Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo (NPP -- Dome/ Kwabenya) 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for this opportunity and I congratulate the Hon Colleague for the Statement.
I rise to support the Statement and to make a contribution.
Mr Speaker, I add my voice in saying congratulations to OLA Secondary School in Ho, which happens to be a girls' school.
Mr Speaker, it goes without saying that indeed, religious institutions have a role to play in developing our educational system and it dates back to independence till date.
Mr Speaker, when she talked about the history of the school, she emphasised that it was a school that was run initially by nuns. Mr Speaker, it tells you from the word go, that moral of the students was something that they were going to take very serious.
Mr Speaker, it has grown for over 60 years now and the question we must ask ourselves is “do we still have instilled in our students, the upcoming ones, these same moral standards that the nuns or the Catholics intended the school to have?”
Mr Speaker, in congratulating them, I would like to emphasise that in recent times, the morals of our students are really
worrying and for that matter, we have to re-emphasise and have a collaborative interaction with our religious leaders -- those who are into schools -- so that we find a lasting solution to that. This is because these children -- and I am very much concerned about this one; it is a girls' school and we advocate of girl-child education. So, if our girls are getting into schools and these are turning out to be avenues for low moral standards, then it ought to be worrying to the State, to Hon Members of Parliament and to all our communities.
Mr Speaker, in ending my contribution, I would also plead that as we speak about schools, Dome/Kwabenya is a very large constituency and there is no such secondary school in the constituency. We are told by the Ministry of Education that there is a project where Government has in mind to establish a secondary school in my constituency. We are therefore, saying that this project is welcome.
We have the Presbyterian Boys Secondary School (PRESEC), which was part of us, and we had the West African Secondary School, which was also part of us but the recent demarcation of districts and municipalities took out these secondary schools from my constituency.

Mr Speaker, I add my voice to the congratulatory message to OLA Secondary School and I thank you very much for this opportunity.
Mr Joseph Z. Amenowode (NDC -- Afadzato South) 11:40 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to add my voice to
that of my Hon Colleague, the Member of Parliament for Agotime-Ziope, in congratulating the management, staff, students past and present of Ola Girls' Senior High School on their 60 th anniversary celebration.
Mr Speaker, when we hear the history of this great school, the vision and a bold one, of course, of the founding Bishop, it is worth commending.
Mr Speaker, a student of education in Ghana, especially the Volta Region would not dare to think of starting a girls' school in 1954 because of the history of girl-child education in the Volta Region.
The highest level we expect women to attain in those days, was Standard 7; and for most, primary 6 was the end of education to make them marriageable ladies. They considered women who were highly educated not to be them mar- riageable type. So, for Bishop Konings in 1954 to conceive an idea to establish an exclusively girls' school, I say, is a bold and a visionary decision.
Today, as we celebrate the 60 th anniversary of that school, we can only congratulate him, all the other Bishops that followed, especially Bishop Lodonu who has been doing a great job in education in the Volta Region generally and Catholic institutions in particular.
I would want to say that the school with a population of thousand six hundred (1,600) today, still needs much infrastructure.
We have been told the Dutch Government and others supported the basic infrastructure or the beginning infrastructure. But today, the school still needs much infrastructure to be able to cope with the large number of students.
Over the past few years, Government, through the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) has been able to add some few
Mr Joseph Z. Amenowode (NDC -- Afadzato South) 11:40 a.m.

and I am at this juncture calling on Government and the Ministry of Education to look at the infrastructural needs of Ola Girls' Senior High School and other senior high schools in the country.

There is the need for furniture, there is the need for academic facilities in most of these schools and I would want to encourage the GETFund to go more into this.

I would want to thank the current headmistress and her staff for their efforts in instilling discipline, continuing the discipline tone of the school and say “Ayeekoo” and we wish them all the best in their celebration.
Mr Daniel K. Ashiaman (NDC -- Buem) 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I also stand to add my congratulatory message to Ola Secondary School on their 60 th Anniversary.
Mr Speaker, on occasions like this, it is very important for all of us to focus on how and when these institutions were established and as said in the Statement, Ola Senior High School was established in 1954, before the Independence of this country. I will say that it is really laudable for us to actually thank Bishop Konings who did this in 1954.
As it has already been said, the culture of the people of the Volta Region as at that time, about the girl-child education and for this Bishop who is a Dutch to sit down to actually look at our situation and establish this school for the people of the Volta Region, I think is a laudable idea.
The school has its aim: To provide moral uprightness, spiritually fitness for students and then academically astute students. These were the three pillars that helped to mould the girl-child in those
days -- for them to know what to do and do it right; for them to worship their God who is the sovereign God and for them to learn hard to actually occupy high positions in the country.
We also need to congratulate Bishop Lodonu who is the Bishop of Ho Diocese today, that after Bishop Konings had left the school and given the mandate to him, he actually continued to manage the school.
Congratulatory messages also go to the headmistresses of the school who continue to take the day-to-day care of the students, though some of them were deviant or stubborn, they managed to continue with the mantle. About 35 students were admitted in 1954 but today, we are talking of 1,600; it means they did a good job.
The good results of this school is showing that the teachers or the staff, the headmistress, teaching and non-teaching, all these people contributed to the good results that the school has chalked. As we are sitting here today, we have students of OLA Senior High School among us and one of them is Prof. Gadzekpo. So, it means this school has come far and contributed a lot to this nation's development academically and that is why we need to congratulate all of them.
My plea to other Missions and also to the Catholic Mission is that, the battle is not won yet. Ghana still needs Mission schools or academic institutions that can expand to all nooks and crannies of this country. For that matter, though we congratulate them, we appeal to them also to continue to establish these affordable senior high schools, so that one day, we would have more women in this House.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Mr Gershon K. B. Gbediame (NDC -- Nkwanta South) 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I also rise to associate myself with the Statement and to congratulate OLA Girls Senior High School. I was a student in Mawuli School in Ho; and OLA Girls were affectionately called our sisters. In many programmes, we shared friendship and whatever.
Mr Speaker, I would want to say, starting on the Statement that it was a Dutch Bishop who had this vision. I would want to say that society is built by people who have vision and concern for humanity.
If we find ourselves in any position, we have to ask ourselves what can we do to affect lives positively, so that tomorrow, when we are dead and gone, like we are talking about this Bishop, people would say good things about us for what we have also left for society.
I would want to really appreciate the role of the Mission schools even in our country, that they were to give moral and spiritual upbringing.
Mr Speaker, intellectual knowledge without spiritual backing cannot help society much. A lot of people in society today, as we can see, have proved to be a menace to society. This is because maybe, they did not have a sound parental upbringing or in their early days of their education, they did not have the opportunity to undergo this type of training.
Therefore, I would also urge that whatever school, be it a government school or a Mission school, we need the spiritual touch of it to really build the fear of God in such people, so that when they grow, like the Bible says, we should train the child in a way that he should go and when he grows, he would not depart from it.
At the early age of a person's life, when we try to inculcate this fear of God in that person, he or she would grow to be useful and prosperous citizens to our society.
On this occasion, I also join my fellow Hon Colleagues to congratulate OLA on its 60th anniversary and to wish them well; that the successes they have chalked should spur them on and whatever challenges that they have faced in the time past, should also be an opportunity for them to see how they can improve conditions of the school.
By a simple calculation, Mr Speaker, if for these 60 years, on the average, we were training about 200 students from that school, we could count the number of women who would have been brought up in this institution with the moral upbringing and the knowledge that have been imbibed and their contribution to society as we have been told of Prof. Gadzekpo and the like.
Therefore, I wish to say that whenever we are given an opportunity, we should make the best use of it to affect and influence people's lives,especially, in imbibing the virtues of the fear of God in such students who are entrusted in our care.
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi (NDC-- Ashaiman) 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to have a chance to congratulate OLA Senior High School on their 60th anninversary celebrations.
Mr Speaker, I attended Nkonya Secondary School in the 1970's. During that time, one school well known in the Volta Region was OLA and we also heard about Bishop Herman and Mawuli Schools. These were the names that were reigning in the Volta Region in the 1970's, simply because academically, these schools were higher up than the school I attended.
So, we were looking at them as examples and we wished we could reach their levels. I am not surprised that in this Statement, the Hon Member said that
Mr Alfred K. Agbesi (NDC-- Ashaiman) 11:50 a.m.

today, the school continues to achieve 100 per cent success in examinations. I congratulate them and I wish that they will keep this record. This is because a lot of people that have passed through OLA have done well in life. The school has managed to produce Members of Parliament, produced people in the health sector, it has produced people in academia and the Judiciary. These are examples for us to emulate and I say: Ayekoo to OLA for celebrating its 60th anniversary.

Mr Speaker, they say that they are in to educate and bring the morale of the students higher up and this Statement is coming just at the hill of the Statement made that, Mission schools should be returned to the Missions.

Mr Speaker, OLA is a Mission school and it continues to achieve laurels in the educational, moral and academic circles. If this is so, then the call that the schools should go back to the Missions is in the right direction.

I would say that OLA has brought up people; in fact, including my own daughter who went to OLA and today, I can say that OLA has made her what she is in life.

Mr Speaker, I thank you and I congratulate the Hon Member who made the Statement, that we should continue to have schools like this in bringing our children up to the level we want them to be.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
We would take the last contribution from the Hon Minister for Trade and Industry.
Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) (MP) noon
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity. I commend the Hon Member who made the Statement -- Hon Juliana Azuma-Mensah.
Mr Speaker, just to emphasise paragraph four, the last three lines of her Statement:
“Bishop Konings' vision was to establish a secondary school that will give girls in the Volta Region an intellectually sound, moral, spiritual and academic catholic education”.
Mr Speaker, in supporting the Statement, I would want to say that we need to commend the efforts and partnership of religious bodies and organisations in partnering the State to improve upon the training and wellbeing of Ghanaian school pupils and in particular, to commend the Catholic Church for their support for education generally.
Mr Speaker, my only difficulty is when efforts are made to blame the State for poor upbringing of children. We should accept parental responsibility and we should blame parental irresponsibility on deviant behaviour rather than want to attribute that to the State.
The school has proudly produced many and I think that they can be proud about it.
I, certainly, would conclude with what the Hon Member who made the Statement herself said, that founding fathers such as Rt. Rev. Bishop Francis Anani Kofi Lodonu, the Bishop of Ho Diocese, the present Headmistress and staff should do well to continue to keep the image of the school high, its reputation high, particularly their sterling performance in the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations and the West African Senior Secondary School Examinations.
I understand that they get up to a 100 per cent and they should work harder to maintain that academic reputation.
With these few words, I commend the Hon Member who made the Statement and I associate myself with it.
Mr First Deputy Speaker noon
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Statements. But just to add that while I was a student at the University of Ghana, as a member of the Drama Club, we went to OLA Girls, Ho, to act a play and we were struck especially with the discipline that we saw in the school. I just hope that they will keep it up. Congratulations.
Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor noon
Mr Speaker, in the absence of any other matter, I would like to move, that the House be adjourned
to 31st January, 2014 at 10.00 a.m. in the forenoon.
Mr Dan Botwe noon
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
Question put and Motion agreed to.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.04 p.m. till Friday, 31st January, 2014 at 10.00 a.m.