Mr Speaker, the Majority Leadership is yielding our place to Hon Ebenezer Nartey.
[NII NARTEY]Ebenezer (Nii) Narh Nartey (NPP — A b l e k u m a C e n t r a l ) : Mr Speaker, thank you for this opportunity.
Mr Speaker, let me take the opportunity to thank the Hon Member who made the Statement for bringing to light the challenges that our aged face in this country.
Mr Speaker, most at times, if one is above 70 years and has a family, or let me say, from a rich home, the person is treated nicely. But those who do not have, they are seen as witches and wizards. Even the community in which they live treats them so badly.
They are neglected by family members, the churches that they attend and institutions in which they involve themselves. Some of them, even if they are to live more than the 70 or 75 years they die at an earlier age because the treatment they go through makes them die so early.
Mr Speaker, most at times, those who are being affected so much are the women. Anytime there is a young guy or lady in the house and things are not going on well with him or her, they attribute it to the old woman in the house.
But such a person probably has forgotten that when he or she was advised to go to school, he was roaming about but later attribute the suffering that he or she goes through to the old woman in the house.
Mr Speaker, for the men, they are always on the safer side because we do not see them as wizards. In my view, this Statement has come at the right time because the Hon Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection is here.
Just as the Hon First Deputy Minority Whip said, when we were young, we used to watch Maame Dokono's “By the Fire Side” where stories were told to us.
Mr Speaker, the fact of the matter is that, some of these people are treated so badly. I remember when some of us were in the Primary and Junior Secondary Schools (JSS), when we get into a bus from Mataheko to Odokor and we realised an old man or woman coming to sit in the bus, we get up for him or her to sit down.
But today, as the former President Jerry John Rawlings said, “who born dog?” For a young student from any school to see an older woman or man in a bus and to stand up for the person, no, he or she would tell you he has paid as well as the old woman and so let her stand and he or she would sit.
Mr Speaker, I believe that it is time for us to educate the young ones in our schools. When we go to our Primary schools and JHS, some of the things that are being taught now are no longer things of the past.
Today, if one goes to some of our schools today, one would see a very young girl or boy using iPhone X and his or her teacher using a “yam phone” and so he or she does not even respect the teacher. [Interruption] A “yam phone” is the mobile phone without a camera.
How can there be respect in our schools if a pupil is using a phone that costs GH¢4,000 and the teacher who is being paid GH¢600 is using a “yam phone”? So there is no respect.
Mr Speaker, it is high time we get back to our roots and educate the young ones on the reasons why we have to give respect to the aged.
Even in this Chamber, sometimes you get to the elevator and you see young MPs like us forcing our way to enter the elevator when the old men with their walking sticks are standing waiting for the lift -- It does not even show respect. So I believe that it is time for us to discipline ourselves and also help the aged.
Mr Speaker, I remember when they introduced the Metro Mass Transit buses, we were told that the aged can board it free of charge, but today, they are paying the fares. On National Health Insurance renewal, they are still paying GH¢7 and GH¢8 for renewal.
Can we not do it free of charge for them? It is not every aged person who has the money to go and do this renewal or even register for health insurance.
Mr Speaker, all the 275 Members of Parliament, all of us in one way or the other have travelled outside the country and we see what is going on there. It is high time we change our ways and implement what we see elsewhere in our country and see to it that things go on well for us in this country.
Mr Speaker, I would want to urge the Hon Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection to not only focus on the young ones selling on the streets but to also focus on the aged and see how best we would be able to help them.
As Hon Members of Parliament, we would also need to take good care of the aged in our constituencies. We should not wait till Christmas before we buy rice and oil for them.
It is time that we brought them together, interacted with them and even sought advice and blessings from them because these old people have a lot of blessings.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to thank the Hon Member who made the Statement and urge all of us to see how best we would be able to support the aged in our various constituencies for us to live long. I would want to live 120 years before I visit my ancestors and I pray to God that I live that long.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for that opportunity.