contribute to the Statements. While I commend the Hon Member who made the Statement, I have difficulty accepting some of his recom- mendations.
Mr Speaker, you are a good academic. The best sociologically researched paper on suicide is that of Durkheim, 1897, when he sought to establish the relationship between social factors and suicide. In this writing, he described three types of suicides; anomic suicide, egoistic suicide and altruistic suicide. Therefore, in reading about it, we need to understand in each of these individual cases, what the motivation was to cause suicide. We also need to appreciate why under Ghanaian law, suicides have been criminalised.
I support its criminalisation because it is not normal or acceptable behaviour. We should not think that when we have depression or are distressed, the ultimate thing is to take our lives. The life cannot be recovered. If we do not criminalise it as a country, then we are saying that it is normal and good behaviour. It cannot be.
Any person who has researched deeply on suicides -- the only type of suicide that we may want to say is
behaviourally rewarding is the altruistic suicide, where the individual places societal values over his or her personal values. However, when it is egoistic and lawless, it can lead to suicide.
Mr Speaker, while I agree that we should resource the Mental Health Authority to deal with it -- only a month ago, while I was preparing for Maghrib (6.00 p.m.) payers around New Town, a gentleman came to greet me with his brother, Tunde. The next day, Tunde argued with his sister over Fanta, a carbonated drink. I think that he went to buy drinks and he had an argument with his sister. The next moment, he was found hanging on a rope in his room.
His colleague who came to greet me with him, came the next day and said: “Haruna, Tunde killed himself”. Yet, do we want to say that behaviour is right and acceptable? No. Therefore I disagree with the Hon Member who made the Statement that we should decriminalise it. Unacceptable behaviour must be punished and deterred. We do not want a society where we encourage young children to resort to killing themselves if they have problems. Which society develops that way?
I commend the Hon Member who made the Statement, but funda- mentally, I disagree with him. There
is a basis for our criminal law -- Mr Speaker, you are a good Lawyer and the source of law is morality. That behaviour is immoral, therefore, if it is punished with legislation, you would say we should-
As a country, we should find out what is responsible for the recent reported cases of increases in suicide. What is it attributable to? Then we can as a country deal with it. But when we do not know the causes and ask that it should be decriminalised - It is not normal behaviour and those who studied Social Psychology like the doctor -- If they look at the relationship or the social circums- tances, the situational behaviour is what informs this kind of conduct.
So, I commend the Hon Member who made the Statement, but I disagree with him that it should be decriminalised, as I understand it from portions of the Statement.
What we need to do as a country is to look at unemployment. There are many people without jobs and in that distress they get hopeless. As they get hopeless, they throw up their hands in despair. These are potential candidates of suicide. As a country, we must look deep into how to find employment opportunities for people.
When the economic theorists come here, they talk about economic growth. In my view, the strongest measure of well-being is employment. When at the end of the month, you have electricity and water bills as well as children's school fees to pay, and you need milo and bread for them to start life for the day, but you are not working and there is no income, that is a tragedy that can compel you.
Mr Speaker, with these words, I thank you for the opportunity.