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General News of Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Source: GNA

Speaker assures Fifth Parliament of diligence

Accra, Jan. 7, GNA - Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo, Speaker of the Fifth Parliament, on Wednesday urged members of the new Parliament to work together in unity to make just laws that would be beneficial to nation-building.

She said as representatives of the whole of Ghana, they should

cooperate and aim to build a better Ghana. Justice Bamford-Addo was giving her maiden address in

Parliament shortly after being sworn-in as Speaker by Justice

Georgina Wood, Chief Justice. The retired Supreme Court judge made history as the first woman

to assume the high office of the Speaker of Parliament. She thanked members of the House for endorsing her candidature

and expressed the hope that she could rely on them to steer the

affairs of Parliament during her tenure. She said she hoped to bring her public life experiences to bear on

her duties in the House. "I hope to bring my experiences in public life to my new role in

the discharge of my duties in line with the constitution. with

humility, fairness and maturity." She paid tribute to former Speakers of the House, and mentioned

in particular Mr Ebenezer Sekyi Hughes, the immediate past Speaker. Earlier, after being elected unopposed, Mr Alban Bagbin, who led

the Majority NDC side, commended the Speaker for making herself

available to serve in the position. Mr Bagbin said by the election of a female Speaker, Ghanaians

were waking up to the realities of gender equality and the democratic

principles of fairness and justice, including an all-inclusiveness

agenda at the top. He said it was significant that women were now making gains with

the Executive arm of government having men and the two separate

arms of governance being headed by women. He assured the Speaker of the cooperation of both sides of the

House, saying "we sincerely assure you of cooperation..We are

serious minded people and committed. and together we would

move this nation forward. Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, leading the NPP Minority side, said

the Speaker had a distinguished career to bring to bear on work in

the House. He touched on the need for truth in all transactions in the House

and said the minority side was ready to cooperate and work with the

Speaker. Mr Kyei-Mensah Bonsu said the minority must be allowed to

have their say and urged the Speaker to be guided at all times by her

conscience, the Standing Orders of Parliament and the Constitution.