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Collision in parliament over Ghana "cocaine era" perception

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The Majority and the Minority on Wednesday collided over whose era Ghana was adjudged “cocaine coast” to conclude debate on the State of the Nation Address.

Mr. Cletus Apul Avoka, Majority Leader, who sparked the provocation was giving the final submission to thank the president on the State of the Nation Address delivered February 25, 2010 by the President.

He stated that Ghana under President John Evans Atta Mills was gradually un-tagging herself of being notorious for drug trade.

He said under the National Democratic Congress (NDC), armed robbery had been brought to the minimum.

Mr. Avoka said when he was the Interior Minister he attended a conference in Cape Verde in 2008 where Ghana was tagged as a country engaged in drugs such as cocaine.

This brought Mr. Ambrose Dery, Deputy Minority Leader, to his feet challenging the Majority Leader to produce evidence to his claim.

Mr. Avoka pulled out a document to which he read to the House but the Minority still dissatisfied pursued the matter that the document be laid before the house.

The Speaker Mrs. Joyce Bamford-Addo, said there was no specific rule in the Standing Orders to be used to deal with the issue especially in the laying of the paper.

She said however that the rule governing the debate was that no one should make statements without substantiating it and wondered why the Minority still persisted in the pursuance of the matter.

Prof. Mike Oquaye, Second Deputy Speaker said Mr. Avoka must lay the paper before the House adding, “this is a serious matter, he who alleges must establish.”

Mr. Dery pursued the matter when he argued that the document was someone’s perception and must not be recognized as factual in dealing with the matter.

Mr Avoka said when Papa Owusu Ankoma quoted the World Street Journal to establish that doing business in Ghana was expensive under the NDC government and the Majority established same argument against it, the Minority contended that the paper was a respected one all over the world and that its comments were factual.

He said since the House mostly thrived on precedents therefore there must be uniformity in precedents, adding that if in their (Minority) case, it was applicable, it must be must also be applicable in this case too.

The Minority devised another strategy forcing Mr. Avoka to withdraw both the document and the statement he made.

They had made sure that unless that was done, the House could not adjourn.

Source: GNA

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