By Stephen Odoi-Larbi
Members of parliament (MPs) yesterday paid glowing tribute to the country’s gallant soldiers who fought for peace and human rights in the world Wars I and II.
However, the MPs expressed worry over the continuous deteriorating welfare of the veteran soldiers, a situation, they said, needed immediate attention.
“One thing that we fail to note is that some of these veterans are now facing the brunt of their occupational hazards. These are former para-jumpers, who now have knee and stability problems and are wheelchair bound; there are also the bombardiers and artillery personnel who have hearing problems and permanent headaches,” recounts the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Ho Central, Capt. G. K. Nfojoh (rtd), in a statement read on the floor of the House to honour the veteran soldiers.
He argued that ever since the introduction of the Veterans Association of Ghana (VAG) lottery to cater for the veteran soldiers, the Association of Physically and Mentally Challenged, Association of the Aged, and the Association of the Orphans and Destitute Children, “nothing has happened in that respect.”
“Considering the meritorious service rendered by these gallant men and women to the nation, the meager pension pay given them is woefully inadequate to sustain them. It is important for the government to consider instituting a Special Fund for the Retired Officers and Ex-servicemen and Women, in order to address their plight,” noted the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Nkoranza North, Major Derek Oduro (rtd), in joint statement to honour the veterans.
Contributing to the statements, the NPP MP for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, said the welfare of the veteran soldiers should be of national concern, and however, called on the Ministry of Sports to organise matches so that the proceeds would be used in taking care of them (veterans).
The NDC MP for Ablekuma South, Frederic Fritz Baffour, also added his voice to the call for improving the welfare of the veteran soldiers, by calling on the government to put structures in place to help rectify the issue.
The NPP MP for Akropong, William Ofori Boafo, contributing the statement, said the occasion should be extended nationally, to enable all the people to participate.
Yesterday, November 11, 2010 was ‘Remembrance Day’. It is an occasion celebrated on November 11 each year to remember those who were killed in World Wars I and II.
Formerly known as Armistice Day, the day became effective at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, when the guns fell silent on the Western front in France and Belgium, thus ending four years of hostilities. Ghana, then the Gold Coast, being part of the British Empire, also sent her sons overseas to fight in this war, and some lost their lives in action.
The day also underscores the paramount need, not only to stop wars, but also to pursue the idea of peace at all costs and at all times, as the only condition for the survival of the human race.