Minister's Absence In Parliament Causes Sttir

Controversy over absent Minister of Environment, Science and Technology on Thursday blighted parliamentary sitting and dragged the House to an early adjournment. Ms Sherry Aryitey was scheduled to answer one urgent question and four other questions but was said to be on a trip outside the country. Mr Paul Okoh, NPP member for Asutifi North who filed the question about nine months ago, chided the business committee for not taking the business of the House seriously. He said this question had been rescheduled several times and as an urgent question, it had lost its urgency and described the action of the executive as total disregard to parliament. Mr Okoh wanted to know whether those adversely affected by the cyanide spillage from the Newmont Ghana Limited’s operations benefited from the payment of the seven million Ghana cedis compensation paid. Mrs Catherine Afeku, NPP member for Evalue–Gwira, said there was a convention to use deputy ministers to stand in for their minister when the need arises and wondered why the minister did not arrange for her deputy to answer the questions on her behalf. Mr Cletus Avoka, the Majority Leader, said leadership appreciate the concerns of members adding that the minister in question was known to be regular in parliament any time she was asked to do so and said her absence was regrettable. Papa Owusu-Ankomah, NPP member for Sekondi, said in this politically charged atmosphere government must be focused and take right priority options for the good of the country. Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah, Minority Chief Whip, said the Leader of the Government Business must endeavour to share information of this nature early enough for the necessary measures to be taken before it would come to the plenary.