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Parliament Debates The Word "Shame"
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The word 'shame' on Tuesday took the centre-stage in Parliament when Members of Parliament from both the Majority and Minority tirelessly debated on whether the use of the word was Parliamentary or otherwise.

It all began, when Mr. Charles Hodogbey, Member for North Tongu, on a point of order stated that the NPP administration had misapplied funds meant for United Nations Peace-Keeping programmes in reaction to Mr. William Ofori Boafo, Member for Akropong's call for sufficient budgetary allocation for Peace Keeping.

Mr. Albert Kan Dapaah, who was then the Minister for Defence, called for a proof that the said monies were misapplied. He also prayed the Speaker to give Mr. Hodogbey the option to withdraw the statement since he could not substantiate it. Subsequently, the Speaker of Parliament, Mrs. Joyce Bamford asked Mr.Hodogbey to withdraw the statement after which the Minority shouted in unionism "SHAME"

Mr. Alban Bagbin then drew the attention of the Speaker that during the time of late Peter Ala Adjetey as the Speaker of the house, the use of the word was deemed unparliamentary and wondered if that was still not binding. He argued that the continuous use of the word shame would in future discourage members from withdrawing statements they make if even they were found to be unfounded in the house.

Mr.Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, stated that although it was some years ago regarded unparliamentary, the consistent and persistent use and withdrawal of statements by Mr. Hodogbey warranted the use of the word 'shame' and should be applied as such. Professor Mike Ocquaye, Second Deputy Speaker, said the use of the word 'shame' would rather dissuade members from making unfounded statements and they would be embarrassed anytime they made statements that could not be substantiated.

Papa Owusu Ankomah, Member for Sekondi appealed to members to respect the tenets of the standing orders of the house in order to avoid frequent withdrawal of statements on the floor of Parliament. He said the word 'shame' could create negative repercussions in the house as it could instigate members to use insulting, abusive and offensive language.

Consequently, the Speaker ruled that the use of 'shame' would discourage members from making unguided statements in the house and should therefore be accepted as 'parliamentary' after which members from both sides shouted the word with a stretched syllable: "Shaaaame"

Source: GNA

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