GEORGETOWN, Guyana, March 23, 2017 (CMC) — The issue, surrounding the matter of the national curfew being lowered from 2:00 am to 12:00 midnight, was clarified by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, as he was questioned by reporters on the government’s position on the issue on Thursday morning.
During a post-Cabinet press briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency, Harmon said “sometimes I believe that we take (a) Ministers’ statement and swing it in our own way, and swing it sometimes for purposes that are not wholly in the public interest.”
His statement was in response to media reports that Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, has signalled his intention to bring the curfew down from 2:00am to 12:00 midnight.
However, Harmon pointed out that Ramjattan is on record, stating that religious organisations had approached him about changing the opening hours of night spots from 2:00am from to 12:00 midnight.
Harmon made it clear that the Minister of Public Security was, at the time, stating the position of several religious bodies, and pointed out that he did not take a policy position on the matter.
“Cabinet never discussed this matter about removing from two (am) to 12 (midnight). The Minister is very clear on that, and I would like to clarify this so that we do not spin things in a way, when (a) Minister makes these statements,” Harmon explained.
The Minister further stated that, “he (Minister Ramjattan) never said that, that was his position or this was the government’s position, what he said, is these were representations made to him by religious organisations, and clearly it is not a position of policy that has been taken by the government.”
The 2:00 am curfew, ever since its enactment has seen many sections of the business community calling for it to be revoked.
However, Ramjattan listed the reasons as to the number of reasons why the policy will stand.
These include the number of road accidents on the roadways, domestic violence and, most recently, statistics which indicate that Guyana has the highest percentage of binge drinking in the Caribbean.
The issue of binge drinking was made known at the launch of the 2016 Household Drug Survey report. The report showed that alcohol binge drinking is as high as 64.2 per cent in males and 46.3 percent in females.