GEORGETOWN, Guyana, March 27, 2020 (CMC) – Guyana’s disputed coalition government warned, yesterday, it would move to revoke licences of bar owners and other businesses, if they continue to flout regulations, aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan, said that a number of business places were ignoring the public health advisories that limit the number of patrons, to reduce the transmission of the virus.
Guyana is one of three Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to have registered at least one death, linked to COVID-19.
Ramjattan said that “hard decisions” will have to be taken, to ensure that persons are heeding all the necessary precautions to reduce the spread of the virus.
“In Guyana, at the markets, restaurants and bars, and so many places, people are still in clusters…You go to some places and people are still drinking at the bars…We have given advisories, yet people are not listening to us, there is this cavalier attitude.
“I have to make some hard decisions, and ensure that the Guyana Police Force come with their vehicles, and warn them to disburse; we will have to revoke the licenses of bar owners,” he threatened.
The Public Security Minister said, it is imperative that the advisories are heeded and, if need be, they may have to implement certain penalties, for those, who choose to ignore these health safety measures.
He warned that Guyana, like many other small developing countries, cannot deal with a massive outbreak of the virus that has been blamed for the deaths of more than 18,000 people, worldwide, to date.
“We do not have the first-hand, health systems, like Italy, England and China, to deal with this issue. So, we have to be very careful… in Guyana, it is vitally important that we practice social-distancing during this time, to avoid catching or infecting others, if we have it. That is the minimum we are asking people.”
Guyana has also closed its borders, amid other measures, to prevent the spread of the virus that has killed one, and has four people in quarantine.
The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) announced a waiver of Value Added Tax, Duties and Excise Tax on all medical supplies, associated with the testing, prevention and treatment of the virus.
In a statement, the GRA said the waiver will remain in effect, until June 30.