By Ramona Luthi
Even as various members of the business community are continuing their calls to have the 2am curfew relaxed for night spots, the Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan suggested that the curfew actually be brought forward by two hours.
Ramjattan made this suggestion yesterday, during the Ministry of Social Cohesion’s launch of their Strategic Plan at the Marriott Hotel.
According to the Public Security Minister, this recommendation has the support of members of the religious community and other stakeholder groups that make up part of the social cohesion committee.
“A lot of the members here of this cohesion committee, Hindus, Muslims, Christians with the church movement and a lot of women want that curfew. As a matter of fact, they want to bring it forward to 12 o’clock. We have to understand that Guyana is an extraordinarily heavy drinking society,” he said.
Ramjattan further stated that a recent household report on alcohol and illicit drug use showed that Guyana has the largest binge drinking culture in the Caribbean.
“…and that has implications. Lots of traffic accidents Saturday and Friday afternoons, evenings and morning times, domestic violence and also, a lot of monies being misspent by people who would have ordinarily taken care of their children and so on, and of course the community. Then also, a lot of people who are working late into the nights, 2, 3 o’clock in the morning. Now, why should they be working so late? These people that work in the bars and the restaurants…” he asserted to media operatives.
The Minister pointed out that he will not argue for any extension of the curfew that bar owners have been calling for, noting that the country will pay a greater price.
Presently, bars, night clubs and restaurants across Guyana are forced to close up at 2am as was enforced by Minister Ramjattan in 2015.
In the past, the very Minister had threatened to revoke or suspend the licenses of businesses which do not comply with the enforcement.