[www.inewsguyana.com] – In his first public statement since his decision to enforce an archaic law to close down bars and nightclubs at 2:00hrs, Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan has explained the reason behind it.
A statement issued on Wednesday, July 29, Ramjattan said he took into account the negative effects of alcohol consumption on crime and violence, including domestic violence; traffic accidents; the productive capacities of the population, especially the young along with other attendant circumstances, including the adverse effects of the proliferation of noise nuisance, a decision was taken to enforce the law.
According to Ramjattan, “it is in the best interest of the country to enforce the existing laws which have mandated that these entertainment facilities must close at 2:00 am. This move by the Ministry has gained wide support by women’s groups and the Private Sector Commission, among other organizations. It should also be noted that such legal restrictions are not uncommon in other countries.”
But Ramjattan’s decision was met with much resistance from the entertainment industry, which pointed out the negative impact it has on business.
The 2:00am closing time is provided for in the Music and Dancing Licenses (Amendment) Act Chapter 23:03, Act #12 of 1982, which states at section 9 that:
“A place, so kept or used, although so licensed as aforesaid, shall not be opened for any of the purposes afore said except on the days and between the hours stated on the licence:
Provided that the holder of a first class hotel licence may keep open the licensed premises for the purpose of dancing, singing, music or other public entertainment once in every week until the hour of two of the clock in the morning except on any Sunday.”
“Place” as used in Section 9 means “house, room, garden, or other place” and will cover bars, clubs and restaurants -also inclusive of open spaces used for dances and entertainment purposes.”
The Public Security Minister noted that this law is being enforced in the interest of citizens’ security and safety with the aim of suppressing criminal and other offences which typically occur after 2:00am.