[www.inewsguyana.com] – Former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall says that Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan lacks the authority to enforce an antiquated law which stipulates that bars, restaurants and night clubs should be closed by 2:00AM.
The enforcement of the law came into play at the weekend and while some proprietors heeded warnings and stopped their operations at the prescribed time, others ignored it.
According to Nandlall, the granting of licenses for the sale of intoxicating liquor, the regulation of such sale and the control of licensed premises, are largely governed by The Intoxicating Liquor Licenses Act and The Licensed Premises Act. Most of these licenses are granted by the Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority.
“The opening and closing hours of those licensed premises are fixed by law in the legislation. There is reference in both Acts to a “Minister”. However “Minister” is not defined. But it is beyond doubt that these Acts are administered by the Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority. The subject minister of the Guyana Revenue Authority is the Minister of Finance not the Minister of Public Security, hitherto Minister of Home Affairs,” said Nandlall.
He pointed out too that careful examination of the gazette under the Public Security Minister shows that the administration of the Intoxicating Liquor Licenses Act and The Licensed Premises Act are not among his responsibilities.
“So from whence is Mr. Ramjattan deriving his authority to impose this curfew? The curfew itself seems to be in contravention of the hours of opening and closing which are fixed by the law. As far as I am aware, these have not been changed by way of any amendment, regulation or order issued by the relevant subject minister. So it would appear that not only is Mr Ramjattan acting ultra vires his authority, but he may be violating the relevant law,” the Former AG stated.