Ramjattan supports raising age limit of purchasing alcohol to 21

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 …says it is a disease in Guyana

By Ramona Luthi

Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan on Friday asserted that he supports raising the legal age limit for persons purchasing alcohol to twenty one, and is prepared to work with the relevant Ministries to fight against alcoholism in Guyana, while describing it as a “disease.”

Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan

“Yes, that, in my view, I’ll certainly support that,” he told media operatives when he was posed with the question at the Police Training Centre, earlier today.

Ramjattan also posited that he is aware that this will bring about much disagreement from young adults, but maintained that he is open to working along with other Ministers within Government to enforce alcohol regulations.

“…of course you are going to get a lot of Guyanese who are 18 year olds saying ‘we must be free to choose’, ‘we must be free because we are adults at 18’, ‘why could we vote and we can’t have a drink?’ And you’ll have a lot of arguments but look, I am willing to work along with the Minister of Culture and Sport, and Minister of Health and Minister of Education and all the other relevant ministers… It [Alcohol] is a disease in this country.”

The Minister explained to media operatives his belief that alcohol abuse is a major problem in Guyana as has led to many disastrous outcomes.

“Alcoholism is a big problem in Guyana and it has led to consequential challenges- bad driving, which has resulted in deaths and so many other things, loss of limbs and damaged property. It has also led to tremendous domestic violence and then of course that has other consequential issues, like the children not being brought up properly, daddy beating up mommy and a number of things, [children] not being well [nourished] because the money goes towards liquor rather than proper food and all that so we do see the consequences of alcoholism, direct and indirect and we have a lot of laws,” he said.

The laws, he emphasised are already in the system but need to be enforced so as to regulate alcohol consumption in Guyana.

“We can always advance it even further as Mr Norton might propose but we do have a number of regulations. What we gotta do is now enforce those regulations.”

Recently, Minister of Culture Youth and Sport, Dr George Norton suggested that an ‘Alcohol Control Bill’ could be introduced in Parliament as he called for both the ages of purchasing and consumption to be increased.

In the past few months, several road accidents –which have been blamed on the excessive use of alcohol consumption-, have seen many pedestrians and car occupants losing their lives.

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