By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – When Public Security Minister and Vice President Khemraj Ramjattan announced that the APNU+AFC government will be looking to enforce the 2:00AM cut off time for nightclubs, bars and restaurants, it sent a shockwave throughout Guyana and in particular the youths, most of whom are against it.
Despite the criticisms and negative reviews from stakeholders, Ramjattan on Friday, July 03 made it clear that the law would be enforced beginning Saturday, July 04.
On social media and in the general public, a spirited debate ensued with persons advocating for the advancement of the policy and others downright rejecting it, stating that it is an infringement on their fundamental rights.
In the wee hours of Sunday morning, iNews visited some of Guyana’s more popular late night hang out spots, some of which were still opened for business, defying the 2AM rule, while others adhered to it.
Along Sheriff Street, both Clubs Monaco and Liquid Vibe were closed with not a person in sight, but it was not the same for Buddy’s and a Chinese restaurant nearby.
Both entities were opened, with patrons moving in and out of the premises. At the Chinese Restaurant, a small group had gathered and was playing music while imbibing in alcohol.
In Station Street Kitty, Liquid Love was closed in time as stipulated in its license but just next door at Seeta’s Bar the party was raging on in full swing.
The club’s opening was accompanied by its customary traffic build up and crowds in the street; it took place despite police officers being just a stone’s throw away on Vlissengen Road.
Though Gravity Lounge’s owner had publicly raised strong objections to the enforcement of the law, the club closed off its operations promptly, just minutes before the 2:00AM hour.
Baroombar was also one of the night spots that remained open pass the legal limits, along with Jameel’s Bar on the East Coast of Demerara.
Palm Court on Main Street was also closed in accordance with the law.’
The Guyanese public still has a mixed view on the subject. On www.inewsguyana.com website persons have been commenting either to show support or reject the enforcement of the “archaic” law.
“While I am not in agreement with the curfew, I can see the unmentioned logic behind it all. When one wants to squeeze toothpaste from its container, you squeeze the bottom… hard. The entertainment business in Guyana is part and parcel of a number of illegitimate and illegal businesses and operations; while some try to keep things above board, a number of hits have originated from among the ‘monied’ members of this section of our business community,” one commentator stated.
However, another person stated that “the night club owners are concerned about one thing only; that is to milk their patrons of their cash without regards how they got it. They have no policy with regards to responsible drinking. They will sell, sell, sell as long as the profits keep soaring…many acts of violence are triggered during or after binge drinking in the presence of other patrons but no one would volunteer to give evidence as to exactly what transpired when there is an investigation.”
“How is Night clubs being opened late directly linked to the crime situation happening presently? Last time I checked most criminal activities such as robberies and murders happen in broad day light. Now I am all for change but positive change and I need to see the data which supports the minister’s reasoning behind this step. Minister you can’t just say these things and not show proof. Show me the proof and I’ll be 100% with you. Now you also say that people need to spend their money more wisely and with this i also agree, but again this is not your decision to make. However someone chooses to spend what they earn is entirely up to them. Sir don’t go down this dictatorship road, show us the data/ proof behind your reasoning,” said another person.
On Facebook, social activist Ferlin Pedro stated “This proposed law which is actually the law but has not been enforced, is a regulatory condition on club operations to halt at a specific time. That means you are still free to drink and waste yourself away anywhere else you want, for instance, on the roadways or at the seawall. Your freedom to get drunk till sunrise is still intact.”