Should persons be charged for attempting suicide? Ramjattan mulls decriminalizing the act


By Leroy Smith

antidepressants_suicide[] – Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan has touted the decriminalization of “attempted suicide” as he pushes for a discussion on the reforming and not jail time for those persons who attempt to take their own lives.

Ramjattan made the comments while addressing a police forum where the Police Force launched an inter-agency Suicide Prevention Help Line.

“So I want to urge a debate on the decriminalization of attempted suicide in our country; it will be a useful debate, it might carry the line of the most recent being weather the 2’ 0 clock curfew will stop crime or not. I suppose this is another matter that will create some controversy but it is a necessary controversy in my opinion and there are a lot support points for the decriminalization of suicide. People who survive need to be rehabilitated not imprisoned,” Ramjattan told the gathering.

Suicide is punishable under Chapter 801 Section 96 of the Criminal Offences Act, which states that “Everyone who attempts to commit suicide shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and liable to imprisonment for two years.”

Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan.
Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan.

Over the years, persons have been charged after surviving attempts on their own life and according to Ramjattan, the decriminalization could help to solve the whole issue of suicide in a more holistic manner and give persons an opportunity to reform themselves through counseling.

He is convinced that the move will be a good one and has many grounds of support including the fact that several countries around the globe would have already decriminalized the act of attempted suicide.



  1. When people go to bed and die or hit by a car or a kill by a bandit or even Walter Rodney case who do you charge. if you take your life it is your life not someones
    else life some people are not well in the head and can’t take no more of this good
    Life,they just want to see the Maker.

  2. It makes more sense to provide opportunities for MANDATORY counselling to anyone who has attempted suicide or at risk of attempting suicide rather than imprisoning the individual. Hence, imprisoning may increase the suffering or stress which would likely push the person to repeat the attempt to commit suicide. Counselling MAY give the individual the opportunity to have a different perspective of live.

  3. It is time for Guyana to wake up and wise up. We are looking at the easy way out to put people in prisons but we need to look at what is driving people to suicide and ways in which we can help them. We need train professionals to work with these people and Helen them to re integrate into society. Counselling is very good and once it’s done well in a professional manner it will help a lot of people. A lot of people suffers from depression but a vas section of people don’t even know what it is and not even doctors will help so it would be good if the government can do something to help people in this situation.

  4. Charging those who attempt committing suicide will force those distraught souls to do a complete job of ending their lives. Survivors should be rehabilitated.

  5. I agree that people need to be rehabilitated and not imprisoned if they survive Suicidal people are crying for help they are depressed they need counselling and to be monitored. Putting them in prison will not solve their problem. Will only make matters worse.


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