By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Tourism Minister Kathy Hughes has revealed that her Ministry is currently in the process of collecting data on a the 2:00AM night spot close off time being enforced by Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjatan.
Commonly referred to as “Ramjattan’s Decree”, the enforcement of the law has attracted a slew of comments in recent months with some being against it, while others have shown some support.
When asked about the policy on Thursday, given that the Ministry is pushing an entertainment tourism agenda, Hughes confirmed that she is in consultation with stakeholders.
“What we are doing right now is collecting some very interesting information. I would say within another two weeks we would be able to really make an analysis of what the effects are,” said Hughes.
The Minister revealed that the consultations so far have led her to discussions with night club proprietors and individuals within civil society.
“I think that in fairness to Minister Ramjattan, he has explained the reason why it was implemented…it’s not that this is unusual, it was implemented to curb crime,” she stated.
The Minister does not believe that there is a simple solution to the issue at hand but one can be found by properly evaluating it.
“I agree with you, there is no question it certainly would have created a loss of income to some extent,” said Hughes.
Upon assuming office some four months ago, Ramjattan implemented the 2AM policy as a means of tackling the issue of crime facing the nation, hoping it would serve as a deterrent; however his decision was met with much resistance from the business community, who complained about loss of revenue.
At a post cabinet media briefing on Friday, August 28, Ramjattan told reporters that if he decides to change his mind, it would be to place the curfew for bars and nightclubs at 12 midnight, which is in accordance with the law.
He maintains that there is a correlation between heavy drinking at 2AM and after as it relates to violent crimes and domestic violence, noting that the Ministry of Public Security has the statistics to prove it.
“It is very much correlated; heavy drinking with violence, abuse of women and so on and I am not going to change that. The law is…it must be at 12’ O clock. It’s only the high ranking hotels and so on that can go until 2 in the morning…And if there’s any change that I’m going to make quite frankly, this administration, well at least my ministerialship would like to bring it forward to 12’o clock,” Ramjattan told the news conference.