Amended legislation to curb road deaths

– to be tabled in National Assembly on Thursday

Government will be tabling amendments to several bills in the National Assembly on Thursday, July 21, 2022, in an effort to curb road fatalities.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Mohabir Anil Nandlall, SC, said amendments will be made to the Intoxicating Liquor Licencing Act, and Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act.

The amendments are aimed at fostering a cultural change, and behavioural pattern in the way people use the roadways.

Speeding and driving under the influence remain the main causes of road accidents and fatalities in Guyana.

Under the Intoxicating Liquor Licencing (Amendment) Bill 2022, the government will impose a slew of obligations on the holders of liquor licences.

President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, in March 2022, said government was examining the implementation of a burden-sharing system to curb drinking and driving.

The Attorney General said under the Act, they are “not to sell liquor to an intoxicated person, to request ID cards, so that you don’t sell to an underaged person…”

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Mohabir Anil Nandlall SC

The Attorney General noted too, that persons from the establishment must ensure an intoxicated driver is accompanied by a designated driver at all times. He said that should the intoxicated driver leave the premise without a designated driver; the owner of the establishment is required to inform the nearest police station.

Announcements are also to be made at regular intervals regarding drunken driving, the AG stated. He related that signs must also be displayed prominently at businesses, advising against drinking and driving.

Failure to comply with the obligations will see penalties being instituted against the holder of the liquor licences. Penalties are extended to the Dancing and Music Licences Act, which allows for the granting of temporary licences by the Guyana Police Force for the hosting of events such as bar-be-ques and other fundraisers.

Under the Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Act, the amendment could see drunk drivers charged with “motor manslaughter,” the Attorney General relayed.

The Minister said, “suspension of driver’s licence will follow upon a first conviction for a period, and upon a second conviction, the court has the power to permanently disqualify you. Then there is a regime that speaks to suspension if you are a second offender from the time the charge is instituted.”

Other bills to be tabled in the National Assembly include the Bail Bill and the Restorative Justice Bill.

Since taking office, government has had an aggressive legislative agenda with the introduction of new bills, and amendments in keeping with Guyana’s growing economy.

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