Midnight curfew not a gov’t policy- Minister Harmon
GUYANA, GINA, Thursday, March 23, 2017
The issue surrounding the matter of the national curfew being lowered from 2:00 am to 12:00 midnight was today, clarified by Minister of State Joseph Harmon after being questioned by reporters on the government’s position on the issue.
The Minister was at the time speaking at a post-Cabinet press briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency.
Sections of the media had reported that Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan has signalled his intention to bring the curfew down from 2:00am to 12:00 midnight.
However, Minister Harmon stated that, “sometimes I believe that we take Ministers’ statement and swing it in our own way, and swing it sometimes for purposes that are not wholly in the public interest.”
Minister Harmon pointed out that Minister Ramjattan is on record stating that religious organisations had approached him about changing the opening hours of night spots from 2:00am from to 12:00 midnight. Minster Harmon made it clear that Minister Ramjattan was at the time stating the position of several religious bodies, and pointed out that Minister Ramjattan did not take a policy position on the matter.
“Cabinet never discussed this matter about removing from two (am) to 12 (midnight). The Minister is very clear on that, and I would like to clarify this so that we do not spin things in a way when (a) Minister makes these statements,” Minister Harmon explained.
The Minister further stated that, “he (Minister Ramjattan) never said that, that was his position or this was the government’s position, what he said, is these were representations made to him by religious organisations, and clearly it is not a position of policy that has been taken by the Government.”
The 2:00 am curfew, ever since its enactment has seen many sections of the business community calling for it to be revoked. However, Minister Ramjattan has stood firmly by his decision laying out a number of reasons why the policy will stand. These include the number of road accidents on the roadways, domestic violence and most recently, statistics which indicate that Guyana has the highest percentage of binge drinking in the Caribbean. The issue of binge drinking was made known at the launch of the 2016 Household Drug Survey report. The report showed that alcohol binge drinking is as high as 64.2 per cent in males and 46.3 percent in females.
By: Isaiah Braithwaite