Punitive measures being considered to ensure full adherence of COVID-19 protocols – AG
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Mohabir Anil Nandlall has said more coercive and punitive measures could be implemented to ensure full compliance by citizens to the COVID-19 guidelines instituted by the Government.
“We have a pandemic of gigantic proportions on our hands that unfortunately is getting bigger. Hopefully, it does not get to the stage where it is beyond our control, but unless it is harnessed, unless it is taken a grip of, it can quickly reach there and we can move swiftly into a disaster zone in this country,” AG Nandlall emphasised.
The Attorney General was at the time appearing on the National Communication Network (NCN) programme, Government in Focus, on Friday. He noted that the current guidelines have to be reviewed and modified, to ensure they are more disciplinary to ensure the enforcement component is strong.
To this end, he noted that mask-wearing must be mandatory, and the fines attached to the violation of the guidelines will also have to be reviewed.
The current measures which have been implemented (from August 16-31), among other things, extend the curfew from 9 pm – 5 am in all regions; except Regions Seven, Eight and Nine. These regions have a curfew from 6 pm – 6 am. Currently, the fine for breaching these measures is $3000’ which “has not had any impact” the AG posited.
“You have to make it [the fines] higher and you have to involve both the occupier and the occupants of a business. So, let us say you have a business and you are opening within the hours permitted, and there is a person there without a mask, we charge the proprietor and the occupier of the premises or the customer, or the patron,” he explained.
If this is not done, the AG Nandlall said, then Guyana will have no other choice but to go on complete lockdown. He revealed that the administration is currently consulting with other stakeholders on the issue of a total shutdown of the country.
“I do not know if we have reached the stage of a total lockdown but … people must understand… this pandemic is hitting you from every sector, from every conceivable angle, you can’t earn, you can’t work and then you get sick it is extraordinarily difficult to function in these kinds of dynamics so we have to adjust those measures.”
The Attorney General noted that “the government is pursuing every avenue available to get more medical supplies into the country” to address the increase in numbers of persons testing positive for COVID-19.
His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana has emphasised that addressing the COVID-19 pandemic remains a priority for the PPP/C Administration.
The Ministry of Health along with the National Taskforce has been mandated with this responsibility for which the Attorney General Chambers plays a role.