2am curfew not enforced even-handedly


first_img…some businesses complain of double standardPublic Security Minister Khemraj RamjattanMembers of the Private Sector have accused ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) of unfairly administering the 2am curfew which enforces a legal stipulation that bars, night clubs and other places of entertainment must close off by 02:00h.This concern was highlighted during a Police press conference at the Force’s headquarters in Eve Leary, where Junior Vice President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Timothy Tucker questioned the Police’s rationale when undertaking measures to ensure that the curfew is enforced. He added that many GCCI members feel that there is a double standard where enforcement is concerned.“The observation of some of the members is that it’s not being done across the board; they feel there’s a double standard – that their bars are being shut down while others are not being shut down just outside of Georgetown,” Tucker revealed.A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara) Commander Marlon Chapman who has responsibility for the Georgetown area, related that the curfew is an ‘across the board’ stipulation. Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine also responded to the complaints, cautioning that the 2AM curfew, for the moment, remains intact. Ramnarine, however, acknowledged receipt of the “concerns” raised over the conduct of Police in terms of “consistency” when administering the curfew.Acting Top Cop, David RamnarineThe acting Top Cop further informed Private Sector operatives that the curfew does not give business operators the right to continue to 2AM if there is a report of noise nuisance, even if that report is made at 23:00h. The acting Commissioner stressed that once there is no complaint of noise nuisance, traffic congestion or crime committed at the establishment, nights spots can operate until the cut off time.“We have asked the Divisional Commanders to ensure that this is enforced and it’s not a case where we are flexible with people and we are arbitrarily or unilaterally flouting an order of the Minister,” Ramnarine expressed.The Police were also told that some night spot operators are under the impression that the curfew is for Georgetown only but the Minister’s order was that all such operations must close by 02:00h. Public relations veteran Christopher “Kit” Nascimento identified a few night spots which are open beyond hours and he called on senior Police ranks to ensure that the law is evenly distributed.There has been much criticism as well as some praise for Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan’s decision in July 2015 to enforce the curfew that was already on the law books. In March, he even suggested that the curfew could be brought forward to as early as midnight, based on his interactions with some stakeholder groups.In the past, the Minister threatened to revoke or suspend the licences of businesses which did not comply with the enforcement. However, concessions were given at certain intervals for night establishments to operate at later hours, but this was only for holiday periods, especially during December. Minister Ramjattan has argued that the curfew was part of his crime-fighting strategy.Of recent, Police conduct has come in for scrutiny and in late October reports surfaced that a Police Corporal was being investigated for allegedly taking a $1 million bribe from a businessman to raid a fellow strip club. (Shemuel Fanfair)last_img

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