Law to be tweaked for diplomats, senior govt officials to use sirens, flashing lights – Min Benn

Home Affairs Minister, Robeson Benn has announced that the legislation pertaining to the use of sirens and flashing lights will be tweaked to cater to appropriate users including senior government officials and members of the diplomatic corps.

Home Affairs Minister, Robeson Benn during the sitting of the National Assembly on Thursday

Currently, they are no laws that allow for those in these seniority positions to install and use these lights.
Benn was at the time responding to questions of the Shadow Home Affairs Minister, Geeta Chandan-Edmond, during the consideration of the estimates of expenditure during a sitting of the national assembly.
“It has become unfortunate that some stores in the city and place we are working at police lights are available for sale and people put them up and misuse them. They are a few senior officials and also diplomats where we have to have reciprocity in relation to the use of lights”, he said.
When questioned if Guyana’s Ambassadors and High Commissioners abroad, specifically in the United States of America, were allowed similar privileges, Benn could not give an answer but promised to investigate.
“All members of the diplomatic corps at that top level are required to have these lights both on the vehicle of the Ambassador and High Commissioner and perhaps on an escort vehicle….” Benn added.
He said that they must take into consideration the chain of traffic on the roads that affect people not being able to get to where they want in time and when there is a situation. However, he promised that this situation will be rectified soon.
In May last year, former Traffic Chief, Superintendent Ramesh Ashram warned that the use of sirens and flashing lights on security vehicles was not authorised to get through traffic or clear the roadway for right-of-way.
Ashram was at the time speaking to heads and representatives of private security firms at the Police Officers’ Training Centre in Georgetown during a meeting. The meeting was facilitated to identify issues and concerns and offer suggestions related to security, especially now that the Guyana Police Force (GPF) is encouraging collaboration through very structured and developmental approaches.
Ashram, in his address, made it clear that security vehicles were not categorised as “emergency vehicles”, adding that only vehicles from the GPF and Guyana Fire Service (GFS), and ambulances were considered as emergency transport vehicles.
As such, he said that the private security services would need to comply with road rules and regulations, and not have sirens or flashing lights on their vehicles. If caught with such, Ashram said, the revocation of the motor vehicle’s Certificate of Fitness would result.
Meanwhile, Benn, in his remarks, told representatives of security firms that he was also prepared to revoke the licence of any private security firm found in breach of the law.
Also in November 2022, President Dr. Irfan Ali called on Police Commissioner (ag) Clifton Hicken to enforce a clampdown against the unauthorised use of blue and red lights and sirens.
This included government agencies, several public officials, and also security companies that have abused the use of the lights and sirens.
The blue and red lights and sirens are to be used by police vehicles and other law enforcement personnel, but persons have been buying and using them to avoid traffic.