Police to crack down on firecrackers

…amid concerns for animals by Veterinary Board

The Guyana Police Force will be clamping down on the sale of firecrackers and other explosives during the holiday season, in order to safeguard animals and keep people safe.
Divisional Commander of Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Senior Superintendent Errol Watts gave this reassurance on Monday, after the Guyana Veterinary Board highlighted its concerns during a panel discussion on the impact of pyrotechnics on animals.
Other involved stakeholders included the Guyana Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission (GWCMC), the Bar Association of Guyana, the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) and the Guyana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA).

Region Three Commander Errol Watts

“The Guyana Police Force will ensure that we robustly enforce all laws with respect to the use of squibs and firecrackers around this time, so that our animals and people can be safer throughout this holiday period and beyond. Rest assured, I’m going to brief my Commissioner and we’re going to ensure that we circulate nationally, instructions for this effort to be intensified so as to bring peace and tranquility to our animals and safety to our people,” said the Commander.
The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) is the only agency authorised to import firecrackers and other explosives. The sale and purchase of such explosives are illegal under the Customs Act amended by Act No 1 of 2005.
The Commander advocated for persons to desist from using these devices, in light of the dangers that can cause injuries to humans as well. According to him, the GPF is in a “campaign mode” to search businesses and marketplaces to intercept and prosecute persons. Members of the public were asked to report any such instances, via the Police hotline, WhatsApp groups or through numbers posted online.
During the panel discussion, several stakeholders documented their stark experiences in handling animals that were severely affected by the deafening sounds of firecrackers.
Troy Crawford of the Guyana Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission noted that the Guyana Zoological Park is located centrally where fireworks are used, and it is a significant issue that affects animals, especially since they are caged.
“The firecrackers have always been an issue. Those animals being confined and central in the city, the firecrackers in that area are much loud, especially after D’Urban Park was established and they were using there as the celebration for the anniversaries. Sometimes you’d find deaths after the night or whatever events would use these firecrackers. You find a lot of bruised animals because they hit themselves when the run into walls,” he shared.
He added. “You hear them crying if you stay late enough. It’s really gruelling. From the Commission’s standpoint, we get a lot of complaints and we find these animals being abandoned after these events, mostly birds and having animals in captivity that are being fostered as well, we see first-hand, they react.”

Guyana Veterinary Board Chairman, Dr Nardeo Bassoodeo

Veterinarian and Chairman of the Guyana Veterinary Board, Dr Nardeo Bassoodeo also detailed, “Last year, a couple of animals tried to jump over a gate and fence with razor wires. Those animals had to be euthanised and it was caused by people in the neighbourhood using these devices in an irresponsible manner. So, a lot more has to be done especially from enforcement”.
Attorney-at-Law Teni Housty suggested that the best way of discharging fireworks safely is by securing a permit from the relevant authorities, which would assess the impact before approval.
Housty remarked, “If you want to intend to use any types of explosives or firecrackers over this particular time, ask for a permit. Part of the permission conditions would be an assessment of the impact on all the persons in the immediate environment, the types of fireworks you want to use and all of those things so you can have conditions associated with the grant of the permit. There are regulations” (G12)