Amid an active countrywide campaign to crack down on noise nuisance, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan has now re-enforced the ‘2am curfew’ for nightspots and other places of entertainment.
In a statement on Thursday, the Public Security Ministry sought to “put into proper perspective” this recent decision of the Minister.
It was explained that after taking into account the effects of alcohol consumption on crime and violence – including domestic violence, traffic accidents, the unproductive capacities of the population the day after along with other attendant circumstances such as the adverse effects of the proliferation of noise nuisance – Minister Ramjattan has determined that “it is in the best interest of the country to enforce the existing laws which have mandated that these entertainment facilities
to be closed at 02:00h.”
This move, according to the Ministry, has gained support from women’s groups, religious groups and a number of other organisations. It added too that such legal restrictions are not uncommon in other countries.
In fact, the statement outlined that the ‘2am closing time’ is provided for in the Music and Dancing Licences (Amendment), Act Chapter 23:03, Act #12 of 1982.
That Act states at section 9 that: “A place, so kept or used, although so licensed as aforesaid, shall not be opened for any of the purposes afore said except on the days and between the hours stated on the licence: Provided that the holder of a first-class hotel licence may keep open the licensed premises for the purpose of dancing, singing, music or other public entertainment once in every week until the hour of two of the clock in the morning except on any Sunday.”
“Place” as used in Section 9 means “house, room, garden, or other place” and
covers bars, clubs and restaurants – as well as open spaces used for dances and entertainment purposes.
“This law is being enforced in the interest of citizens’ security and safety with the aim of suppressing criminal and other offences,” the missive from the Ministry stated while urging full public support in this process.
Only last week, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) President Deodat Indar, during an interview with Guyana Times reminded of the effects the initial enforcement of the 2am curfew had.
“The 2am curfew had an impact on businesses and some of them had to close down,” he stated.
Moreover, he raised the concern that some businesses were targeted while others were left to operate past the curfew time.
“My compliant to the Police at that time [when the 2am curfew was enforced] is that they were implementing the law or enforcing the law unevenly. Some people were being targeted and closing down at that time while some were getting off with it,” the GCCI President posited.
Indar was at the time commenting on the ongoing noise nuisance campaign. As part of a training exercise, which some 50 Police ranks underwent, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) together with the Guyana Police Force carried out an exercise last Thursday on Station Street, Kitty, where they tested the noise level at several popular nightspots using decibel meters.
During that exercise, a few prominent businesses were left with no choice but to cease operations until the next day. The GCCI President insisted that if these enterprises were operating for lesser hours, it could have an impact on their income.
Meanwhile, during an address to those 50 ranks, Minister Ramjattan had stated that tough action needed to be taken against bars and persons who are responsible for noise nuisances. He went on to suggest much more effective measures such as seizing equipment, revoking business licences, and increasing fines to curb this societal scourge.
“We want to take the profit out of this illegal activity and that means we must start, after going through the procedures, ensuring that we can revoke some of the licences of these bars that play loud music or the (carts) selling their video and their tape recordings … or the cars of people,” Ramjattan said last week.