There is no government decision or plan to bring the existing 2:00am close off time for bars and nightclubs forward to midnight, a high ranking government official has clarified.
Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan recently announced there have been requests from religious organisations that he did not name, to bring this curfew forward by at least two more hours.
The statement attracted immediate condemnation from entertainment entities and party goers but the government is pushing back against the criticism to clarify that no government decision has been taken and there is no such government policy.
On Thursday, State Minister Joseph Harmon said that while the request may have come from religious bodies, there has not been any Cabinet discussion on the matter.
“The Minister or the government has not taken a position on the request,” Harmon noted, adding that “it is not a position of policy taken by the government.”
Harmon asked that the Minister’s statement be examined in context.
Minister Ramjattan had said that Hindus, Muslims and Christians wanted the curfew to be brought forward to 12 o’clock.
He was at the time responding to a suggestion made by Finance Minister Winston Jordan, that the current 2.00 a.m. curfew should be relaxed on Fridays and Saturdays.
But Ramjattan believes that while everyone has a view, the predominant one is for the curfew to remain in place.
Despite an initial push back from entertainment promoters and nightclub operators, the curfew was first put forward soon after the coalition government took office in 2015.
Implementation of the Curfew began in July 2015 but it was relaxed a few times for major national celebrations including Independence and our Republic Anniversary. Additionally, party promoters could apply for a relax of the curfew for their specific fund raising events.
When the move was first announced by Ramjattan, he claimed that it was part of the efforts to tackle drunk driving and crime. But he could not provide any evidence that showed an increase in criminal activities or drunk driving after 2 o’ clock in the morning.
He then said he was being thanked by many wives for the move, since their husbands were going home much earlier.