‘No binge drinking’ in Parliament – Pres. Granger
Alcoholic beverages are only available at the Parliament building on birthdays and special occasions, according to President David Granger.
The Head of State was responding to claims made by Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo that alcohol is consumed on a regular basis in the Parliament amid an outcry over the $700,000 per sitting parliamentary food bill.
Jagdeo even promised to bring a motion to seek answers on this issue.
Referring to the tenth Parliament during which Mr. Granger served as the Leader of the then Opposition, he said: “I am not aware that alcohol was consumed except on the birthday of a member and somebody will bring one bottle or two bottles of wine but that was it, you just have a drink and toast happy birthday and that was the end of it.”
The President was responding to questions from the media at the sidelines of an event held at the Marriott Hotel Friday morning.
Mr Granger explained that there is nothing wrong with small amounts of alcohol as “it’s a birthday and a glass of wine is typical in lunch in many countries, it is not regarded as binge drinking.”
However, the President said there is a problem with binge drinking on the streets.
As a result, he said the Ministry of Public Health is working to tackle the issue of excessive alcohol consumption from a young age.
“They’re trying to reduce it at the level of school children…I think that is where it starts… so it’s expected that when children don’t grow up with the habit of drinking alcohol in excess, they won’t do it when they’re adults,” he said.
According to the President, Cabinet is not considering restrictions on the sale of alcohol but consideration can be given to imposing higher tariffs on alcohol.
Chairman of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), Komal Samaroo told the News Room earlier this year that the sale of alcohol to children continues to be a general practice for shops, especially in the countryside of Guyana. This is despite the law prohibiting this practice.
Also, in April of this year, the Ministry of Public Health’s Mental Health Unit began training 35 persons to better tackle the growing problem of substance and alcohol abuse.
The Ministry said excessive alcohol consumption is associated with every mental health issue that plagues society including suicide.
It has also led to an increased number of domestic abuse cases.