Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, SC says that though law enforcement officers are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the COVID-19 guidelines are adhered to, these officers cannot do it alone.
The Emergency COVID-19 Measures, published at least monthly in the Official Gazette, have been expanded to include vaccination requirements for entry into public buildings and some private buildings.
Specifically for casinos, betting shops and cinemas, the updated measures (No. 22), explicitly state that the operators of the businesses are responsible for ensuring that vaccine cards are presented before entry. The guidelines also state that these operators must also ensure that face masks are properly worn.
But, Section 17, which addresses the entry into public buildings and some private buildings, did not explicitly state that the operators would be responsible for policing visitors and patrons.
And it was reported that some local businesses have raised concerns about whether they will be required to police their customers and ensure that they are vaccinated or that they present the results of their negative PCR COVID-19 tests.
“… because this is a public exercise, it is a public health situation (and) it is for the public good, the public is expected to participate and the public has a duty to help and assist the law enforcement agencies in enforcing the measure whatever they are,” the Attorney General explained during a recent interview with the News Room.
The News Room understands that this also means that the businesses themselves are tasked with enforcing the new vaccination requirements.
Furthermore, the Attorney General explained that the question of enforcement is a “problematic one” in an emergency situation like this pandemic. This is so because the magnitude of enforcement needed is quite large.
He explained that all citizens and residents, under these emergency circumstances, are bound by these measures and as such, it is “technically” the responsibility of the law enforcement bodies to police each individual.
“… that is normally an impossible task for the conventional law enforcement agencies.
“In any society… their law enforcement agencies are merely a fraction of the population,” he said.
Cognisant that the officers of the Guyana Police Force, for example, are only a small part of the population, the Attorney General said that the public at large has to cooperate. This he said is crucial because the situation at hand is one that threatens public health. (Vishani Ragobeer)