Laws coming soon to empower diplomats, senior officials to use police-type flashing lights
Currently, there is no legal cloak for foreign diplomats, ministers and other senior government officials to install and use on their vehicles police-type, blue and red flashing lights.
But Home Affairs Minister, Robeson Benn, on Thursday, promised his colleague Members of Parliament (MPs) that the relevant laws will be tweaked this year to allow for diplomats and senior government functionaries to be exempted.
Benn said the illegality was allowed to happen because it was necessary to “do things on the flow to ensure people are safe.”
The security minister was at the time defending monies in the 2023 budget for training of police ranks and was responding to questions of the Shadow Home Affairs Minister, Geeta Chandan-Edmond, during the consideration of the estimates of expenditure in the Parliamentary Committee of Supply.
Benn said it is unfortunate that some stores now have the police-type lights available for sale which has resulted in widespread misuse.
“There are few situations where senior officials and diplomats use these lights as a matter of reciprocity.
“All members of the diplomatic corps are required to have these lights on the vehicle of the Ambassador and High Commissioner,” Benn added but could not say if Guyana’s Ambassadors and High Commissioners abroad, specifically in the United States of America, were allowed similar privileges.
He committed to checking with the Foreign Affairs Ministry when pressed by Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton.
“I will request from the Foreign Minister that information.
“It appears as though this is a personal issue for the member… yes, the legislation will be tweaked to accommodate appropriate users,” he added.
In November 2022, President Dr Irfaan Ali mandated Police Commissioner (ag) Clifton Hicken to enforce a clampdown against the unauthorised use of blue and red lights and sirens.
This instruction extended to government agencies, several public officials and also security companies that have abused the use of the lights and sirens.
The blue and red lights and sirens are to be used on police vehicles and other law enforcement personnel, but persons have been buying the equipment and using it to speed through traffic.