President to assent to DUI Bill today
The hard hand of the law will fall on persons who drink and drive after today. President Bharrat Jagdeo will today assent to the Evidence, Motor Vehicle and Road Traffic Amendment Bill at Office of the President in front of the media and some members of the public..
This Bill will now clear the way for the major contributory causes of the carnage on the roads to be addressed -driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI).
The enacted Bill is one aspect of the aggressive approach to addressing the nations concerns about traffic with penalties to those who are caught driving while intoxicated, said Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon, yesterday.
The Bill was passed last year July but was not assented to by President Jagdeo who had voiced his displeasure with the public relations work of the Guyana Police Force leading to the assent of the Bill.
However, the Guyana Police Force had said that it was not the entity charged with driving the public relations programme. Rather, it is the Ministry of Home Affairs.
According to the Head of State the meagre public relations programme on the consequences of drinking and driving as these relate to the legislation left much to be desired.
He noted that he did not want to assent to a piece of legislation when the general public was not fully aware of its effects.
Since the President raised his displeasure last year, the Ministry of Home Affairs launched a public campaign to educate the public on the consequences of drinking and driving.
Yesterday, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, said that radar guns, breath analyzers and licensing demerit system all reflect ongoing efforts to deal with the nation’s concerns about traffic on the roadways in Guyana.
He added that there was no limit to the amount of money for the PR campaign.
“I don’t believe that the Minister was constrained by a limit on what would actually be the financial costs of the awareness and public relations campaign.”
From the reports submitted by the Minister, Dr. Luncheon said, he did not allow cost to affect the conduct of the campaign.
The President had stated that there would be widespread confusion were the legislation to be assented to and the populace not to be aware of the consequences.
Under the proposed legislation, the use of a Breathalyzer or blood
test will determine the alcohol levels in a person suspected to be under the influence of alcohol.
When the legislation came up for debate in the National Assembly in July last year, both sides of the House unanimously agreed to its provisions with some even calling for the alcohol limit to be less than the equivalent of two beers.