Urges Authorities to Stop Granting Permits to Ad-hoc Bars
GUYANA — The Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha (GHDS) has called on the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to desist from granting permits to persons to sell alcohol at Hindu weddings or in close proximity thereof at ad-hoc bars.
The organization said it is extremely disturbed by the increase in this trend which sees alcohol bars being set-up and run by the family of the bride and groom or neighbours, who do so in a bid to earn money from guests attending the weddings.
“Alcohol use at Hindu weddings is not sanctioned in our religion and we have asked our pandits to refuse to perform weddings where bars are set up,” the GHDS said in a statement.
The GHDS has also requested GRA to deny permission to persons who apply to operate ad-hoc bars on the days of Hindu/religious festivals or in close proximity to mandirs.
The the religious body said it would like the support of the police, Ministry of Home Affairs and GRA as it seeks to practice Hindu religious customs across the country in the prescribed manner, unimpeded by the repercussions which arise from alcohol consumption and abuse, violence, harassment, ridicule, disruption of observances and religious practices.
The GHDS has also noted the increasing number of liquor/alcohol bars and shops which have sprung up around the country. The deleterious effects of alcohol on families, relationships, the economy, youth, incidents of violence and accidents are well-known.
“There seems to be no reservation in granting the licenses and no attention is paid to the proximity of these places to houses of worship, schools, the increase in the number of rum shops in residential communities or the growing numbers per community,” the organization stated.
It’s statement noted that the proliferation of liquor shops and bars facilitate the disturbing trend of large numbers of young people consuming and abusing alcohol and men spending much of their income there, depriving their families of necessities.
“Further, many of the existing liquor places do not operate within the ambit of the law or their licences. Persons are allowed to drink on the premises and proprietors often sell alcohol to minors. The Sabha believes that increasing the accessibility to rum shops only adds to an already big problem and encourages these practices,” the statement said.
The GHDS is calling on the authorities to ensure that alcohol is not sold to minors at public events such as fairs, parties and concerts. Sanctions should be brought to bear on organisers and promoters who allow this to happen at their events.
President of the Sabha, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, according to the statement, is sure that the GHDS will get the unhesitating support of the public and the relevant authorities as the it works to curb the disturbing and reprehensible practices mentioned above.
“We of the Sabha ask you to encourage us as we work with communities and call on the various authorities to restore value systems in our beautiful country,” says Dr. Persaud.
Dr. Persaud has also discussed with other Hindu organisations and has gotten their support for the measures suggested above. As a Member of Parliament and President of the Sabha, she has raised the above issues in the Social Sector Committee in Parliament and with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Commissioner General of GRA. (Courtesy of Guyana Chronicle)