City chamber hands over breathalyzers to police

(www.stabroeknews.com) The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) on Tuesday handed over five breathalyzer kits with thermal printers to the Guyana Police Force.

A statement from the GCCI yesterday said that the donation was valued at $1.5M and was made possible by contributions from the following Chamber members: BEV Processors, Digicel Guyana, John Fernandes Limited, John Lewis Styles, Republic Bank Guyana Limited and Trans Pacific Motor Spares.

The handing over was made at the Guyana Police Force Conference Centre by GCCI President Lance Hinds. In his remarks Hinds alluded to the scourge of driving under the influence and said that the Chamber believed that as a national stakeholder it should be concerned with challenges of this type.

One of the kits

He said that he hoped that the breathalyzers and supporting equipment will be utilized by the force to further engage in operations to reduce the instances of drunk driving and to deal promptly and severely with those who continue to do so.

GCCI President Lance Hinds (left) making the presentation

The move by the Chamber to assist the force followed a disclosure by Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee in February this year, following a question asked in Parliament, that only three breathalyzer kits were functioning in three policing divisions.

Rohee’s written answer to a question by AFC MP Cathy Hughes stated that all Police Divisions were previously issued with breathalyzer kits.

However, he said that some had malfunctioned. The functional units at the time were at A Division – Georgetown and the East Bank of Demerara, B Division – Berbice and D Division – West Demerara.

Rohee had added that arrangements were being made for an additional 40 breathalyzer kits to be procured pending the approval of the 2014 Budget.

The use of breathalyzer kits had also come under scrutiny following a February 23rd 2014 accident involving Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh. Singh was believed to have been under the influence of alcohol but had not been breath-tested as he left the scene of the accident for what he said was medical treatment.

The unavailability of a breathalyzer kit could have been an issue in relation to the non-testing of Singh but observers also pointed out that his departure from the scene was another complication which could inspire others to do the same as a means of avoiding being tested.