The Private Sector Com-mission (PSC) yesterday blasted the COVID-19 Task Force for its singling out of the Palm Court Restaurant and Bar for continued breaches of COVID-19 restrictions.
It called the actions biased and called on the Task Force to withdraw its warning letter immediately.
Calling on the Head of the COVID-19 Task Force, Col Nazrul Hussain to explain why the actions were taken, the PSC said that the organisation was considering withdrawing from the task force.
“The Private Sector Commission is extremely disappointed that the COVID Task Force chose to discredit the oldest and most internationally recognized restaurant in Guyana (1950), the Palm Court by issuing a final warning letter of closure and leaking the said letter to the media even before the alleged defaulter was notified,” a PSC statement said.
“The signatory of the letter Col Nazrul Hussain should explain,” it added.
The PSC said that the Task Force must be aware, as it is public knowledge, “that hundreds of businesses operate in a similar manner to that of Palm Court. Hence, this action would appear to be biased and discriminatory and the letter should be withdrawn forthwith.”
“Moreover, the Task Force ought to operate in a fair and transparent manner, which evidently is not the current practice – and which is rather unfortunate. To these ends, the PSC is seriously and actively considering withdrawing from the National COVID Task Force as its functioning leaves much to be desired,” it added.
On the 30th of October, government implemented changes in the COVID-19 emergency measures, which took effect from November 1st stating that the curfew will run from 10.30 pm to 4 am. The curfew was previously from 9 pm to 4 am.
However, daily, a number of business establishments continue to flout the rules. Persons also continue to gather in large numbers on the Seawall on Sunday evenings, way past the 10:30pm curfew.
Yesterday, the Sunday Stabroek reported that the NCTF had issued a warning to Palm Court saying it was the final one.
“It is evident that despite being warned…you and/or your agents continue to be in breach of the National COVID-19 measures contained in the Official Gazette Number 198 of 2020,” Hussain, the NCTF Director, wrote in a letter to the establishment’s business manager on Saturday.
The letter, which was seen by this newspaper, makes reference to a previous warning letter issued to the business in October 30.
“The blatant disregard [of] the COVID-19 measures reflects your contempt for the Laws of Guyana, which may result in the application of legal sanctions with the possibility of having all privileges suspended or licences revoked,” the letter adds.
The PSC hinted that the NCTF had acted outside of its mandate saying that it is committed to the original mandate given to the Task Force by President Irfaan Ali.
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