Chapter 16:03 - Public Order

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L.R.O. 1/2012
LAWS OF GUYANA
PUBLIC ORDER ACT
CHAPTER 16:03
Act
56 of 1955





1 – 15 ... 1/2012
(inclusive) by L.R.O.
Pages Authorised
Current Authorised Pages
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Note
on
Subsidiary Legislation
This Chapter contains no subsidiary legislation.

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CHAPTER 16:03
PUBLIC ORDER ACT
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
SECTION
1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Notification required of meetings in public places.
4. Power to regulate public meetings.
5. Permission required for processions.
6. Power of Minister to prohibit meetings.
7. Prohibition of uniforms in connection with political objects.
8. Prohibition of quasi-military organisations.
9. Prohibition of offensive weapons at public meetings and
processions.
10. Prohibition of offensive conduct conducive to breaches of the
peace at public meetings.
11. Disorderly behaviour at public meetings.
12. Permission required for use of noisy instrument at public meetings
and public processions.
13. Offences.
14. Powers of members of the Police Force.


4 of 1962
An Act to make provision for the preservation of public
order and convenience on the occasion of public
meetings and processions.
[3TH DECEMBER, 1955]

Short title.

1. This Act may be cited as the Public Order Act.

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Interpretation.



2. In this Act—
“appropriate officer of Police” means the member of the
Police Force for the time being in charge of the Police
Station nearest to the place where the meeting is to be
held;
“Chief Officer of Police” means the member of the Police
Force having chief command of the Police in the police
division or police sub-division in which a meeting,
gathering or assembly of persons, or a march or
procession as the case may be is to be held;
“meeting” means a meeting, gathering or assembly of persons
held for the purpose of the discussion of matters of
public interest or for the purpose of the expression of
views on such matters;
“noisy instrument” includes loudspeakers, amplifiers and
juke boxes;
“public meeting” includes any meeting in a public place and
any meeting which the public or any section thereof are
permitted to attend, whether on payment or otherwise;
“public place” means any highway, public park or garden,
any sea beach, and any public bridge, landing-place,
road, street, land, footway, square, court, alley or
passage, whether a thoroughfare or not; and includes any
open space to which, for the time being, the public have
or are permitted to have access, whether on payment or
otherwise;
“public procession” means a march or procession in a public
place.

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Notification
required of
meetings in
public places.
3. (1) Any person who desires to hold a meeting in a
public place shall, not less than forty-eight hours and not
more than one month previous to the time at which he desires
to hold such meeting notify the appropriate officer of Police
of his intention to hold the said meeting and of the time
and the place at which the said meeting is to be held:
Provided, however, that where the appropriate officer of
Police is satisfied in respect of any meeting in a public place
that having regard to the circumstances or for any other
reason the said notice could not reasonably have been given
within the time specified therefore in this section he may in
respect of such meeting accept such shorter period of notice
as he shall think fit.
(2) Where notice has been given under
subsection (1) of the holding on the same date of two or
more meetings within one half of a mile of each other the
Commissioner of Police may, having regard to the proximity
of the meetings and of the times at which they are to be held,
prohibit or impose restrictions on the holding of any
such meeting, other than the meeting in respect of which
notice was first received, whenever he shall consider it
desirable in the interest of public order or convenience so to
do:
Provided, however, that the organiser of any such
meeting may appeal to the Minister from the decision of the
Commissioner of Police and in such case the Minister
may give such directions to the Commissioner of Police as he
may think fit.
(3) Where the Commissioner of Police prohibits or
imposes restrictions on the holding of any meeting under
subsection (2) the appropriate officer of Police shall cause
notice in writing to be given thereof to the person giving
notice of the holding of such meeting under subsection (1)
either by personal service or by leaving such notice in a
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Power to
regulate public
meetings.

Permission
required for
processions.
letter addressed to that person at his last or usual place of
abode or place of business.
(4) Any member of the Police Force may stop and
cause to be dispersed any meeting in a public place in
respect of which no notice has been given as required by
subsection (1) or which has been prohibited by or is being
held contrary to any restrictions imposed by the
Commissioner of Police under subsection (2).
4. (1) All members of the Police Force—
(a) in Georgetown, not below the rank of
Assistant Superintendent,
(b) in New Amsterdam, not below the
rank of Sub-Inspector, and
(c) In all other parts of Guyana—
(i) not below the rank of Sergeant,
or
(ii) for the time being in charge of a
police station,
may as occasion requires direct the conduct of all meetings
in public places and direct all public meetings to disperse
when they have reason to apprehend any breach of the peace.
(2) All members of the Police Force shall and may
keep order in public places and prevent obstructions on the
occasions of public meetings and in any case where public
places may be thronged or may be liable to be obstructed.
5. (1) No person shall hold or take part in any public
procession other than a funeral procession unless the
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Power of
Minister to
prohibit
meetings.
permission in writing of the Chief Officer of Police has been
first obtained.
(2) Any person who desires to hold a public
procession other than a funeral procession shall not less
than forty- eight hours previous to the time at which he
desires to hold the procession apply in writing to the Chief
Officer of Police for permission to hold the procession. If the
Chief Officer of Police grants permission he shall at the
same time order in writing the routes to be followed and
the times during which the procession may pass along such
routes and shall give any special orders which he may
consider necessary in relation to such procession. Every
person who holds or takes part in a procession shall conform
to the orders of the Chief Officer of Police.
(3) If the Chief Officer of Police refuses to grant
permission for the holding of a public procession the person
who has applied for such permission may appeal in writing
against such refusal to the Minister, and in such case the
Minister may give such directions to the Chief Officer of
Police as he may think fit.
6. (l) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other
law, where at any time it appears to the Minister to be in the
interests of good order or the public safety so to do, he may
by order prohibit in any area, or in any district, village or
town in Guyana—
(a) all public meetings, and all gatherings
and assemblies of persons and all
processions and marches in any
public place;
(b) all persons from organising, holding
or speaking at or attending any
public meetings, or any gatherings
or assemblies of persons or any
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processions or marches in any public
place,
save in cases where a permit is issued in accordance with
this section.
(2) Where any person desires to organise or hold
any public meeting, or any gathering or assembly of persons
or any procession or march in any public place, which is
prohibited by an order under this section, he shall, at least
forty-eight hours before such intended event, make
application for a permit to the Chief Officer of Police:
Provided that in the case of any funeral
procession application for a permit may be made to the Chief
Officer of Police within such shorter time before the said
procession as the Chief Officer of Police may consider
reasonable.
(3) The Chief Officer of Police to whom application
is made in accordance with subsection (2) may, in any case,
refuse or grant the application. If the Chief Officer of Police
grants permission he shall issue to the applicant a permit in
writing for the desired event to take place, but every such
permit shall be issued subject to such terms and conditions (to
be observed by all persons organising, speaking at or
attending the event) as the officer may think necessary in
order to effect the objects of the order.
(4) Any applicant for a permit under this
section who is aggrieved by the refusal of the Chief Officer of
Police to grant the permit or by the terms of the permit, may
appeal in writing to the Minister, and in such case the
Minister may give such directions to the Chief Officer of
Police as he may think fit.
(5) Every order under this section—

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Prohibition of
uniforms in
connection
with political
objects.
(a) shall remain in force for a period of
not more than one month (without
prejudice to the power to issue a
further order at or before the end of
such period);
(b) shall be published in the Gazette;
(c) may at any time be varied, altered,
amended or revoked by the Minister.
7. (l) Subject as hereinafter provided, any person
who in any public place or at any public meeting wears
any uniform signifying his association with any political
organisation or with the promotion of any political object
shall be guilty of an offence:
Provided that, if the Commissioner of Police is satisfied
that the wearing of any such uniform as aforesaid on
any ceremonial, anniversary, or other special occasion will
not be likely to involve risk of public disorder, he may, with
the consent of the Minister, by order permit the wearing of
such uniforms on that occasion either absolutely or
subject to such conditions as may be specified in the order.
(2) Where any person is charged before any court
with an offence under this section, no further proceedings in
respect thereof shall be taken against him without the consent
of the Director of Public Prosecutions except such as the court
may think necessary by remand (whether in custody or
on bail) or otherwise to secure the due appearance of the
person charged, so, however, that if that person is remanded
in custody he shall, after the expiration of a period of
eight days from the date on which he was so remanded,
be entitled to be discharged from custody on entering into a
recognisance without sureties unless within that period the
Director of Public Prosecutions has consented to such further
proceedings as aforesaid.
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Prohibition
of quasi-
military
organisations.

8. (l) If the members or adherents of any
association of persons, whether incorporated or not, are—
(a) organised or trained or equipped for
the purpose of enabling them to be
employed in usurping the functions
of the Police or of the Guyana Defence
Force; or
(b) organised and trained or organised
and equipped either for the purpose
of enabling them to be employed for
the use or display of physical force
in promoting any political object, or
in such manner as to arouse
reasonable apprehension that they are
organised and either trained or
equipped for that purpose,
then any person who takes part in the control or management
of the association, or in so organising or training as aforesaid
any member or adherents thereof, shall be guilty of an offence
under this section:
Provided that in any proceedings against a person
charged with the offence of taking part in the control or
management of such an association as aforesaid it shall be
a defence to that charge to prove that he neither consented to
nor connived at the organisation, training, or equipment of
members or adherents of the association in contravention of
this section.
(2) No prosecution shall be instituted under this
section without the consent of the Director of Public
Prosecutions.
(3) If upon application being made by the
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Director of Public Prosecutions it appears to the High
Court that any association is an association of which
members or adherents are organised, trained, or equipped in
contravention of this section, the Court may make such
orders as appears necessary to prevent any disposition
without the leave of the Court of property held by or for
the association and in accordance with rules of court may
direct an inquiry and report to be made as to any such
property as aforesaid and as to the affairs of the
association and make such further orders as appear to the
Court to be just and equitable for the application of such
property in or towards the discharge of the liabilities of the
association lawfully incurred before the date of the
application or since that date with the approval of the
Court, in or towards the repayment of moneys to persons
who became subscribers or contributors to the association
in good faith and without knowledge of any such
contravention as aforesaid, and in or towards any costs
incurred in connection with any such inquiry and report as
aforesaid or in winding-up or dissolving the association,
and may order that any property which is not directed by
the Court to be so applied as aforesaid shall be forfeited to
the State.
(4) In any criminal or civil proceedings under
this section, proof of things done or of words written, spoken
or published (whether or not in the presence of any party
to the proceedings) by any person taking part in the control
or management of an association or in organising, training
or equipping members or adherents of an association shall
be admissible as evidence of the purposes for which, or the
manner in which members or adherents of the association
(whether those persons or others) were organised, or
trained or equipped.
(5) If a judge of the High Court is satisfied by
information on oath that there is reasonable ground for
suspecting that an offence under this section has been
committed, and that evidence of the commission thereof is to
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Prohibition of
offensive
weapons at
public.

Prohibition of
offensive
conduct
conducive to
breaches of the
peace at public
meetings.
Disorderly
behaviour at
be found at any premises or place specified in the
information, he may, on an application made by an officer of
police of a rank not lower than that of corporal, grant a
search warrant authorising any such officer as aforesaid
named in the warrant together with any other persons named
in the warrant and any other officers of police to enter
the premises or place at any time within one month from the
date of the warrant, if necessary by force, and to search the
premises or place and every person found therein, and to
seize anything found on the premises or place or on any
such person which the officer has reasonable ground for
suspecting to be evidence of the commission of such an
offence as aforesaid:
Provided that no woman shall, in pursuance of a warrant
issued under this subsection, be searched except by a woman.
9. (1) Any person who, while present at any public
meeting or on the occasion of any public procession, has
with him any offensive weapon, otherwise than in
pursuance of lawful authority, shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) For the purposes of this section, a person shall
not be deemed to be acting in pursuance of lawful authority
unless he is acting in his capacity as a servant of the
State or as a police, rural, supernumerary or special
constable or as a member of the special reserve police force
or as a member of a fire brigade.
10. Any person who at any public meeting uses
threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with
intent to provoke a breach of the peace or whereby a breach
of the peace is likely to be occasioned, shall be guilty of an
offence.
11. (l) Any person who at a lawful public meeting
acts in a disorderly manner for the purpose of preventing
the transaction of business for which the meeting was called public.
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meetings .
[6 of 1997]

Permission
required for
use of noisy
instrument at
public
meetings and
public
processions.
together shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) Any person who incites others to commit an
offence under this section shall be guilty of a like offence.
(3) If any police constable reasonably suspects any
person of committing an offence under the foregoing
provisions of this section, he may require that person to
declare to him immediately his name and address and, if
that person refuses or fails so to declare his name and
address, or gives a false name and address, he shall be liable
on summary conviction to a fine of four thousand eight
hundred and seventy-five dollars, and if he refuses or fails
so to declare his name and address or if the constable
reasonably suspects him of giving a false name and address,
the constable may without warrant arrest him.
12. (l) Subject to any regulations made under this Act,
any person who holds, organises, forms, speaks at or takes
part in any public meeting or public procession at which a
noisy instrument is used without the permission of the Chief
Officer of Police shall be guilty of an offence.
(2) Subject to any regulations made under this Act
the Chief Officer of Police may in his discretion grant
permission in writing to any person to use a noisy instrument
for the purpose of any public meeting or public procession
upon such terms and conditions, and subject to such
restrictions as he by such permission determines.
(3) The Minister may make regulations for the
purpose of controlling the use of noisy instruments at public
meetings and public processions and may by such
regulations exempt any area of Guyana or any class of
meetings or processions from the provisions of this section
or may limit the operation of this section to meetings or
processions or any class thereof held between such hours as
he may specify.
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Offences.
13. (1) Any person who—
(a) holds, organises or speaks at any
meeting in a public place in respect of
which no notice has been given under
section 3(1) or in respect of which a
notice of the prohibition of such
meeting has been served under
section 3(3) or the holding of
which is in any way contrary to any
restrictions contained in a notice
served under section 3(3); or
(b) fails peacefully to depart on the
stoppage or dispersal under section
3(4) of any meeting in a public
place; or
(c) contravenes or fails to comply
with any directions given under
section 4; or
(d) holds, organises, forms, speaks at,
attends or takes part in any meeting,
gathering or assembly of persons, or
any procession or march which is
prohibited under section 5 or section
6; or
(e) contravenes or fails to comply with
any of the terms, conditions or
restrictions subject to or upon which a
permit under section 5 or section 6
or section 12 has been issued; or
[6 of 1997]
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Powers of
Police Force.
(f) contravenes or fails to comply with
any of the terms or requirements of
an order under section 6,
shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine of twenty-six
thousand dollars and to imprisonment for four months.
(2) Any person who contravenes any of the
provisions of sections 7 or 8 shall be liable on summary
conviction to a fine of forty- eight thousand seven hundred
and fifty dollars and to imprisonment for six months, or, on
conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for two years.
(3) Any person who commits any other offence
under, or contravenes any other provision of this Act shall be
liable on summary conviction to a fine of nineteen thousand
five hundred dollars and to imprisonment for three months.
14. The powers conferred by this Act on any member
of the Police Force shall be in addition to and not in
substitution for any of the powers which members of the
Police Force may possess under any other law for the time
being in force.
____________________

members of the
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