Owners of hospitality facilities urged to protect children

Rwanda National Police (RNP), on Friday, held a meeting with owners of bars, night clubs, guest houses and other premises selling alcohol in City of Kigali as part of the ongoing efforts to protect children and prevent drunk-driving.

It is the second of the series of meetings with owners of hospitality facilities, which will continue across the country.

These meetings aim at jointly setting mechanisms to enforce laws related to protecting children from consuming alcoholic drinks and drugs, child labour, asexual abuse, and giving them access into entertainment clubs; drunk-driving; smoking in public; and noise pollution.

The Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) in charge of Operations, Felix Namuhoranye, assured owners of bars that the efforts are not meant to affect their businesses, but to work together to ensure the safety and security of their customers as well as prevent likely threats the latter may pose to other road users.

“We want your businesses to grow, but also we want to meet midway; we need your responsiveness and commitment to ensure security of your customers is guaranteed,” DIGP Namuhoranye said.

“Support your customers to be safe when they leave your premises; we are neither stopping you from selling alcohol nor people from enjoying, we want them to drink, but be safe when going back home and not to be a threat to other road users,” he added.

The Deputy Police Chief embarked on children employed in bars, restaurants, guest houses, entertainment spots and in other hospitality facilities.

“Imagine a young girl, who should have a better future, but who’s exposed to dangers of people with money. Some of you are parents and you understand what it means to protect a child. Don’t kill the future of these children by exposing them to people who will seduce them with money, which is easier at that age; they have a future and we should help them achieve their goals.”

At least 30 minors were caught in different bars last weekend drinking alcohol. Eleven owners or managers of the implicated bars were also arrested.

Over 500 drivers were also arrested in the past one month after they were found driving while under the influence of alcohol at a level higher than the 0.08 legal maximum. About 85 road accidents caused by drunk drivers were recorded between January and August this year, with 18 of them serious. At least ten people died in the last two months after they were knocked by drunk-drivers, including the recent one in Nyagatare where a drunk-driver killed five pedestrians.

DIGP Namuhoranye urged owners of hospitality facilities to adopt internal policies and structures, respect the law and engage their employees, including private security personnel in road safety and child protection programmes.

Among the measures adopted during the meeting include pinning messages against drunk driving, serving alcoholic beverages to minors, as well as reserved smoking areas.

Others include hanging contacts of special-hires or initiate internal transport means for any driver, who is drunk.

Participants, who toured various hospitality facilities in Kigali where these measures have been implemented, pledged to support the efforts with “immediate action.”

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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,(www.rwandainspirer.com) is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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