Liquor Licensing public forum December 27th

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 10, No. 50            December 20, 2001

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Anyone interested in the proposed amendments to the liquor laws of this nation should tune in their radio next Thursday evening. The Mayors' Association of Belize will hold a consultation with the public by way of a radio talk show Thursday, December 27th on Love FM (88.9) from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Based on the opinions received during this public consultation and information gathered from earlier meetings with stakeholders, and in conjunction with the Ministry of Local Government and Chairpersons of Liquor Licensing Boards, the Mayors' Association will finalize their recommendations to Cabinet regarding amendments to the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act. Commentators for the talk show will be Belize City Mayor David Fonseca, Belmopan City Mayor Anthony Chanona and San Pedro Liquor Licensing Chairman Santiago Acosta.

    According to a recent press release issued by the Mayors' Association of Belize, definitions, proposed fees (U-Urban and R-Rural) and opening and closing hours/days of the week for individual licenses are as follows: (a) a publican general license for the sale of liquor in unbroken packages (U/R $2500). (b) a shop license for the sale by retail of liquor in sealed containers for consumption off the premises (U-$1200, R-$900), 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Monday - Saturday. No sales on Sunday. (c) a malt license for the sale by retail of wine, ale, beer or cider for consumption on the premises (U-$550, R-$300). (d) a beer license for the sale by retail of beer in sealed containers not for consumption on the premises (U-$250, R-$150). (e) a hotel license for the sale by retail of liquor for consumption on the premises (U-$1350, R-$900). (f) a restaurant license for the sale of liquor in the restaurant for consumption on the premises (U-$750, R-$500), 6:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. daily (no extensions). (g) a publican special license for the sale by retail of liquor for consumption on the premises (U/R-$1500), 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 midnight daily. Extensions for the maximum of two hours at a flat rate of $100. (h) a members' club license for the supply or sale by retail to the members of the club and their guests for consumption on the premises (U/R $750). (i) a vessel license for the sale by retail, by the master of the vessel, of liquor to passengers for consumption on board the vessel (U/R $300). (j) a nightclub license for the sale by retail of liquor in the nightclub for consumption on the premises (U/R $3000), Sunday - Thursday 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 midnight. Extensions for a maximum of two hours at a flat rate of $100. Friday & Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 a.m. (no extensions). (k) a special license for the sale by retail of liquor at the place and between the hours specified therein (U-$100, R-$50).

    Additional changes are proposed in other areas of the law. Extensions to opening and closing hours are not automatic and will only be granted after a careful case-by-case review of the respective establishments by the Liquor Licensing Board.

    The onus of responsibility will be solely on the proprietor of the establishment and as such, should the proprietor be found guilty of disregarding or breaking the law, severe fines and penalties shall apply: first offense: $500 or three months suspension of license; second offense: $1000 or six months suspension of license; third offense: $2000 and termination of license for one year. The consumption of alcoholic beverages on streets, drains, curbs and sidewalks in glass bottles shall be considered an offense and the following fines will apply: first offense: $25; second offense: $50; third offense: $100 + 50 hours community work. 

    Members of the public are asked to peruse the proposed amendments with a view to express any further concerns at the public forum. Anyone wishing to speak out regarding these issues should take the opportunity to make their wishes known through the radio talk show December 27th by calling 02-30258 that evening. They may also express their sentiments in writing to the Minister of Local Government by e-mailing msillg@belize.gov.bz.



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