Liquor Licence Process To Be Modernised

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There have been concerns expressed in relation to aspects of the Liquor Licence Act and Government promised to address the concerns. This promise is reportedly close to delivery as it was expected that Cabinet would have the report from the Committee that was appointed to review the Liquor Licence Act before this year ends.

A Deputy Governor’s annual report that was laid on the table of the House of Assembly on 2 November stated that review of the Liquor Licence Act began in 2014 with an intent to make the legislation modern and appropriate for the demands of today’s environment.

Cabinet approved the establishment of Committees to review the Liquor Licence Act, and Permanent Secretary in the Deputy Governor’s Office, David Archer serves as Chairman on the said committee. According the annual report several stakeholder meetings have been held, and preliminary recommendations were made to finalise the Committee’s report and submit recommendations to Cabinet for consideration.

The Committees review process was mentioned by Premier Dr. the Hon.  D. Orlando Smith last year after a few bars, and some alcohol vending enterprises complained about what they termed was at times a frustrating process to get a liquor licence.

The establishments claimed that under the present system it is easier to get a temporary licence. These complaints reached the ears of Premier Smith who informed the media on 8 July 2014 that the situation was being looked into.

Hon. Smith told reporters that he has heard the concerns some bar and restaurants have about the liquor licence issuance and he promised that the matter is being dealt with: “I have heard of the concern and I must tell you that the concerns are being responded to. There is a committee in place right now, who are looking at this area and will come up with recommendations very soon on the way forward in this particular circumstance,” the BVI Leader said.

According to the report the Act would be revised to better administer the liquor license process, thus eliminating or greatly reducing the need for persons applying for temporary liquor licenses.

18 temporary liquor licences were considered and approved during 2014. The Liquor Licence Act (Cap 106) was enacted on 11 May, 1964. The Act governs the sale or manufacture of intoxicating liquor in the Virgin Islands whether by wholesale or retail by requiring that businesses, persons, or by persons in their immediate employment on their behalf, be duly licensed under the Act. Since enactment of the Act, there have been few amendments; the last revision of the Act dates back to 1981.

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