Not so tight

Govt to make it easier to obtain liquor licences - Inniss

Two years after promising an ease to shopkeepers, vendors and event planners who buy and sell alcoholic beverages, Minister of Commerce and Industry Donville Inniss says a reprieve is close at hand.

Inniss told small business stakeholders this week the recommended changes to the Administration and Liqour Licensing Act that would make it easier and less costly to obtain liquor licences would soon become a reality.

One of the major recommendations was for licences to be issued on an annual basis, fees from which earned Government some $1.6 million for the 2015-2016 financial year.

Promised changes to the Act, which has been in the works since last year and was schedule to go before Parliament earlier this year, were made as far back as 2015 when Inniss had criticized the “antiquated” system used to grant approval, while adding that the state had become “intrusive, demanding and onerous” to deal with.

Speaking Wednesday at a small business stakeholders’ forum at the Bagnall’s Point Gallery in Pelican Village, Inniss said the new framework for the liquor licensing system and guidelines was currently being prepared by the office of the Chief Parliamentary Council.

Once the changes are approved, individuals will obtain licences from the Department of Commerce instead of the Magistrate’s Court, the minister said.

“That will then free up the Magistrate’s Court . . . and let people get on with their business and not feel that they have to come a day or two to stand in a court system and wait on a licence to get approval.

“I am also trying to see how we can reduce those licence fees as well. I don’t believe that we ought to be charging high fees for licences in this country. It is a monopoly and you don’t have a choice. The truth is that some of these things can be very daunting in Barbados,” Inniss said.

In his 2010 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler had announced an immediate decrease in liquor licences, as he sought then to ease shop owners and bars.

Back then Sinckler had announced that the retail licence would drop from $1,000 to $500.

3 Responses to Not so tight

  1. Ron June 23, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    I understand the minister’s thinking but in his haste to make obtaining liquor licences easier I hope he does not create further problems for those applying.
    Alcohol is a drug that is why it is controlled by licences. Who would be responsible for the inspecttion of premises to make sure there are in compliance with the stipulation of the law? Who will investigate the applicants to determine their suitability to hold such licences? Will there be a special unit set up in the ministry of commerce to look after such? Or we would have the ministry of commerce sending the applcations to the Police for investigation, which would cause further delays than what now exist.
    I think that we should really seek to make things easier for doing business in our Island but in so doing there are certain fundamentals which we should not depart from.

  2. Milli Watt June 24, 2017 at 1:21 am


  3. Alex Alleyne June 24, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Bashment Soca , now easy liquor licence. Come elections……..


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