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After 8 years of promises, still no updated Liquor License Law

Another change in the new Act—that did not see the light of day under the NDP—is the proposal to split the current ‘club’ designation into two categories, which will be members clubs and nightclubs. Photo: Internet Source
Currently, liquor license holders have to appear before the magistrate on two specific days of the year to request a permit. Many see this as a recession to small business in the VI. As with everything, the government has done over the past 8 years, they have proposed in the new Act to raise fees some 50% in some instance, and over a 100% in other areas. Photo: Internet Source
Currently, liquor license holders have to appear before the magistrate on two specific days of the year to request a permit. Many see this as a recession to small business in the VI. As with everything, the government has done over the past 8 years, they have proposed in the new Act to raise fees some 50% in some instance, and over a 100% in other areas. Photo: Internet Source
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - In 2003-2007 when the National Democratic Party (NDP) first came to power, they promised the people of the Virgin Islands (VI), revised and modernised Liquor License rules in what they described then as the ‘State of the Territory Address.’

They were voted out of office in 2007, so it never happened. In 2011-2019 they returned to power and in the ‘Speech from the Throne’ of 2014, 2016 and 2018, again they promised the Bill, however, the House of Assembly (HoA) dissolved last month, January 2019, without the passage of the Bill.

Meanwhile, outgoing Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) introduced just before the HoA was dissolved last month, the Liquor Licenses Act 2018.

No public input

A year before, the NDP regime published a draft, however, there was no public consultation, although nightclub and bar owners have complained for years about the ‘run-around’ they faced in obtaining a liquor license and the hassle of renewal.

Currently, liquor license holders have to appear before the magistrate on two specific days of the year to request a permit.

Many see this as a regression to small business in the VI. As with everything the government has done over the past 8 years, they have proposed in the new Act, to raise fees some 50% in some instance and over a 100% in other areas.

The new Act proposed also called for the creation of a Licensing Board which will have the power to approve and decline applications, but as in best practices, applicants can appeal to a appeals tribunal under the same proposed Act.

What the new law proposed

Another change in the new Act—that did not see the light of day under the NDP—is the proposal to split the current ‘club’ designation into two categories, which will be members clubs and nightclubs.

Members clubs would be able to sell liquor to its members and guests, but must be closed by 2:00 AM.

Whereas nightclubs would be allowed to stay open until 4:00 AM but are required to provide security officers, proper lighting inside and outside and have security cameras.

What are the parties saying?

The New law also proposed some heavy fines for violation of the license and will move from just a 6 months approval to a 1-year liquor license, according to the Act obtained by our news centre.

None of the four political parties on the campaign trail, NDP 1, Virgin Islands Party (VIP), Progressives United (UP) or the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) aka ‘NDP 2’ has raised the bill on their campaign or said whether they will pursue its passage as a priority.

7 Responses to “After 8 years of promises, still no updated Liquor License Law”

  • Xxx (09/02/2019, 15:59) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply
    This is something that affects locals the most so they dont care about it
    • wize up (09/02/2019, 19:20) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ xxx: we are only precious in the politican Site 24 hours before the election....
  • wize up (09/02/2019, 17:02) Like (3) Dislike (7) Reply
    Change
  • i from here (09/02/2019, 19:43) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    Thanks vino you always bring the things that we the people care about and affects us
  • too busy (10/02/2019, 06:21) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    They were too busy enriching themselves .. Never truly care about people ....Law. Labour .Immigration . Finance . Agriculture . All need a new, serious and better way approach .Hope the new government has the encourage .
  • Me (10/02/2019, 09:41) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    NATIONAL DISGRACING PEOPLE, WHERE THERE IS NO VISION THE PEOPLE WILL PERISH BY THE NDP.
  • Tafari Zharr (10/02/2019, 12:33) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    So maybe it’s not so bad that there is a lag in that area because now the committee can address marijuana: medical or otherwise- and as it pertains to revenue and consumption from a tourist advantage- and perhaps marketing as an attraction to building tourism and air/sea access - as well as taking back revenue from neighboring islands that others have claimed benefit from spending of BVI made dollars- but let’s examinine the prohibition period in America and exactly where we are today and be proactive and a trend setter; this is a time to test “green” market and it’s a “real grass is
    greener in the VI- if we cultivate and control- soursop, lemongrass, etc; just saying! Let’s have a real conversation including consumption of the collective!


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