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Feb 27, 2003

Liquor board chairman: no booze while polls open

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For most Belizeans, the declaring of election day as a national holiday was good news. It means that once you’ve voted, instead of going to work you can kick back and head to your local bar for a few cold ones, right? Wrong. As News 5′s Jacqueline Woods reminds us, the beverage of choice on March fifth will be lemonade, not Belikin.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

On March Fifth emotions will be running high as a small army of party workers will be helping a much larger army of voters make their way to the polls. To help prevent problems and maintain peace on that day, no alcoholic beverages will be sold from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Reynaldo Guerrero, Chairman, Liquor Licensing Board

“But obviously what we are looking for is because it is a very critical period in time, and in this case a lot more critical because there is a double election taking place so there is a lot at stake and we do not want to add or the law at least allows that nothing is added to the emotions that may arise that can contribute to anything that may be other than a peaceful election process.”

Jacqueline Woods

“So come next week Wednesday all bar establishments, like the one that is behind me, will be closed. However, hotels, restaurants and stores will remain open, but they will not be allowed to sell any alcoholic beverages.”

Reynaldo Guerrero

“Obviously we cannot stop the sale of liquor before lets say from the day before and somebody put it in an icebox and so on. But obviously somebody who does that and is involved in this whole electoral process or is in an area where the discussion could get very volatile, I would say that from now they are looking for trouble. I would advise against it, I would say do not encourage it.”

According to Reynaldo Guerrero, chairman of the Belize District Liquor Licensing Board, he is fully aware that there will be temptations and some shop owners may give in to pressure. But Guerrero advises them that such a mistake will end up costing them more than just the $2.25 cost of a bottle of beer.

Reynaldo Guerrero

“Lose their liquor license completely, definitely, definitely. In fact, there is no excuse for that and this is very, very clear. This is just not a misdemeanour anymore; I mean this is very critical; you will lose your license and probably jailed and or some major fine. For the shops, I would like to say that because the liquor is displayed in the shops, the consumer may put a certain pressure some of the establishments. My advice to those establishments is two things, one thing is to either clean your shelf, take it off so that temptation is not there or take a cloth and cover it.”

The Liquor Licensing Board further advises the public that once the sales restriction is lifted people should continue to exercise caution. Win or lose, come the dawn of March sixth, life will go on. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

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