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Dec 27, 2001

Mayor’s Assoc. to reform liquor act

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With one big drinking day out of the way and another one right around the corner, liquor consumption is at an all time high. But with the number of establishments more than willing to sell alcohol to underage consumers, stay open after hours and other no-no’s, the liquor licensing board is under pressure to get its act together. The Mayor’s Association is holding a series of public forums throughout the country to get suggestions on how to improve the situation.

David Fonseca, Mayor, Belize City

“More recently there have been quite a bit of uncalled incidents at liquor establishments. And also the categorisation of liquor establishments have been there for sometime and they need to be looked at and revised to suit what is happening this present day.

We find that there is shop liquor license, which is the majority under which most establishments operate under, but you have shop liquor license which is tied into the shop act itself that ties you into certain hours of operation. But these shops are also fast food businesses at present day. So you have the shop going along with the fast food instead of the fast food going along with the shop. Of course, the fast food section sells alcohol and that is where the problem lies.

They’re also talking about having in Belize convenience stores, and some of these stores are also liquor licence holders. There is a problem there that we need to look at to sort out all these matters. And of course, you have the problem of hours of operation. Especially in the residential areas where these establishments are, that they go on until wee hours of the morning. We need to look at those to see how we can have it controlled and to have proper order within the residential area without hurting any party. Without hurting the residents and without hurting the businessperson that is a liquor licence holder. So those are basically the areas that we are looking at.”

Fonseca says the association will also be conducting surveys in particular areas to verify whether there are too many businesses that sell alcohol in any given neighbourhood. Tonight, the general public will have the opportunity to speak about the matter during a special two hour radio show on Love FM The programme which starts at seven p.m. will be hosted by the Mayor’s Association. The amendments will be ready before the end of January 2002.

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