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Jan 11, 1999

Liquor Licensing Board to crackdown on stores and nightclubs

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Every year in January the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Board meets to approve liquor licenses and review the major problems over the year. The board, which has the participation of the police, health officials and other members of the community, says some shop owners make it easy for their license to be approved while others make their task very difficult. Today Councilor Danny Madrid spoke to News Five about the most glaring violations of the licensing requirements and how the council will be monitoring stores and nightclubs that serve alcoholic beverages.

Danny Madrid, City Councilor

“The biggest problem that we have are nightclubs, not all nightclubs. Some of them know the law. The previous board did not make an effort to educate people. What happens is that public and special license you are allowed to open until twelve midnight, meaning discos. But people want to have fun so what you need to do is to apply to the chairman of the board for a special extension which goes sometimes until three in the morning. For special occasions like Christmas holidays you can go until five in the morning but you must have a special license.

We even went further to assist the police. The Belize City Council is having its own special constables. They will be monitoring the license holders during the day and night, anytime. Little surprise visits. The thing is we are not here to revoke licenses, we are here to approve licenses. But all we want is for license holders to abide by the law.

Why we are monitoring it, because the same people who sell to the consumers on the street are the same ones that are open late in the night. They are the same ones that are being attacked and robbed.”

Madrid says another serious concern is that of children being sent to shops to purchase liquor. He says that once a shop owner has been caught selling alcohol to a minor they will be taken to court immediately and could pay a fine of fifty dollars. He says that if the violation recurs the fine will automatically increase.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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