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Aug 29, 2008

Archie Lee is freed of charges for selling liquor illegally

Story PictureHe has had a troubled relationship with the City council, and today Senior Justice of the Peace and owner of Lee’s Shopping City on Central American Boulevard, Archie Lee, is a happy man after he finally had his day in court in his latest squabble with CitCo. That’s because of the forty-one charges that the Belize City Council brought against him for illegally selling liquor, some were withdrawn while the others were dismissed. But while Lee is happy, he is uncertain as to how he will get back the value of the liquor the Council’s employees confiscated from him.

Archie Lee, Owner, Lee’s Shopping City
“Hundred percent I won, thank God.”

Marion Ali
“What happened? They just withdraw all the charges or what?”

Archie Lee
“Some of them they withdraw the charge, some of them they found not enough evidence and some of them they dismissed.”

Marion Ali
“So you won every one?”

Archie Lee
“On every one. From the very beginning I get a Convenience Store license from the previous City Council and this allow me, like the other people who get convenience store license, allows me to open twenty-four-seven. They sue me for not having the liquor license.”

Marion Ali
“You don’t have a liquor license?”

Archie Lee
“I have, I told so to the Magistrate I have. I prove that I have.”

Marion Ali
“But why did they take you to court for not having it?”

Archie Lee
“They come when and then I think on twenty-sixth of February they come so worry and then by that time I call City Council and I also call the chairman and I want to make them to talk to say I have a liquor license, especially I call city council, I call the person named Troy Smith. Mr. Troy Smith say okay make I talk to the guy. But the one who is in charge of operations, Mr. Yama, he don’t want to answer no phone. He don’t want to answer no phone.”

Marion Ali
“How you think this is happening to you Mr. Archie?”

Archie Lee
“I believe politically, I believe. Something I want to say something that’s more worse. Since this case start to hearing in the court, every weekend after quarter pass twelve the Special Constable from City Council come here and force me to close, every weekend. I ask the person why and they say somebody specially send them to here to make sure I close.”

Marion Ali
“Are you breaking any law?”

Archie Lee
“I don’t think so. I don’t think so. They come with police to say I have to close.”

Marion Ali
“Okay, but with respect to the forty odd charges you were taken to court, what will come out of that? They confiscated some liquor I think, is now spoilt right?”

Archie Lee
“Only this time they move all the liquor, only this time. For the previous charge they never took none. I noh check it because they have—I believe between five and ten thousand.”

Marion Ali
“In beers and stuff?”

Archie Lee
“In beer and stuff.”

Marion Ali
“That’s spoiled now right?”

Archie Lee
“I feel so.”

Marion Ali
“So now that you won the case what will happen? Did the magistrate tell you?”

Archie Lee
“I tell the magistrate I don’t pick up what they carry, I don’t know how they store those liquor so I don’t want it back so either they give me back in cash or if they want to say they can buy it back I say they will have to buy it back in front of me. They have to carry me to buy it.”

But while the license was signed by Mayor Zenaida Moya, she claims she was not aware that Lee was experiencing problems and News Five tried to reach the Councillor in charge of Liquor Licenses, Leila Peyrefitte, who indicated to us that she had no comment to make. The Council retained Attorney Lionel Welch to prosecute Lee while Lee’s attorney was Dickie Bradley.

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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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