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Jun 25, 2013

Sobering meeting to develop alcohol policy

That lucky family will be drunk on the experience of watching the Jaguars play in the international arena. But in the future, getting intoxicated may be subject to a policy in development. The Pan American Health Organization, PAHO, is holding a three day sub regional meeting on the development of an alcohol policy for English speaking CARICOM states. The regional initiative is to provide technical assistance in working towards the development of policies and services that would lead to the reduction of the consumption and demand of alcohol. Three CARICOM countries, including Belize, currently have the framework of a national alcohol policy in place and there is much needed work. The meeting is being held at the Radisson and it features representatives from several countries. It is geared to discuss how alcohol can be regulated without affecting economic development in the private sector.


Esner Vellos, Director, NDACC, Ministry of Health

Esner Vellos

“Since 2010, the Ministry of health has embarked on a proactive approach towards achieving these initiatives. The National Drug Abuse Control Council in that year assumed responsibility over the direction in terms of developing a national alcohol policy. In 2011, we have designed the first draft of this policy that encompassed a number of ministries—precisely seven ministries of government, a number of government departments that work in the area of social issues…nongovernmental organizations and civil society came together so that we would be able to discuss the issue and plan the policy and the way forward towards implementing the policy here in Belize.”


Maristela Monteiro

Dr. Maristela Monteiro, PAHO

“It can be a long process. It is negotiation…alcohol policy impacts other sectors of the government. It is not only about treating people with alcohol dependency. It is mostly about regulating how alcohol is provided, is offered, is available, the pricing, the marketing; all the sponsorships that happen. It has to be a governmental approach. But you have to start somewhere and I think the goal of this meeting now is to provide what is the knowledge, what are the experiences from around the world and to demonstrate that it is possible at the same time to regulate alcohol and have economic development. Those two things are not separate; actually they need to move together. It cannot be developed at the expense of the health of the people.”


Esner Vellos

“The policy in general aspects contains areas in terms of accessibility, affordability; in terms of making sure that we will be able to review the exiting alcohol laws including the liquor licensing act, the road traffic accident…laws that are in terms that look at the reduction of traffic accidents and the consumption of alcohol; the incorporation of the breathalyzers and these kinds of stuff. So all of these components is a part of the national policy that looks at the reduction of alcohol consumption in Belize.”


The draft policy, according to Vellos, calls for the creation of a national alcohol plan that could eventually be implemented. Another initiative that had some success was to limit the use of Tobacco. May thirty-first is recognized as World No Tobacco Day and the Pan American Health Organization called on countries throughout the Americas to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in an effort to reduce the consumption of tobacco which kills hundreds of thousands of people every year. Several countries had adopted this ban over the years.

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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2 Responses for “Sobering meeting to develop alcohol policy”

  1. John Doe says:

    How about a Smoking Policy?

    I believe it is just as or more important as the smoke affects everyone including the children. It is painful to see adults smoking next to kids especially parents.

    Good initiative on the alcohol policy by the way, next should be Smoking Policy.

  2. venus says:

    Before a policy on alcohol we need a policy on fundraising in primary schools.

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