A long time in coming but we got there
I join Bermudians from all walks of life in celebrating the coming into operation of the Liquor Licence Amendment Act 2019 this week. The amendments represent the first comprehensive, legislative overhaul of Bermuda’s liquor-licensing regime in nearly half a century.
This demonstrates not only the Progressive Labour Party’s commitment to forward progress and real reform, but also our commitment to balancing the ever-evolving needs of a business while protecting our people from excessive alcohol consumption.
The liquor-licensing process has been modernised and streamlined through:
• The creation of a single streamlined Liquor Licensing Authority with five members representing various backgrounds and economic sectors such as law, security, drug treatment, prevention or social work, hospitality, and retail. This to ensure all viewpoints are factored into their decisions to more effectively safeguard the interests of society
In addition to reforming the governance structure, other measures include:
• Creation of a new class of permit for restaurants offering catering services
• Creation of new classes of licence in relation to itinerant restaurants and special events
• Creation of a special-event licence for private, non-profit events; public events for profit; or non-profit events held to promote a product through sampling such as wine tasting. This will enable more entrepreneurs to potentially participate and provide innovative and creative events for both locals and our visitors
• Provisions for fees for the new classes of licence
• Update of fees and fines for existing licences and offences respectively
• Additional provisions for inspectors to be appointed to ensure enforcement. The new inspection regime makes provision for collaboration between duly-appointed persons and the Bermuda Police Service to ensure that the terms and conditions upon which licences are granted are upheld. These measures demonstrate the heightened priority placed upon compliance and enforcement
Our reform of the liquor-licensing law took into consideration recommendations of the senior magistrate as former chairman of the Liquor Licensing Authority, social and legal concerns, and commercial interests.
The amendments further reflect modern practices regarding alcohol sale, consumption and regulation.
The result is a streamlined process that lessens delays of applications that are submitted by the required due date, a Bermuda that is more in line with comparative jurisdictions and a Bermuda better equipped to balance the economic advancement of business with the safe and responsible sale and consumption of alcohol.
• Michael Scott is a government backbencher and the MP for Sandys North (Constituency 36)
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