No Alcohol to be sold on Good Friday!
Thursday, April 5th, 2012
The San Pedro Police Department is reiterating that there should be no alcohol sold on Good Friday.
According to the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act Chapter 150 of the Laws of Belize section 27 states that:
” 1. (a) all licensed premises in which liquor is sold under a publican’s general license shall be closed – on Christmas Day and Good Friday;
2. (a) All licensed premises in which liquor is sold under a malt liquor and cider license shall be closed – on Christmas Day and Good Friday
3. Any person who during the times at which any licensed premises are required by this section to be closed
(a) sells or exposes for sale in such premises any liquor; or
(b) opens or keeps open such premises for the sale of liquor; or
(c) allows any liquor, although purchased before the hours of closing, to be consumed on such premises, is guilty of an offence”
Vienie Robinson, Officer in Charge of the San Pedro Police Formation and Assistant Superintendent of Police, has stated that the police will be in full force enforcing the law. ASP Robinson explained that there is no provision that allows for the sale of alcohol before midnight Friday. She warned that police will be conducting a special operation with spontaneous spot checks to ensure that all establishments abide by the law. ASP Robinson went on to caution that if ANY establishment is caught breaking the law will be closed immediately. In addition, those who are caught breaking the law will be arrested and detained until they appear before the court until Tuesday.
The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) however, has advised establishments that they are allowed to sell alcohol after 9PM on Friday. When asked if the SPTC have asked for special provisions regarding the law, ASP Robinson said, “They want me to break the law and that will not happen.”
Mayor of San Pedro Daniel Guerrero explained that the Council got the go ahead from the Minister of Tourism Honorable Manuel Heredia to allow establishments to sell alcohol starting at 9PM on Good Friday. When questioned about this matter Heredia said that during a meeting, ASP Robinson was informed about the traditional provision for Ambergris Caye given that it is a tourism destination. While Heredia agrees that by allowing establishments to open at 9PM on Good Friday contravenes the law, he indicated that there is an economic factor that he would want to see a special provision made for San Pedro. However ASP Robinson indicated to both Mayor Guerrero and Hon. Heredia that the law of Belize is the law of the land and that it will be enforced.
In an interview with Hon. Heredia, The San Pedro Sun was told that the Minister of Police Hon. John Saldivar is aware of the situation and had promised Heredia that San Pedro would be allowed the sale of alcohol on Good Friday starting at 9PM.
Acting Commissioner of Police David Henderson said that he will be taking up the issue with the Liquor License Board and that “I will not get into any back and forth. I will look at the situation and I will take a decision by tonight.”
Since 1994, establishments on Ambergris Caye have traditionally been allowed to sell alcohol on Good Friday within an agreed time. ASP Robinson maintains that traditions do not override the law and as far as the Police are concerned, they will enforce the law.
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