Minister of Small Business and Commerce Dwight Sutherland (FILE)
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If changes to the Liquor Licence Act are approved, applicants will have to wait only a week to know if they are successful.
Currently it can take up to four months for people to receive their licences, and Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce Dwight Sutherland expressed concern about this situation.
“To have you apply for a liquor licence, to sell liquor, which is a commercial activity that drives the economy, and for you to take three and four months . . . you apply and it goes to the police, magistrate and it goes back to the police.
“When we did our mapping, we found some 1 000 liquor licences sitting down in the Holetown Court waiting to be approved, and when we dug further – and this is no fault of the clerk – we recognised the clerks were the ones approving those applications and not the magistrates, and that is a cause for concern,” Sutherland said.
He was speaking at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Friday during a second national stakeholders consultation that was attended by Government officials, members of the private sector and officials from the National Council on Substance Abuse.
The Liquor Licence Act has been in effect since 1957 and, for at least the past 20 years, both administrations have tried to make changes to the act. If the amendments are made, a Liquor Licensing Authority will police the legislation.
“So with the repeal and replacement you have the process moving from some three months to some seven days and it will be done on a digital platform so you can apply online via credit card.
“If you don’t have a credit card, we have set up the facility at the Post Offices throughout Barbados so you can pay. Once you can pay, you journey to the Ministry of Small Business, we have an arm called the Liquor Licensing Authority and I’m speaking assuming the legislation will come to books,” Sutherland said. (TG)