The Police Department is clamping down on the abuse of alcohol, which it says is one of the main factors that lead to crimes being committed. Yesterday, Commissioner of Police Chester Williams revealed to the media that his Department will be looking at a stiffer implementation of liquor license rules. The less drinking of liquor, the safer our communities will be, according to the ComPol.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
“There was a directive sent out to all Commanders country wide on the needs for us to take more seriously the alcohol related offences. The intoxicating liquor license act clearly outlines a number of offences for which we believe that as Police Officers we are not taking these laws more seriously and so we are pointing out to the Commanders that you know these laws do exists and having looked at the crimes being committed across the country we have come to the conclusion that many of these crimes are alcohol driver and so if it is that we can control the consumption and sale of alcohol that it will be able to make us very successful with the fight against crime, now it is not to say that we are telling anybody whether of not they should consume alcohol we are simply saying that if you consume alcohol you must d it lawfully meaning that we are not to tolerate or condone any public drinking or any assembly in front of any store or liquor establishment or minors buying alcohol or selling alcohol, we are not going to condone or tolerate minors going to night clubs or we are not going to tolerate or condone any liquor license premise to be open beyond the time prescribe by law and so we are very serious about enforcing these laws with a view to make our citizens more safer either within the community itself or on our highways because while we have done our analysis on the murders is committed where alcohol is involved we are not truly looked at the amount of fatal traffic accidents on our highways that also involve alcohol and so if we are to combine both crime and traffic related incidents you will see that alcohol is responsible for more than fifty percent of deaths in Belize and we need to find a way to ensure that we reduce that.”
The ComPol added that the Police is looking at ways to revamp to current laws that deal with liquor license, to get tough on the establishments who break the rules.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
“For every time a bar closes is a plus for me, the less bar we have the safer our societies will be and I know for a fact that the intoxicating liquor license act clearly restrict the granting of license to premises that are close to certain areas like a church or a school and am sure you will agree with me that we have a number of liquor establishments that are of close proximity of a school or a church and these are things that we need to change and we are currently crafting another memorandum that we will be sending out to the different liquor licensing board chairman across the country where we will be asking them to work with us on several issues and some of those issues will include: the limitation in a grant of extensions beyond in the opening hours, in the case of night clubs two and in the case of public and special events until twelve midnight, when there are special occasions of whenever they issue a special license we are asking them to make it clear as a condition of the license that the area that will be assigned for the sale of alcohol be cordon off from the events where it will be held and that will be done with the view to ensure that minors are not within the areas where the alcohol will be sold or consumed. We are also asking them to see how they can work with us in closing down some of these establishments that doesn’t meet the need and the requirements and I am happy to say that we have had great success in Belmopan and Dangriga where the liquor licensing board have also worked with the police in closing down a number of these establishments and we want to see these success in other parts of the country.”
Liquor licenses are issued by a Liquor Licensing board which is headed by a Chairman who is appointed by the Minister of Local Government. A representative of the municipal government, normally the Mayor, sits on the Board as an ex-officio member, which means without the power to vote.