The Chamber of Commerce has written to Minister Charles Clifford sharing concerns from member businesses about what it calls ‘the lack of consultation’ regarding Cabinet’s decision not to extend the hours for licensed establishments on New Year’s Eve.
A release outlines that the letter was written to the Minister for Tourism following concerns which were expressed by members in the restaurant and entertainment industries during a special meeting on Wednesday, 16 November with the Chamber executive.
‘In the letter, dated 21 November, Chamber President Mr. Joseph Hew informed the Minister that member industry representatives expressed concern about the lack of consultation with the sector and how late in the year the decision was made by Cabinet,’ the release states.
When the New Year’s Eve decision was announced, Minister Clifford said it was thoroughly considered and input from the public and various organisations was taken into account.
The Chamber’s release goes on to say that, ‘The member representatives warned of a potential increase in road traffic and crime, particularly as the public opts to attend private parties or unlicensed sessions rather than remaining at a licensed establishment that must close before midnight.’
It also says that the member representatives cited potential for significant lost revenues and unrecoverable pre-paid expenses.
‘The Chamber acknowledged that the views of all of its 684 members had yet to be solicited, but the Chamber will continue to consult with members in this industry sector to determine the overall economic impact of the decision which will be shared with the Ministry.’
Illegal drinking sessions
Meanwhile, since the law banning live music and alcohol sales past midnight on New Year’s Eve is to be upheld, the Liquor Licensing Board will not be entertaining any bar extensions for the occasion.
Chairman of the Liquor Licensing Board Mitchell Welds warned against people who attempt to set up their own illegal drinking sessions. Those who try to get around the law by having a party and charging a gate price that includes alcohol will be breaking the Liquor Licensing Law and they will also be breaking the Music and Dance Law. The police have also said they will be vigilant in cracking down on illegal drinking sessions.
According to the Liquor Licensing Law, bona-fide guests of a hotel may consume, at any time, intoxicating liquor in any part of the licensed premises reserved for the use of guests and not open to the general public (such as their hotel room).
Anywhere there is an admission charge, where food or refreshment is available at a charge and which is licensed under the Liquor Licensing Law there must be a Music and Dance licence.
Exempted premises for Sunday music and dancing include cinemas, places with bona fide dramatic entertainment (such as theatres), areas of a hotel which are not open to the general public and to which there is no charge for admission; and town halls.