Gov’t defends New Year’s decision

To allow extra licensing time on New Year’s Eve this year would have required a change in the law, not just a simple extension, said Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts.

And Mr. Tibbetts told the Cabinet press briefing on Friday that after serious consideration he was certain the government had made the right decision about New Year’s Eve.

Mr. Tibbetts, who pointed out how infrequently New Year’s Eve fell on a Saturday night into Sunday, said a lot of people did not realise that it was not a circumstance where a extension could simply be granted.

A meeting of the Legislative Assembly would have had to be called to change the law, which had existed for a long time, he said.

Minister Alden McLaughlin said he felt the Chamber of Commerce had presented the matter in an unfair way.

They had made it look like the government had banned activities when in fact the law, which had stood for many years, set out what was permitted and what was not, he said.

The decision had been taken not to amend the law and that was different from banning something, he told the briefing.

Mr. Tibbetts said he could not understand why some people, in anticipation of a decision and without asking anyone about it, had apparently gone buying lots of things and making arrangements. He said he would not run a business like that.

Minister Charles Clifford said even those people who had spent money on things like fireworks could use a bit of creativity and still have their establishments benefit from some type of celebration.