In 1998 the government and legislature, of which we were ministers, passed the Liquor Licensing Amendment (Protection of Minors and Need for Licensed Premises) Law.
First, it brought in harsher penalties for selling liquor to young persons younger than 18 years of age and added other protections for such minors. Secondly, no new liquor licence could be granted to premises within 1,500 feet of any parcel of land on which had been built a church, community centre or school.
No new licence premises could be situated in low, medium or high density residential areas.
In 1999 by a further amendment our government suspended the grant of all new liquor licences except hotels and occasional licenses.
In 2002 the UDP Government passed Orders in Cabinet to allow new liquor licences but the only restriction on the grant was no licences to gas stations. PPM and UDP have not put back in the restrictions against liquor licences near to churches, schools and civic centres in the orders we have seen.
We believe it is wrong to allow liquor licensed premises near to churches, schools and civic centres and in residential areas and there are enough already established.
We call on the PPM to bring back the protection to our churches, schools, civic centres and residential neighbourhoods from licensed premises, which protection the UDP failed to bring back on new licences. Savannah District and Elmslie United Church are just some of several experiencing problems.
Some ministers of religion seem to focus on human rights and sex in their communications.
Maybe a letter from the Ministers Association on liquor licensed premises will help to push the PPM to bring back the necessary restrictions to disallow further grants of licences near churches, schools, civic centres and residential neighbourhoods, which UDP did not.
If we do not protect our children, our churches and our neighbourhoods we fail miserably and jeopardise everyone’s future.
John McLean – Truman Bodden