Make liquor store hours even

There are liquor stores that are open longer hours, well at least some longer than others:

2 in West Bay

1 in George Town (currently closed for repairs)

3 in Bodden Town

1 in East End

Maybe more but who counting right!

It’s not a question of if it can be done, it’s been done and has been done for many years now, but only by a selected few. This can be done very easy, solely by a discussion of the chairman and the broad when they see it fit. It’s already approved and written in law. So the real question should be WHY only the selected few, one can only guess, we have never been given a clear answer!

If the liquor board and the chairman thinks it’s such a bad idea for us to have longer hours, why don’t they take away the longer hours of the stores that have it? I’m not calling for that of course, but what I’m calling for the last six years, many, many times now, is to have a level playing field.

If people think it’s a bad idea for reasons of crime, DUI and the like, then let’s take a fair and open look at this matter. I’m asking the press and the general public to ask themselves, the government, the board and the chairman, where was/are the largest number of shootings, robberies and murders? If it’s West Bay as I believe, ask yourself why the board doesn’t make the two stores there close at 7pm like the majority of the liquor stores on Island?

But wait, there are/was shooting, robberies and murder in all districts on the Island, so that can’t be the reason right? We’ve had four armed robberies in our stores in the last year, yet we didn’t have the longer hours, our George Town liquor stores were all closed at the time of our robberies and maybe even all the murders. On West Bay Road there’s no liquor store open past 7pm yet there is still shooting, robberies and murders, so it can’t be the liquor stores that are forced to close three hours earlier then some others to blame for this crime right?

DUI, well maybe that’s the reason why we can’t have the same hours as others? But one only needs to look at the facts, people are getting DUI 24/7, a very serious problem, I agree, yet most liquor stores are only open 10am-7pm Monday through Saturday; I say most because again only a selected few can now open until 10pm Monday through Saturday.

Doesn’t the general public not know that you only need to go to any bar, restaurant or nightclub, ask for a full bottle of wine, spirits or a full case of beer, that you can get it to go? All be it you would pay a lot more than if you shop with us, but the point is you can still get it and take it with you legally right now! And yes, that’s up until 2am in the morning Monday through Friday, 11.45pm Saturday and even Sundays when all liquor stores are closed.

You can now take what is readily available from any liquor store, restaurant, bar, nightclub go back to a private residence or anywhere for that matter and drink it 24/7 until you are over the limit, get back into your car drive on the road ways and end up with a DUI or worse.

Well maybe it’s because no one in George Town ever works late, everyone gets off at 5pm right? So the people of George Town and West Bay road don’t need any fully stocked liquor store open past 7pm; that’s a whole two hours to shop on your way home. But just in case, there is a little more traffic than usual, there’s only one spot in George Town; a gas station, which stocks a much smaller section of beer, wines or sprites, but it’s closed now. So you have to wait until they reopen, but no rush right? We still have a few more weeks until Christmas. I’m sure all your staff, friends and family will understand if you do not have alcohol at your party or dinners or you could just simply drive to West Bay, Bodden Town or East End. If you want to do a interesting exercise, go to West Bay, Bodden Town or East End after let’s say 8pm, do a poll and ask the question the customers, which district to do live and work in? And I’m sure most would said George Town and West Bay Road. So maybe the reason is not crime, DUI but economics; could that be the reason why? Like I said earlier, I don’t know why, can someone help us out and let us all know the reasons why? Because my possible reason the law does not, as far as I know, allow for that to happen; it’s illegal as far as I know, but I’m no lawyer. So if there is at least one lawyer that sometimes has to work late, say past 5pm, and agrees with me, feel free to contacted me. Maybe we can sue the government and board since that seems to be the latest fashion is the answer we all looking for.

Again, is stopping the vast majority of liquor stores in George Town and West Bay Road that have the same licence, paying the same fees is not stopping crime, DUI etc. What it is stopping is fair competition, which as far as I know is not against the laws of this country and most if not all countries around the world. Use the fees, the very high duties (around $14 for a case of beer, $12 per litre, $21.50 for a cartoon of cigarettes, etc.) to do better policing, early school prevention programmes, drug and alcohol treatment centres etc, not wrongfully punishing the business that are finding it very hard to stay open due to the poor discussions of a board and a government that is willing to stick to their discussions. We got turned down again by the board on the 9th December and have asked for a written answer as to why and we want the minutes of the board meeting. I went to the 22nd September meeting, was put off like many others, saying we would have our opportunity to present our case, but as far as I know only one person showed up to the meeting. They put the 21 day notice that is required in the 17th of November paper, but I’m guessing many, if not all that want to come out and be heard did not see the ad in the newspaper.

We have a petition with over 600 signatures from people all over the Island supporting us in our right to open, wanting us to have the same 10pm hours. If you would like to support out petition, please come to any of our Reflection, Food 4 Less or Liquor for Less store.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and God Bless us all!

Prentice E. Panton

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