As we approach the third sitting of the Liquor Licensing Board since applications were approved for gas stations to sell alcohol, my Freedom of Information request is still being investigated as to the Cabinet order prohibiting gas stations from selling alcohol. The Cabinet order has not been repealed.
During the Dec. 5, 2016 meeting of the Liquor Licensing Board, Prentice Panton (Liquor For Less), David Khouri (Bottle Stop liquors) and Robert Hamaty (Tortuga Fine Wine and Spirits) objected to a package license application for a Rubis gas station operated by Gary Rutty/Peanut Limited. We advised the Acting Chairman Mr. Woody DaCosta that our research showed that from 2002 to the date of the meeting, the Cabinet order prohibiting gas stations from selling alcohol had not been repealed.
We requested the chairman to check with the attorney general before even considering the grant as we felt the board had no legal rights to grant it. We were ignored and the acting chairman granted the license relying on arguments submitted by Cline Glidden, attorney for Garry Rutty/the gas station, that lifting the moratorium automatically repealed that order. We provided proof to the board and submitted copies of Section 27 (a) and Section 29 (1) and (2) of the Interpretation Law (1995 Revision) which provides that a Cabinet order can only be repealed in the manner it was made and that no gazette order existed which showed that the prohibition had been repealed.
At the second quarterly session of the Liquor Licensing Board, the acting chairman granted four more liquor licenses to gas stations. My personal FOI request had by this time been filed, the initial response being that the Cabinet order had not been repealed. This was quickly followed by a subsequent reversal in an email stating that the Cabinet order had been repealed and this was an “administrative error.” I again submitted another FOI and copied the attorney general who responded. This needs further investigation. This is where we are today.
Personally, my views are that the board erred and that all liquor licenses granted to gas stations are ultra vires and therefore null and void.