Column: Modernized Liquor Licencing Process

May 15, 2019

[Opinion column written by MP Michael Scott]

I join Bermudians of all walks of life in celebrating the coming into operation of the Liquor Licence Amendment Act 2019 earlier this week. The amendments represent the first comprehensive legislative overhaul of Bermuda’s liquor licensing regime in nearly half a century.

This demonstrates not only the Progressive Labour Party’s commitment to forward progress and real reform but also our commitment to balancing the ever-evolving needs of a business while protecting our people from excessive alcohol consumption.

The Liquor Licencing process has been modernized and streamlined through

  • The Creation of a single streamlined Liquor Licensing Authority with five members representing various backgrounds and economic sectors such as law, security, drug treatment, prevention or social work, hospitality, and retail. This to ensure all viewpoints are factored into their decisions to more effectively safeguard the interests of society.

In addition to reforming the governance structure, other measures include:

  • Creation of a new class of permit for restaurants offering catering services;
  • Creation of new classes of licence in relation to itinerant restaurants and special events;
  • Creation of a special event licence for private, non-profit events; public events for profit; or non-profit events held to promote a product through sampling such as wine tasting. This will enable more entrepreneurs to potentially participate and provide innovative and creative events for both locals and our visitors;
  • Provisions for fees for the new classes of licence;
  • Update of fees and fines for existing licences and offences respectively; and
  • Additional provisions for inspectors to be appointed to ensure enforcement. The new inspection regime makes provision for collaboration between duly appointed persons and the Bermuda Police Service to ensure that the terms and conditions upon which licences are granted are upheld. These measures demonstrate the heightened priority placed upon compliance and enforcement.

Our reform of the Liquor Licensing law took into consideration recommendations of the Senior Magistrate as former Chairman of the Liquor Licensing Authorities, social and legal concerns as well as commercial interests. The amendments further reflect modern practices regarding alcohol sale, consumption and regulation.

The result is a streamlined process that lessens delays of applications that are submitted by the required due date, a Bermuda that is more in line with comparative jurisdictions and a Bermuda better equipped to balance the economic advancement of business with the safe and responsible sale and consumption of alcohol.

- MP Michael Scott


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  1. sage says:

    Who told you Bermudians of “all walks of life” are celebrating what essentially is loosening restrictions on an already lightly regulated addictive and harmful drug? Again we put liquor dealers profits ahead of public safety, since protecting oligarchical legacies built on peddling a dangerous drug and providing opportunities for ‘entremanures’ to get rich quick with little or no regard, and zero accountability, to the trail of destruction resulting is apparently paramount. When another of the 5-8 people who die every year due to “drugs and alcohol” crashes we shall hear the oft repeated refrain, “anyone who knows of this persons movements prior to crashing, contact police” then as usual no more will be done or said. Another one bites the dust.