Liquor Licence Amendment Act Tabled

March 15, 2019

The Liquor Licence Amendment Bill 2019 was tabled in the Legislature “to introduce much needed reforms to our liquor licensing laws,” Attorney-General Kathy Simmons said.

Attorney-General Simmons said, “The Bill marks the first comprehensive reform of the Liquor Licence Act, which came into operation 45 years ago in 1974. This reform is a milestone in Government’s efforts to ensure that alcohol is sold or supplied within a comprehensive legal framework that provides various stringent licensing requirements.

“The amendments will modernize the application process for a licence or permit by reconstituting the Liquor Licensing Authority as one authority rather than separate licensing authorities for three licensing districts.

“The structure of a Liquor Licensing Authority for each of the three licensing districts has been in place since 1974, which ensured representation from each parish on each separate Liquor Licencing Authority.

“The Senior Magistrate is the statutory chairman of each licensing authority with the Governor appointing the deputy chair and the remaining members of each licensing authority [three residents from each parish within a licensing district].

“The Bill proposes a modernized single Liquor Licencing Authority that has 7 members, as opposed to 10, appointed by the Minister responsible for liquor licensing. One of the anticipated benefits of reforming the structure of the Liquor Licensing Authority is the selection of members to represent different professional backgrounds and sectors of the economy in accordance with prescribed criteria. In particular, the membership of the reformed Liquor Licensing Authority will include:

  • a barrister with at least 8 years’ experience;
  • a person with knowledge of and a background in security;
  • a person with knowledge, experience and expertise in drug treatment and prevention or social work;
  • a person with knowledge and experience in the hospitality industry; and
  • a person with knowledge and experience in the retail sector.

“The Bill makes provision for a catering permit to allow the holder of a Restaurant Licence under the Liquor Licence Act 1974 to sell or supply alcohol at events catered at a venue outside of the restaurant.

“In addition, a person who operates an itinerant restaurant may be granted a licence authorizing that person to sell or supply intoxicating liquor to persons attending an event or gathering. Provision is also made for the grant 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.

“During the 45 years since the Act came into operation, there has been no comprehensive review of the fees charged for granting a liquor licence or the fines imposed for violations. Therefore, the fees and fines under the Act have been modernized as well.

“As a complement to these measures, the Minister will issue guidance to assist the public in understanding each class of licence and further streamline the application process.

“The amendments to the Bill take into consideration recommendations of the Senior Magistrate as Chairman of the Liquor Licensing Authorities, social and legal concerns as well as commercial interests. The Bill aims to address stakeholder concerns and reflects modern practices regarding alcohol sale, consumption and regulation.”

The full Liquor Licence Amendment Act 2019 follows below [PDF here]

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Comments (15)

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  1. Yup yup says:

    ‘Provision is also made for the grant 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.’

    - What about charities hosting events to raise funds? These are neither ‘non-profit events’ nor ‘public events for profit’.

    Often these are the sole or major source of funding for smaller charities. I hope the provisions of this Act don’t destroy their ability to operate! e.g. increased cost of licences, excessive stipulations such as TIPS certification, excessive security for events that don’t need it etc.

    • sage says:

      Oh yes, let’s disregard completely the death and destuction, the addiction, the lives ruined, and make it easier to ply people with liquor, fantastic.

      • Black Soil says:

        The PLP have taken over the Liquor Licensing Authority. They have effectively fired the Senior Magistrate who is independent from politics and replaced him with a PLP puppet. DRINK UP !!!!!!!!!

    • sandgrownan says:

      Being PLP introduced legislation, you just know it hasn’t been thought out completely.

      Your last question/comment is a good one.

  2. JohnBoy says:

    With all due respect, our AG is a beautiful woman!

  3. Stephen Thomson says:

    This is very positive.
    We were so behind the times in this regard.
    Now, Harbour Nights needs to be immediately solved. These sorts of outdoor events occur all over the world and serving beer and wine is simply a normal occurrence.
    I strongly support this legislation to update our archaic laws in this aregard. After all, we are supposed to be a tourist destination.

    • Awww says:

      You have CHILDREN everywhere at Harbor Nights so there be no children in bars areas so no to that idea!!!

      • inna says:

        You must be so much fun at parties !!!

      • Stephen Thomson says:

        And there are no children in restaurants when you are having dinner and customers are enjoying a glass of wine right?
        Wow, how bizarre is this section of Bermuda

        • Awww says:

          I hope God forgives your views on children around alcohol in an open setting! Not restaurants as that is controlled

    • sage says:

      Harbour Nights is held on the doorstep of a half dozen bars, do you need the liquor to be served right in the street? Pretty sure I have seen things like this before anyway, when the laws were softened for the AC. I have seen pop up bars at ‘family friendly’ events for ages, probably why, according to stats, children start drinking at 8 years old, mirroring the fine example of the adults who absolutely cannot have a good time without booze, a harmful, addictive drug that is widely abused and results in a substantial amount of deaths every year.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        Why should it be only the Front Street bars that profit from Harbour Nights? Why not allow other sections of the community to take the risk and maybe make some profit?

        • Awww says:

          No! This would be anarchy run amuck! Street vendors don’t have to supply security and controls like licensed bars do! There should be NO ALCOHOL at Harbor Nights!!

  4. NO MORE WAR says:

    A step in the right direction. The bars should be required to have recordable CCTV and must provide same to police when requested.

  5. Hmmmm says:

    Nothing wrong with alcohol at Harbour nights! Basic carding requirement, not serving people who have had too much is all that is required. Most people Don’t stay for hours upon hours at Harbour nights. We should ban TV in Bermuda, just in case the kids are exposed to anything. Internet should be banned, should also ban religion, all the death, killing, barbaric and sexual references in the Bible cannot be good for kids. Ridiculous nanny state mindset. Listen to yourselves.