Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley has said he is pleased with the level of consultation for the Liquor Licences Act, 2019, noting that it was important that a cross-section of persons was engaged.
Speaking during the debate on the bill at the Eighth Sitting of the Fourth Session of the Fourth House of Assembly at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff’s Bottom on November 15, 2022, Dr Wheatley said, “It is important when you make legislation that you engage persons who are involved in the activity, whether persons who are patrons or persons who are business owners.”
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the
Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley has said he is pleased with the level of
consultation for the Liquor License Act 2019, noting that it was
important that a cross section of persons was engaged.
‘I don’t know if I have sinned’
It was while making this point that Dr Wheatley said he occasionally indulges in strong drinks.
“I don’t know if I have sinned because I read in the Bible Jesus turned water into wine so that the party could keep going.
“So I don’t know what persons' beliefs are as it pertains to it but I believe everything in moderation…and they say wine good for your heart sometimes. It is made from grapes and grapes are very healthy. So every now and again I am a partaker, just occasionally, in strong drink,” the Premier stated.
The Premier also pointed out that the Liquor Licenses Act, which governs the sale of intoxicating liquor in the Virgin Islands
, was enacted on May 11, 1964. He said since then few amendments have been made, with the last revision dating back to 1981.
New changes proposed
Among the changes in the new act currently in committee stage, instead of police officers doing the inspection of premises for the liquor licensng process, the Minister will designate suitable public officers to act as inspectors.
“The idea, Madam Speaker, is to have a team of inspectors to conduct the inspections.”
Also, under the current act, the Magistrate hears applications on only two days per year; however, the new act caters for more hearing days, which would eliminate the need for temporary liquor licenses to be issued by the Governor.