BVI News

Liquor Licensing Board to be established! Cameras, security will be required to sell alcohol

Group of various bottles of alcohol on the wooden bar counter

Legislation is being implemented to establish a special board to approve liquor licenses and to make it mandatory for businesses to install surveillance cameras and hire security guards in order to get a license to sell alcoholic beverages.

This legislation has been titled the Liquor License Act and is currently being deliberated in the House of Assembly.

Giving an overview of the Bill on Thursday, June 18, Premier Andrew Fahie said establishing a Liquor Licensing Board will lift the burden from the Magistrate’s Court who is currently responsible for approving liquor licences.

Composition of Liquor Licensing Board

The Liquor Licensing Board will comprise a legal practitioner, a representative of the BVI Tourist Board, and a representative from the Ministry of Finance nominated by the Finance Minister. The Licensing Board will also include a senior member of the police force as well as persons with backgrounds in social work and religion.

“This is a very revolutionary process that is being done by the Government of the Virgin Islands,” the Premier said. “There is going to be a Liquor Licensing Board and this goes to ensure that the business of the people is put in such a process that it speeds up the licensing and the whole processing of the liquor licensing, and also in terms of the payment and the renewal and everything that needs to be done to help business people to move a lot faster, more efficient, and even more accessible.”

Licensing process streamlined

Contributing to the debate on the legislation, government minister Kye Rymer noted that the Liquor Licensing Board also eliminates other departments from the process.

For example, the current process requires persons applying for a temporary license to do so through the Deputy Governor’s Office.

The current process to get a temporary liquor licensing

“With the presence of this Bill, it would eliminate that tedious process,” Rymer stated.

Security guards and cameras

In the meantime, government legislator Dr Wheatley has called on local business owners to familiarize themselves with the legislation.

“For instance, this Act will tell you that you have to have working security cameras, and while it might be an expense on the business owner, I think in these days and times the BVI is not as it was before,” he stated.

He continued: “If you have an establishment with 50 persons or less, you have to have one security officer. If you have between 50 and 100 persons, you need two security officers and a hundred or more you will need three security officers.”

He said even small businesses such as ‘mom and pop shops’ selling liquor must also comply with the requirements.

Offences and penalties

The legislation also addresses the offence of selling liquor to minors.

“If you so much as get a minor to buy a drink for yourself, you can face a $1,000 fine. If an adult buy a drink for a minor that is another $1,000 fine,” he stated.

He said the Act also places responsibility on the establishments that would allow persons who are drunk to enter into an establishment and to serve them alcoholic beverages.

He said this is an offence and non-compliant owners will be prosecuted.

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58 Comments

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  1. Please says:

    These people crazy you all need to come down on this ineffective police force to do their job instead of putting it on the business community you ever here more stupidness.

    This is to provide work for their cronies security company friends why would any government pass such legislation. Even in st.Thomas where it is a cowboy town and free for fall don’t pass such stupidness.

    Like 41
    Dislike 3
    • Hmm!! says:

      So true smh.. this govt really doing too much

      Like 11
    • Johnny Walk Home says:

      LOL stay home and drink…invite some friends over and let the party begin

      Like 12
    • Tourist Board says:

      You would think the worthless Tourist Board would be up in arms about this. This will do more harm to Tourism then any other single act since the Africans were allowed to rule. But then again if the Tourist Board wasn’t worthless they would be screaming about this. Doesn’t really matter. You don’t have tourists now and won’t in the future

      Like 9
      Dislike 1
  2. LOL says:

    So you’re telling these little roadside bars to have a security guard? Have you guys nothing better to do than to keep making things harder for everyone already struggling? It’s obvious that bigger places like clubs would need security but a small roadside bar that seats 10 people should hire a security guard?

    Like 47
    Dislike 1
  3. strupes says:

    more assishness

    Like 23
  4. strupes says:

    more assishness…a beer will now cost $10

    Like 25
    Dislike 1
  5. vg Resident says:

    Why do they need a security guard? Very expensive for no results. So if you have cameras, now you also need a switcher system as well as non-volatile memory. What are the cameras going to looking at. Also think about the loss of privacy for the persons asking for a drink at a restaurant. I don’t want my mug showing up in security cameras.

    Like 31
    Dislike 1
  6. vip heckler says:

    This is not a tough decision it is a stupid one

    Like 30
  7. Lmfao says:

    You voted in the Foy and all he has done is figured out more ways to collect money from the locals. He’s lays awake at night figuring out every place he can squeeze money. Hope your all enjoying this. He making the BVI the most wanted place to leave.

    Like 28
    Dislike 6
  8. wtf says:

    so every restaurant now muct have security wtf are they thinking about GTFOH and deal with the small business grants you keep saying you giving but today yet again no grant application forms wtf

    Like 11
  9. Hmmmmmmm says:

    LOL …. a 24 hour bar with less than 50 persons will have 1 security officer working 24 hours non stop on a daily basis.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  10. Surveillance & Security says:

    Seems this is creating a Police state mentality through legislation.

    Worst is they dont even consult the public.

    Security is having a field day over and over.

    Is this about really about security or control and economic stimulation of the security field?

    The word its self makes it sound good but is this a good move to require every bar to have a watchman and cameras?

    A huge extra expense.

    All this where people go to relax seems out of touch.

    Like 13
  11. Totko says:

    Who want’s to be in bar where Governments eyes are upon you? I get enough breathing down my neck at work let alone at leisure. This is pure BS!

    Let’s legalize gambling and then put cameras everywhere. Again pure BS!

    Security Guards in general are usually connected to the inside Job. Again and again pure BS!

    Talk about a potential Police State, Holy crap!!

    Where do they come up with this BS anyways?

    Like 15
  12. What? says:

    So mean to tell me say, someone put pen to paper and came up with this and thought it was brilliant idea? So small roadside bars and even restaurants will have to insert security guard. Nonsense!!

    Like 10
  13. Haha says:

    Use current staff to act as a security guard.

  14. peace says:

    Absolute rot.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  15. Rubber Duck says:

    It’s a hooray to be rid of the licensing magistrates office and the horrible people who ran it. Good riddance.

    The cameras may be OK

    The number of security guards is ridiculous. No one will comply and that needs to be changed.

  16. Tourist says:

    I’ve been visiting for the past 20 years. It is time to look for somewhere else to go. Too many new restrictive laws, changes and change in the way people are treating each other. Who wants to be videotaped with a security guard watching while having a meal and drink? Not me! It’s not relaxing or even normal for a lovely Caribbean island where people spend lots of vacation money to go to relax, feel safe, and get away from stress. Adios Amigos…such a shame. But, you have to know there are many other choices in the Caribbean to visit. I feel sorry for the small businesses who have endured the hurricanes, and now Corona, to have to abide by these decisions of nonsense. They will feel it financially and it is sad. I can’t imagine going to the Willie T with a security guard and cameras, or White Bay, or Myett’s, or Cocomaya, or Foxys, or anywhere we love to go. So so intrusive to the business owners and customers. This law should not be approved.

    Like 23
  17. Wow says:

    Corruption at its peak here. More control on the people and still no plan to reopen for those of us who make $ on tourists. Time to move

    Like 14
  18. Foolishness says:

    Rules and laws created by people who havent a clue about business. This definitely hasnt been thought through. More costs for business owners at a time when thats the last thing needed at this time.

    Like 14
  19. Supermarkets... says:

    this will encourage even more people to sit outside the supermarkets and drink

    Like 12
  20. xyz says:

    Yes because the bars don’t follow the law.

    Like 2
    Dislike 4
  21. hardy says:

    As a long time stay on island tourist, (25+) years, this act of a’police state’ requiring security guards at historically peaceful little beach bars/restaurants is illogical. To average tourist it would make them assume they are visiting a dangerous, crime ridden island. How would anyone feel relaxed. Plus food/drink prices would have to be dramatically increased to cover the cost. What happens when ‘scheduled’guard does not post for work. Establishment would have to close so owner would lose income, all employees would lose income.Security cameras should be up to owner not police state government.

    Like 11
  22. Meh Son says:

    This is a solution to problem that does not exists and makes no sense. Why impose an expense on someone to have a security guard to sell liquor? IF so by the case might as well not allow the sale of liquor because you don’t seem to trust the people who are buying alcohol.

    Like 12
  23. Wellsaw says:

    Remember one of the legislators has a security company so he should benefit from this Law. This is ridiculous you can understand if you have a dance or bash.

  24. bob marley says:

    “laws cause crime and violence”

  25. SMH says:

    Time for VIP to go!

    Like 10
    • NO PLAB VIP says:

      By now it should be crystal clear that VIP came to office without a plan. Yes, they had a manifesto but no plan. The thousand Jobs in 1,000 days was pure trickery; like its said in Magic circles, “the swiftness of the hands Deceives the Eyes”. 1,000 days amounts to 3 years. No big deal; 3 years to create those jobs. Without a plan to run a country you will find a government doing all kinds of crazy even impractical and cost prohibitive things. 7% Tax on moneys you send home to feed your family overseas, Gambling Laws in a heavily Church/Religious society of a mere 35,000 population, with more money-making laws to come.
      But then again, you get what you pay for; and you also reap what you sow, (according to the older folks) lol.
      It is also noticeable and scary that none of the government members can boast of having run or operated a business; and yet we expect more?. Like someone would say: ” May the Great God of the Universe continue to watch over these Virgin Islands”

      Like 13
  26. Election says:

    When is the next election? Next party up! This one one is not listening.

    Like 14
  27. Anonymous says:

    Hon. Premier, drop the security gaurd and camera requirement fron that liwuor licensing reform.

    Why? the cost of living, as you are fully aware, is extraordinarly high and average wages are woefully low.

    Indeed, such will place drinking and eating out of reach of 90% of the population. further, noone, except the super rich will be able to go to a bar and afford a drink and enjoy some comrsdry with friends. The cost of security, camera and the natural inclination of business owners to gouge will annihiliate the local bar as it is known.

    Last, such legislation will also destroy a unique aspect of Virgin Islands cultural life and way of living, among many other variables that are an integral part of Caribbean life.

    Please, do not relegate relegate this, our cutural heritage to the museum unaffordability.

    Moreover, most moms and pops bars cannot afford nor do they need security gaurd and cameras.

    But not only that, life will become tremendously difficult for the poor to middle clsss who sre slready struggling with low to litle take home money. This bill will also add considerable hardship to to medium, low to poor income earners and their families.

    Plase leave our local bars as they are. They serve a significant purpose.They are a part of our heritage.

    Like 11
    Dislike 1
  28. This is crap says:

    The licensing board I agree with because the present way is crap but a security guard? Really? I run a restaurant that is currently quiet due to lack of tourists and there is no fu$&king way I am paying for a security guard unless I have an event with more than 250 people. Seriously suggest who ever came up with this crap needs to fall off their horse and come and talk to those in the industry.

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  29. Hmmmm says:

    How is this going to work at my Festival Grounds Booth? Just asking?

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  30. Ministry says:

    This really needed to be moved from under the Magistrate.,However a Board is not the way to go because to much bad mind locals does be on those boards and creating issues ao that they can get kick bacjs to do their jobs. Thjs should be placed in the hands of a Ministry and change from every six months to 1 year END OF STORY.

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  31. WTF? says:

    Cameras?Security? The inmates are runnng the asylum. BVI going to sh-t real fast. Unreal. Hey,maybe tax tourists to pay for cameras and guards too, nickel dime them for everything else. Maybe a couple $100,000 consultancies to review this too.

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  32. smh says:

    Absolutely, freaking ludicrous! They have totally lost their minds. They will never gain the CONTROL they seek!

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  33. F off says:

    Police state…

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  34. See says:

    Pure stupidity on display. Killing business because the WORST POLICE FORCE IN THE WORLD cannot do their job …. this from conversations with other police forces here after Irma. Stop the BS rules to support your friends.

    Like 6
    Dislike 1
  35. Green Cup says:

    Another stupid proposal by this government. BVI has a serious leadership crisis. This government came in because of the inept NDP government. They have already proven to be more vindictive and bereft of quality ideas to take these islands forward. Security cameras? Security guards? More expense for businesses will be transferred to the public by way of higher prices. Brainless bunch of dimwits.

    Like 13
    Dislike 1
  36. John wick says:

    Just give me my firearm license and I’ll be the security guard for my restaurant and the cameras going to prove why I send the crooks to their maker

  37. Disappointing says:

    Was there not a post from government a little while ago seeking people for the security sector?

  38. Brutish says:

    Andrew needs to step down… Governor please take over leadership. This government have no idea or plans to lead this country forward. Such a shame.

  39. Smh says:

    Ayu out of pocket for this one bvi government!! What ish is this!?

  40. What's nonsense is this says:

    What’s the sense of installing security cameras and then hire security guards. I dont see the logic. Ain’t nobody got time for all this bull! Lowwwe the people man!

  41. Jah Know says:

    Alot of businesses will suffer cause of this. What say do we the ppl have against this? We all will come on these news site and complain but won’t protest against Government actions. We the ppl are power, if we don’t do anything they will continue to do what they want until they’re voted out

  42. Genius1621 says:

    What they need in the BVI is a rental board to be established, which will oversee tenants and landlords agreement and also monitor rental prices etc. Proper trade unions also needs to be established to properly represent employees. Too much dishonesty and nonsense going on.

    There are no much other areas of the BVI that needs to be looked at and this is definitely not one.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  43. This says:

    legislation, given the local and cultural dynamics of the territory, is a business killer,

  44. Ausar says:

    Excellent proposal Premier Fahie!

    Keep on the roll with these newer, efficient, and brilliant ideas!

  45. Watchers says:

    They better review and revamp this policy better because after all these difficult times we are living they are not co sideri g the business owners at all especially the small business owners. I’m disappointed. Please look over that policy and speak with the business owners for better directions. The camera is not bad. However mandatory to have a security guard that is ridiculous.Please go back to the thristle board and have that corrected.

  46. Watchers says:

    This government look like its getting g suspicious now. Just remember we the people choosed u to represent us. I do t know where that descicion coming from. Obviously from some o e who already have their bread buttered and don’t give a dam about the poor.

  47. 1000 jobs... says:

    in 1000 days – this is one way to try…I wonder if this is the VIP’s motivation??? 🙂

  48. LOL says:

    You mean the people we elected assuming we choose grown women/men sat down and came up with that? Is there not one person with a working brain in that bunch?

  49. Over reaching says:

    One of the things we are really good at in the BVI is over-amping the bureaucracy of things. This law is yet another example.

  50. Business/bar owner says:

    Cameras some places need them but security guards for what? That is ridiculious!!!!! Is Bro Fahie looking more work for the Javelin thrower or his constituents?

    Even the security guards set you up so i will stick with the cameras only.

  51. Conflict of interest? says:

    A*****’s mother owns a security company.

  52. Oh no says:

    So who is going to check that these places have indeed a security guard in place? They’ve never ever enforce the no smoking policy? I now you want cameras AND security guards 😳. Welcome to our beautiful paradise of nature’s little secrets let me introduce you to our officers at the bars oh and by the way you’re also on candid camera. Absolutely pure stupidness

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