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Wheatley warns of potential cost burdens in liquor license revamp

Wheatley

Ninth District Representative Vincent Wheatley has sounded a warning for lawmakers as they seek to revamp the current Liquor License Act in the House of Assembly (HOA), arguing that burdensome expenses should be avoided where possible.

“The issue of a liquor license cannot be divorced from zoning and from noise. There’s a lot of persons who have property, [and they] believe they should be able to do whatever they want to do on their property,” Wheatley argued before the House recently.

According to the former Labour Minister, persons may find a piece of land right next to an apartment and insist that they want to have entertainment and loud music right next to that apartment building. “And, of course, noise and alcohol often go together and then the persons in the apartment [are faced with] trying to sleep next door to a club,” Wheatley stated. 

Wheatley said he commended businesspersons who are conscientious of noise nuisances and go to the expense of sound-proofing their business so patrons inside can enjoy themselves without the neighbours having to be up all night calling district representatives to their rescue. 

“We have to be careful that when we bring these laws we don’t bring an extra burden to the businesses. Yes, safety is important. But if you’re asking persons to have security guards and camera systems and certain things, we have to be very careful that we don’t put persons out of business. Particularly, small businesses, and particularly businesses that are rather seasonal,” the Ninth District Representative said. 

He pointed to places like Anegada where he said tourists do not tend to visit all year round. “So you’re making a 12-month investment that you may only need for six or seven months,” noted Wheatley who described the tourism market as increasingly volatile.

Balance required 

Wheatley said legislators need to draw a line that finds a perfect balance where businesses are safe for their customers while allowing business owners to afford to do what is necessary to protect their investment and also protect their customers. 

He also urged lawmakers as they crafted the legislation to look at how certain islands are laid out geographically. He pointed to islands such as Moskito Island and Anegada where businesses are often not located near residential premises. “Can we cut out a specific kind of situation where they don’t have to follow all the same rules and regulations such as a business place in the middle of the town?” Wheatley asked. 

“We have islands like Moskito that are full tourist islands. I don’t think they follow the same rules as other places,” Wheatley said. “You’re going to tell somebody they could come and rent this place for $100,000 a night, but when it comes 10 o’clock you send your DJ home that you probably paid $1,000 two hours for?”

Legislators, he said, need to be mindful that the territory is a tourist economy and need to balance the rules and regulations with the reality of how money is made in the territory.

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10 Comments

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  1. Agreed says:

    He’s making a lot of sense.

    Like 8
    Dislike 2
  2. Jokes says:

    He just want to make sure his rum price don’t go up lol.

    Like 2
    Dislike 5
  3. No says:

    He is as always looking out for himself

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  4. He & DEM says:

    like csc / edU / I’m-alone the Cuban- mouth champ and his exelency mother other than the estEEMed 1 ] Neill make a fine team of aristocracts & pretenders unlimited .com club ( birds of the same feathers

    Like 1
    Dislike 2
  5. Licher and Sticher Good says:

    They wake up Cousin Vinny from his slumber a few months before election.

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  6. butch says:

    “I will drink to that”

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  7. lol says:

    rum corks and rum bubblers be aware

    Like 1
    Dislike 3
  8. Facts says:

    The BVI Politicians just LOVE POWER! There is no need for a liquor license act to have all this confusion surrounding it. The confusion is only there because they want to use a one size fits all plan instead of dealing with the real issues. If you have an outdoor establishment with music it should be shut down by midnight unless you have a special permit for a special event. If you have an enclosed premises that isn’t bothering anyone, you open until you see fit to close. If you are in a residential area, you have to close at midnight. What is so hard in this? There are other laws that govern loitering, disturbances, noise etc. so why all this hoopla about a simple liquor license? Environmental health does their part, Police does their part, Fire & Rescue does their part. Once the people are approved then they should be regulated in accordance with their specifics, zoning etc. simple and done.

  9. ..... says:

    Noise polition. Only in the BVI is it needed amplify sound to defining levels. Bars, cars, clubs, churches (yes, religios gatherings too).

    Yes – feel free to express youself, have a good time, celebrate, party, relax. Do it in a way that does not disturb entire neigborhoods.

  10. Truth says:

    So Hon.Vincent Wheatley has been in public service for 20 years . Has a Finance degree from one of the top University in the world ,Oxford but has somehow turned into a raging ***? Wow that is why the Country is where it is . The quietly competent gets disparaged and we willingly follow the shallow , empty vessel that talk a good game and make the most noise.
    Governing is much more challenging than campaigning
    Proven leadership with the educational pedigree and experience in how Government works VG easily voting him back in
    Drink to that.

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