100 per cent increase in the fees, penalties for liquor licencing

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Liquor sells regardless of how much you tax it- Jordan
Bishop Edghill says increases ‘anti-business’ 

The National Assembly yesterday passed a legislation to update Guyana’s 25-year-old penalties relating to the licences for spirituous liquor.

The Intoxicating Liquor Licencing (Amendment) Bill 2016 that was passed in the House allows for a 100 per cent increase in the fees and penalties.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan, who defended the Bill, told the House that the legislation continues in line with most of those brought before the House recently.  These Bills are to give legal effect to the Budget 2017 measures.

Jordan explained that it seeks to address increases to the various fines that have been lagging for as long as 25 years.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan

According to the Minister, the last time some of the liquor licencing fees and penalties were increased was in 1992. “So, after 25 years we are seeking to increase the fees by 100 percent,” the Minister said.

He added that he does not believe that the increase should pose great displeasure to the Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) and to the greater public. Further, he pointed out that the increases are relatively small in comparison to the 25 years in which they were no increases.

Minister Jordan also noted that despite how much tax are increased on businesses that sell alcoholic beverages, the profits always seem to soar. He noted the recent announcement of a well-known beverage company in the newspapers of a record 2016 profit.

Opposition MP, Bishop Juan Edghill

Opposition MP, Bishop Juan Edghill, called the increase in fees and penalties, “anti-business.” Edghill said that whether it is a liquor restaurant, a members’ club, or an ordinary shop, the fact that the businesses have to pay more for licencing and other penalties, it would mean that the increase would be passed down to the consumers.

He pointed out that the increase in fees sought would not only be passed on to the users of alcohol, but as well to all the persons who are customers of the businesses, as he noted that much of these businesses sell items beyond alcoholic beverages.

Edghill said that if the issue was about safeguarding the society to deal with the issue such as underage drinking, or to address the effects of the use of alcohol and its impact on the nation’s health care services, then there were other initiatives that could have been taken.

However, Minister Jordan in responding questioned why the Opposition MP had difficulty in understanding and appreciating the intervention of the Bill. He reiterated that the Government is talking about increased fees and penalties, well below the cost of administrating them. He noted that some businesses failed to take out some of the licences because of the current low penalties attached to being penalised for not doing so. The Minister said that this is not to say that increasing the fees and penalties would cause changes in this behaviour.

He explained that the government is going down a line, where these fees and penalties would be brought more in line with administrative laws. He said too that these would be constantly reviewed, for updating. “We are not going to wait 25 years to increase these laws,” the Minister said.

INCREASES IN PENALTIES under the INTOXICATING LICENCING (AMENDMENT) BILL 2016

Section Increase in penalties relating to Licences for Spirituous liquor

Liquor.

Old Penalty New Penalty
SEC 43 Penalty for selling malt liquor or wine without a licence  $3,000

$15,000

 $6,000

$30,0000

SEC 44(1)(2) Penalty for selling spirituous liquor without a licence.  $5,000

$50,000

 $10,000

$100,000

SEC 45 Penalties on holders of licences for selling and disposing of spirituous liquor, in contravention of licence (21 of 1992)  $5,000

$50,000

$10,000

$100,000

SEC 46 (1) Affixing of signboards (21 of 1992)
first offence $1,000 $2,000
second offence $3,000 $6,000
third offence $6,000 $12,000
SEC 47(1) Books to be kept by holder of licence (21 of 1992) $2,000 $4,000
SEC 48 Refusal to produce books, molestation or obstruction of commissioner

(66 of1952)

 $5,000

$10,000

 $10,000

$20,000

SEC 49(1) Regulation of strength of sprit kept by licence holders (24 of 1992) $5,000 $10,000
SEC 50 Penalty for allowing persons under 16 years to be on licenced premises

(21 of 1992)

first offence $500,000 $1,000,000
after until revocation $1,000,000 $2,000,000
SEC 51 Penalty for sale or supply of intoxicating liquor to young persons. $500,000 $1,000,000
SEC 52 Penalty for employment of young people to supply or to sell intoxicating

liquor (21 of 1992)

first offence $1,000 $2,000
second offence $3,000 $6,000
SEC 53 Offences in relation to constables (21 of1992)
first offence $5,000 $10,000
subsequent offence $10,000 $20,000
SEC 54 Penalty for permitting drunkenness (21 of 1992)
first offence $2,000 $4,000
subsequent offence $5,000 $10,000
SEC 55 Penalty for permitting premises to be a brothel (21 of 1992) $10,000 $20,000
SEC 56 Power to exclude drunkards from licenced premises(21 of 1992) $3,000 $6,000
SEC 57 Prohibition of other shop in same building as a sprit shop (21 of 1992) $3,000

$15,000

$6,000

$30,000

SEC 58 Barter of Liquor (21 of 1992) $3,000 $6,000
SEC 60 Playing cards, or dice, or gaming, in licenced sprit shop(21 of 1992)
$5,000 $10,000
Gaming $3,000 $6,000
SEC 61 Power to constable to enter licenced sprit shop $3,000 $6,000
SEC 62 Sale of more than two litres of rum at one time (24 of 1992)
first offence  $3,000

$15,000

$6,000

$30,000

second offence  $3,000

$15,000

 $6,000

$30,000

third offence  $3,000

$15,000

 $6,000

$30,000

SEC 63 Production of licences (21 of 1992) $3,000 $6,000

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