The Liquor License Act 1974 (the “Act”) is the law that governs the granting of liquor licenses, the conduct of licensed premises, and the punishment of individuals/companies that break the law.
The Liquor Licensing Authority (the “LLA”) is made up of 11 members. The Senior Magistrate is appointed as Chairman of the LLA by the Act, and the Deputy Chair and the other 9 members are appointed by the Governor. The LLA is inde-pendent from the executive and legislative arms of the Government and makes it decisions without fear or favour, bias, or ill-will. The LLA shall have regard to the public welfare and suitability of the licensed premises.
There are 9 classes of Liquor Licenses:
- “A” (e.g. liquor and grocery stores)
- Restricted “A”; “B” (e.g. bars)
- Night Club
- Members’ Club
- Tour Boat
- Other types of licenses include an Occasional License and a Tourism Event License.
A Restaurant License is for the sale of intoxicating liquor which is to be consumed on the premises. The restaurant must be able to habitually serve substantial meals to at least 24 persons at one time. An Alfresco Dining Permit can be grant-ed to the holder of a Restaurant License to sell intoxicating liquor in an open-air area adjoining the licensed premises.
An “A” License is for the sale of intoxicating liquor on the licensed premises and intoxicating liquor shall not be con-sumed on such licensed premises.
A grocery store means premises where
- the main activity is the sale of food provisions, and
- intoxicating liquor is sold from a discrete and separate part of the premises. Miniatures or “Nips” shall not be sold in grocery stores.
A “B” License is for the sale of intoxicating liquor to be consumed on the premises. Every licensed person shall require every manager, supervisor, or person in charge of a bar to be certified as having completed a training programme on respon-sible alcohol sales and service. It is an offence for a license holder to not comply with this condition.
No Members’ Club License shall be granted unless:
- the club has at least 25 paid up members; and
- the intoxicating liquor is the joint property of the members. A Members’ Club shall keep proper minute books, a subscription book, and an account book (it is an offence to falsify such books). A Members’ Club License is for the sale of intoxicating liquor to bona fide members and guests introduced by them (which is evidenced by a sign-in book at the entrance of the Members’ Club).
An Occasional License may be granted to a body established for social, charitable or benevolent purposes. Strictly speaking, an individual who organizes events purely for financial gain and/or for entertainment should not qualify for an Occasional License.
- Applications for liquor licenses shall be filed by the 14th of March of each year.
- Applications must be heard by the LLA within the first 21 days of April of each year.
- Occasional and Tourism Event Licenses shall be filed at least 3 weeks before the event.
Any person ordinarily resident in the parish of a licensed premises, or who owns or occupies property lying within 300 yards of the licensed premises, may object to the grant or transfer of a liquor license. Grounds of objection may include: (i) undue noise; (ii) disruption of traffic; (iii) accumulation of trash; and (iv) disturbances attributable to alcohol misuse.
It is an offence:
(i) to sell intoxicating liquor without a liquor license (such as rum swizzle or home-made brew);
(ii) to employ a minor in a licensed premises (there are exceptions);
(iii) to not lock up intoxicating liquor after closing of the licensed premises;
(iv) to permit any drunkenness, or violent, quarrelsome or disorderly conduct on the licensed premises;
(v) to sell intoxicating liquor to a minor;
(vi) to sell intoxicating liquor to any person who is drunk or to another person for consumption by such drunken person;
(vii) to allow a person who is drunk to remain on the licensed premises; and
(viii) to allow the licensed premises to be the resort of notorious bad characters or a place of criminal conduct.