– The Ministry of Local Government
– The Belize City Council
– The Belize District Liquor Licensing Board
– The Commissioner of Police
– The Chinese community
Back in the 1980’s, the Convenience Liquor License was introduced and designed for gas stations and properly established convenience stores. Alcoholic beverages were to be sold in sealed packages to be taken out, and were not to be consumed on the premises.
This type of license was the cheapest, and it was soon discovered that with this license, one could retail as much as one could, and even more than a bar or a club. These shops started to pop up on all our streets countrywide.
Today, in Belize City alone, there are over 400 of these shops scattered throughout our community, and the neighborhood club has all but disappeared. Citizens were free to visit their club of choice, where there was good music, good drinks and a good atmosphere in a controlled space with good and proper relaxation.
Our citizens have been turned into public drinkers and under-aged drinkers, engaged in unsanitary practices, and have also become exposed to the laws of the street. I am not laying blame on anyone but we as a society have made a mistake, so we need to go back to the drawing board.
These merchants can retain their trade license to sell groceries, but not to sell alcohol. I know there will be big resistance from the brewing and rum companies because these shops are a big slice of their sales.
Where there is a will, there is a way.
Alfonso Ramirez, SR., J.P.
P.S. I would like to commend the Commissioner on his crackdown on alcohol-related crimes. Please look into under-aged kids buying the new scratch lottery.