Alcohol being sold to children as rural shops continue to flout law


It continues to be a general practice for shops, especially in the countryside of Guyana, to sell rum and other alcohol products to children, one of the country’s leading rum manufactures has acknowledged, saying it is getting ready for another campaign to get retailers to adhere to the law.

“The law is very clear that you cannot sell alcohol to children, but when you visit the rural part of the country you will see that that is quite a norm,” said Mr Komal Samaroo, chairman of Demerara Distillers Limited.

DDL had previously engaged retailers in a campaign to end the sale of alcohol to minors, but while there was fair success in shops in the city, that has not been the case in rural areas.

“I would say in the rural part of Guyana we just couldn’t get our retailers to buy into that because culturally, you know, they use minors in the shops and consumers will send minors to buy,” said Komal Samaroo, chairman of DDL.

“I believe we need to renew that campaign and we’re working on a plan to recommence a national campaign to educate consumers and that trade so that we can comply with the law,” he stated.

Samaroo was speaking at the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown where the sales and marketing teams from rum manufacturers in the Caribbean are meeting to discuss the issue.

He conceded that alcohol has been identified as a source of certain health issues and certain behavioural issues that are negative to society.

“As an industry, we have always advocated the responsible consumption of rum and any alcohol,” Samaroo stated.

He said the directors of the West Indian Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association Inc. (WIRSPA) has been addressing issue and as a result they have brought together the sales and marketing teams “to teach them and explain to them, international best practices in the industry so that we could follow those practices in Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean.”

In a statement, WIRSPA said alcohol has long played an integral part in most societies and the place of rum in the social, cultural and historical make-up of the Caribbean is well documented.

However, it said it is acutely aware of the potential impact, on both individuals and society, of inappropriate consumption.

“WIRSPA is committed to working towards minimising such behaviour in order to make responsible drinking a valued and enjoyable part of life in a modern, responsible society,” the Association stated.


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