Bar owners cannot sell alcohol to drivers, drunk people – proposed new laws

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By Isanella Patoir 

[email protected] 

Proposed amendments to the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act, Cap. 82:21, once passed in the National Assembly, could see holders of liquor licenses who are oftentimes bar owners, facing hefty fines for serving alcohol to already intoxicated persons and allowing persons to drink and drive.

The proposed amendments were released on Saturday by the Attorney General’s Chambers and have already received the support and approval of the government. It forms part of the government’s overall plan to significantly reduce road accidents which has been on the increase in recent months.

Aside from preventing drinking and driving, the proposed amendments to the Act also seek to prohibit the excessive consumption of alcohol in public.  

Proposed amendments allow for the license holder to promote the dangers of drinking and driving by signs and announcements. The license holder will also not be allowed to encourage “drunkenness” on the premises. 

The amendments also seek to prevent the bar owner from serving alcohol or allowing the sale or barter of alcohol to a person who does not have a designated driver. Consequently, the bar owner will further be mandated not to serve alcohol to the said designated driver. 

Section 54 of the amended Act state: “The holder of a license shall; not sell, give or barter intoxicating liquor to a person he knows is likely to leave the premises by driving a motor vehicle unless that person has identified another person to be the designated driver of the motor vehicle; not sell, give or barter intoxicating liquor to a person identified as a designated driver.”

If the license holder is aware that someone who had excessive alcohol and is attempting to drive, the license holder is required to inform the nearest police station or contact the police. 

If found in breach, the license holder will face a fine of $100,000 in the instance of a first offence – this is a huge increase from $2,000;  for the second time offenders, the fine will be increased from $5,000 to $200,000. 

The proposed amendments further mandate the bar owner to refuse any person who is deemed to be “drunk, violent, quarrelsome, or disorderly.”

The fine for this breach has now increased from $3,000 to $100,000.  

Additionally, a new definition of the term “drunken person” was also proposed to be defined as “a person whose physical or mental conduct is substantially impaired as a result of the introduction of intoxicating liquor into the person’s body and who exhibits those plain and easily observed or discovered outward manifestations of behaviour commonly known to be produced by the overconsumption of intoxicating liquor, and “drunkenness” shall be construed accordingly.”

The draft bill can be accessed at the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs website www.mola.gov.gy and submissions and recommendations are hereby invited within 21 days from the date hereof to [email protected] 

Additionally, the draft Bill will be circulated to relevant national stakeholder organisations for their submissions and recommendations within a similar timeframe.

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