Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 22, 2020 (RSCNPF): The Police have confirmed that some shop operators have been selling liquor retail in contravention of the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (No. 5) Regulations.
Speaking on a recent “Policing With You” Radio Programme, Divisional Commander for District ‘A’, Superintendent Cromwell Henry explained how the operators were trying to conduct the illegal activity without being caught.
“We have information, and we have confirmed it, that there are some operators – some shops – their doors are closed, but they have this way of getting people inside with the doors closed or passing things through a window or through a side door and still having the type of socialising that we are asking not to happen,” disclosed Superintendent Henry. “So the doors are closed, the shops are closed, but persons would go and give a special knock on a window. Yes! They have their secret codes [and] passwords. You give a special knock on the door or on the window and the door opens and you go in and the door locks back and persons are inside drinking”
As a result, when Officers on patrol pass by these businesses they would appear closed and no activity would be visible. The Divisional Commander warned that this type of behaviour puts both the seller and the customers at risk. He urged persons to discontinue the practice.
“I mean you’re not really harming the Police when you do that, but you are harming yourselves and your customers so we ask persons please to obey the rules. It was meant to help you. It was meant to keep you safe; meant to keep your customers safe…we have to keep people safe, we have to keep people healthy and so the whole intention of suspending the licences is to prevent persons from congregating and socialising in that manner that brings them close,” he cautioned.
Section 14 of the Statutory Rules and Orders No. 14 of 2020, Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (No. 5) Regulations speaks to the suspension of all retail liquor licences. It states that “Notwithstanding the provisions of the Liquor Licences Act, Cap. 18.21, all retail liquor licences are suspended once a period of emergency is declared in relation to COVID-19.”
Section 19 of the Regulations states that “a person who contravenes or fails to comply with these Regulations shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both and to forfeiture of any goods or money in respect of which the offence has been committed.”