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National Assembly

National Assembly unanimously quashes SI 35 that seeks to change time of alcohol sale |27 June 2019

A regulation which came into force on June 1 to change the time alcohol is sold was quashed by the National Assembly yesterday through a unanimous vote of 24 in favour and no one against.

A motion resolving the National Assembly to quash Statutory Instrument (SI) 35 of 2019 in accordance with the Interpretation and General Provisions Act, Section 64(2) was tabled by the leader of the opposition Wavel Ramkalawan.

The SI called for amendments in the time that alcohol is sold. Previously the time   alcohol was being sold was from 11.30am to 9pm on weekdays and from 8.30am to 11pm on weekends.

Through the SI the government wanted to change this to 1.30pm to 9pm during weekdays, from 1.30pm to 11pm on Friday, from 8.30am to 11pm on Saturday but from 8.30am to 9pm on Sunday.

The mover of the motion, Mr Ramkalawan, said the Interpretation and General Provisions Act, Section 64(2) gives the National Assembly the possibility to quash an SI and nullify it, thus forcing the government to come up with new regulations.

Mr Ramkalawan said members from both parties in the House have agreed that SI 35 be quashed as it has raised a lot of concern from different actors in the tourism industry as well as other businesses who feel that they have not been consulted on the matter.

Mr Ramkalawan argued that the main issue was with the 1.30pm aspect as most shops are closed at that time and it would be better to leave the time at 11.30am. He added that discussions are ongoing to try and improve the regulation as the sale of alcohol remains an important issue that needs to be addressed.

Seconding the motion, the leader of government business Charles de Commarmond for his part added that quashing the SI will allow the Assembly more time to come up with different propositions on this important issue.

“The SI as it is has not been well researched and concerned parties have not been consulted for their inputs on the issue,” Mr de Commarmond stressed, noting that there are many aspects that need to be reviewed.  

He added that important statistics are required to justify many aspects related to health concerns blamed on different types of alcoholic beverages made locally as well as those imported.

He reiterated on the importance of consultations among all concerned parties to avoid a repeat of other similar situations.

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