by Linda Straker
- 6-20 April mandatory curfew
- New provision does not allow alcohol consumption in public
- Arresting officer can issue fixed penalty ticket for regulations violations
The allowance to purchase alcohol is provided for in the new regulation of the Emergency Powers legislation that will provide guidance for the 6-20 April mandatory curfew which Grenada has imposed on citizens as part of measures to reduce the community spread Covid-19.
Besides the sale of alcohol, the new regulations which went into effect on 6 April, provide for the criminalising of those who fail to practice physical/social distancing and who do not comply with quarantine and isolation requests from the relevant authorities.
Superintendent Vannie Curwen, who is in charge of the Community Relations Department (CRD), did not provide an explanation as to why the Office of the Attorney General decided to allow the sale of alcohol. He explained that the new provision is not an approval for shop owners to allow consumption at the place of the business. “Section 5 subsection 5 of the regulations says there shall be no consumption of alcohol in or in the vicinity of any shop, grocery store, or supermarket or in any public place. The difference is, in the old act you could not sell or consume alcohol in a public place. The new act changes in some way to allow businesses to sell alcohol, but restricts consumption in the business places and in public.”
“The long and short of the matter is, you can purchase your alcohol, but you must consume it in privacy and not in public,” he said during a virtual news conference on Wednesday. “That does not allow legitimate the rum shops to be opened. They must remain closed because they are not an exception under the provision.”
Section 5 subsection 4 of the regulations says, “If the manager, owner, other person in charge or employee of any shop which sells groceries, grocery store or supermarket, aids, abets or facilitates the contravention of these regulations, the shop, grocery store or supermarket shall be immediately closed without prejudice to any other penalty in law.”
Another new inclusion is the issuing of fixed penalty tickets for those who violate the regulations. The Emergency Powers Act provides for a liable fine of EC$1,000 and or 12 months’ imprisonment for violation of the regulation, but the arresting officer now has the power to ticket the person.
The first offence will be EC$500; the second offence EC$750 and the third offence will be EC$1,000 and or imprisonment that will be determined by the court if the person fails to pay the fine within 31 days.
“Payment of the fixed penalty shall be made to the clerk of the Magistrate’s Court as stated in the fixed penalty notice and shall be dealt with in the same manner as payment of a fine imposed for an offence under the criminal procedure code.”