PHILIPSBURG–The Central Committee of Parliament discussed in full detail an amendment to the national ordinance on the sale of alcoholic beverages, on Tuesday morning.
The draft initiative law was presented by Member of Parliament (MP) Silveria Jacobs. The law change initiative is backed by the St. Maarten Lions Club, members of which were present for the discussion in the House of Parliament.
It is the second initiative law to be submitted to Parliament since the legislature was formed in October 2010. The current legislation allows the sale of alcohol to persons as of 16 years, but the consumption age is 18.
Jacobs said the law change was needed for businesses that sell alcohol to stick to the law without selling alcohol to youngsters. Members expressed their support for the law change and hope to see the law tabled in Parliament soon.
While article 475 of the Penal Code prohibits the sale and serving of alcoholic beverages to minors – persons under age 18 – with a maximum prison sentence of six months or a NAf. 7,500 fine, the Licence Ordinance prohibits establishments from selling or serving alcoholic beverages to persons under age 16, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Violating the ordinance can result in a fine of up to NAf. 5,000 or a prison sentence of up to four months. Persons who repeat the offence in a two-year time span will serve a prison sentence of maximum six months.
The ordinance regulates licences for bars, restaurants, delis, fast food operations, wholesale and retail outlets, hotels, guesthouses, ice cream parlours and vending machines.
The next step for the law amendment will be a vote in a public session of Parliament which will be called soon.