The Alcohol Control Bill does not address the root of the problem in curbing the harmful impact of alcohol on Samoan. It requires a holistic approach and the input of all affected parties.
The concern was expressed by private businesses present at the public consultation of the Alcohol control bill on Wednesday.
Following a presentation by representative from the Attorney Generals office, Siovia Liu Tea, a manager in the hotel industry who was present at the consultation pointed out that education was the key to the reform they were seeking.
After reviewing the bill, she saw no education mandate in the bill to support plans to educate Samoans on the effects of alcohol. She added that there is widespread ignorance over what the legal drinking age is in Samoa and that was due to a lack of education on the matter.
The Co-Owner of the Edge, Darryl Scott, also supported the inclusion of an education and health motion in the bill suggesting that some revenues from importing should go towards education.
A.G representative, Ms Liu Tea responded that the bill will not have such a clause but there are plans to meet the need for an investment into education about the social and health effects of alcohol.
She reiterated that the bill is for the manufacturing, sale and consumption of alcohol.
“I think that is a really relevant point and I think that was one of the recommendations that was brought about by the Samoa Law Reform Commission but it will not be covered under this bill,” she said. “It will be covered under another different project. We can’t really fit it in this bill because this is primarily for licensing and management of that.”
Another issue raised by Mr. Scott was how business owners could be given a right of response in cases where they were being infringed upon by the police or the liquor board.
The objective of the 13 part alcohol control bill 2018 is to try and control the sale, consumption, manufacturing and wholesaling of alcohol under the new law following Samoa Law reform commission to review all liquor laws.
The major changes in the A.C.B was an increase of penalty fines and imprisonment terms for offence provisions. There are also new provisions for labeling requirements on alcohol products sold by retailers or wholesalers in containers or receptacles. Advertising and promotion of alcohol will also have more constraints and contain health messages.