“Small shops demanded new sales hours”
Minister of Reveue Tialavea Tionisio Hunt has rubbished claims the extension of alcohol sales hours will exacerbate social problems associated with alcohol consumption.
Social problems associated with alcohol consumption has been in existence in Samoa long before the Liquor Board made the decision, he added.
“This was due to the request by retail stores, this was due to popular demand from the small shops. Theirs claims are valid, when considering that hotels, night clubs and stores all have one goal and that is to make some money.
It is unfair for the Government to allow the hotels and night clubs yet ban the small shops and I agree with them, they are trying to make ends meet, like the hoteliers and night club owners,” he said.
Tialavea also emphasised that the decision to extend the sales hours came after a through discussion.
“The end result of amending the hours was not done abruptly. We discussed this matter thoroughly with the board, including the Ministry of Police.”
The Minister said the decision by the Liquor Board does not have any bearing on the stores located in villages, which are governed by the by-laws of the village councils on the sale of alcohol.
“Despite this notice, if the village council wants to disallow the sale of alcohol at any certain time, that is their prerogative. After all, for any liquor license to be issued, the village council chiefs have to sign off on the application so this is also their responsibility,” he added.
Last week the Liquor Board issued a public notice signed by its Secretary, Leatigaga Tiatia Liaina, advising of the new sales hours which went into effect October 25, 2018.
The notice advised that retail stores, hotels and restaurants can now sell alcohol from 6.00 am to 1.00 am Monday to Friday. However, on Saturdays alcohol can only be sold from 6:00 am to 12:00 am midnight. Stores and restaurants are not permitted to sell on Sundays, while hotels can do so but only from 10:00 am to 12:00 am midnight.
The notice also stated that the new alcohol sales hours will not have any bearing on stores located in villages, where the village councils regulate the sales hours.