Commissioner to crack down on sale of alcohol to minors

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith says the Police Service (TTPS) is adopting a stringent approach to persons and/or establishments who abuse the law with the sale of alcohol to minors.

A statement by the Police Service says that this drive is not limited to the upcoming Carnival and band launch period, but includes all restaurants, bars, pubs and nightclubs which operate on a regular basis.

Griffith says owners of bars and clubs, as well as Carnival band promoters, are expected to be cognizant of laws governing Trinidad and Tobago and are duty bound to take a responsible approach when dealing with underage patrons.

As it relates to all-inclusive fetes and bands, Griffith is insisting that better measures must be adopted to avoid the sale of alcohol to minors.

"It is rare in this country to see bartenders demanding a form of ID from anyone who may be perceived to be a minor, prior to serving them alcohol. Likewise, if anyone has access to an inclusive fete or an all-inclusive Carnival band, it has not been the norm for those serving alcohol to ascertain the age of any customer, patron or masquerader, as drinks would be served to anyone in the event, or in a band with a costume," the statement said.

The Commissioner is reminding the public that the Liquor Licenses Act Chapter 84:10 states that, “The sale of intoxicating liquor to individuals under the age of eighteen years is prohibited.”

The police statement adds that penalties for persons found guilty of breaching the aforementioned law are as follows: “A person who knowingly sells or allows another person to sell intoxicating liquor to a child under the age of eighteen years, whether for the child’s own use or not, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction for a first offence to a fine of $7,500.00, and in the case of a second offence to a fine of $10,000.00, and to a term of imprisonment for one year and in the case of a third or subsequent offence to a fine of $15,000.00 and to a term of imprisonment for two years.”

Additionally, Commissioner Griffith is encouraging parents to support this initiative, saying there is enough evidence to demonstrate a correlation between underage intoxication and increased vulnerability.

He is advising that it takes a collective responsibility from the national community to safeguard the nation's youth and to ensure they are not exposed to triggers that may lead to negative outcomes.