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Tuesday 10 December 2019
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House passes licensing bill

Fitzgerald Hinds.
Fitzgerald Hinds.

UNLAWFUL acts will not be made lawful by a bill to legitimise the routine actions of improperly constituted liquor licensing committees, said acting Attorney General Fitzgerald Hinds.

In the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Hinds piloted the Licensing Committee (Validation) Bill 2018.

While Parliament had in 2014 passed law to change the way licensing committees are constituted – intending to replace magistrates with justices of the peace as chairmen – in reality the old arrangement has persisted, such that today the actions of those committees must be validated by fresh law, Hinds explained.

“This bill does not attempt to validate unlawful actions but only lawful acts by those committees,” he said.

He added that the bill does not remove the right of any aggrieved person to seek redress. Hinds said over 14,000 licences were issued by committees chaired by magistrates.

Saying the Government had lost no time in addressing the matter, he praised Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi as “young, bright and beautiful.”

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