Businessman rushes to court after police close liquor mart

HOURS after police gave him ten minutes to close his liquor mart or be charged with breaching the public health coronavirus regulations, Goutam Singh, owner of Singh’s Liquor Mart on Bournes Road, St James, hired an attorney to file an injunction against the police.

At 11.35 am on Wednesday, police ordered Singh to close his liquor mart, warning him if he failed to do so he would be charged for breaching the health regulations.

His injunction application was filed electronically in the High Court hours later. Singh wants to have the court review the decision to order the closure of his liquor mart.

It comes up for hearing on Thursday before Justice Kevin Ramcharan and will be heard by video conferencing.

Singh also wants an injunction stopping the police from closing his business or interfering with him conducting sales.

Singh’s judicial review application contends that the latest regulations gazetted on April 5, does not make it an offence to carry on the business of a liquor mart for the wholesale and retail of liquor and other beverages under a spirit grocer’s licence.

According to the application, the regulations provide for holders of spirit retailer, wine retailer, restaurant or wine merchant licences and orders the closure of their operations until April 30.

Singh said since the police shut down his business, he has received calls from customers and has been embarrassed by the actions of the police. He also said he has been adhering to the guidelines for social distancing and does not let more than four customers enter his liquor mart at a time.

Singh is represented by attorneys Gerald Ramdeen,Umesh Maharaj and Dayadai Harripaul.

On Monday, National Security Minister Stuart Young said Government was pulling the plug on the sale of alcohol by liquor marts. He said only supermarkets would be allowed to sell alcohol, as liquor marts were not essential services.

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