Thursday 29 October, 2020

Liquor mart owner fights to keep shop open; matter heads to High Court

Today, an application for an interim injunction will be heard before a High Court Judge on whether a liquor mart owner will be allowed to keep his shop open.

The matter is expected to be heard via video conferencing before Justice Kevin Ramcharan.

A team of attorneys including Gerald Ramdeen, Umesh Maharaj and Dayadai Harripaul, filed the application on behalf of Goutam Singh, owner of Singh’s Liquor Mart in St James.

According to the application, at 11.35 am on Wednesday, Singh was ordered by police, under penalty of charges, to close his business, which is located along Bournes Road. Officers told him he would be in breach of the Public Health [2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)] (No. 8) Regulations, 2020.

Singh is, therefore, seeking judicial review of this decision, as, according to the application, his operations would not fall within the regulations in place, gazetted on April 5, that order holders of spirit retailer, wine retailer, restaurant or wine merchant licences to close their premises until April 30.

Supermarkets, markets and discount stores were exempt from this regulation.

Singh reportedly sells other items besides liquor at his store, and argues that establishments like his are not specifically listed in the regulations.  

On Monday, National Security Minister Stuart Young had explained that the State had made a decision that only supermarkets would be allowed to sell alcohol as liquor marts were not listed as essential services.

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