Georgetown, GRA, September 18, 2023: The GRA wishes to respond to the above article published in the Kaiteur News dated September 8, 2023, titled “Residents Petitions GRA to shut down bar at Eccles”, and to highlight the Authority’s role in the issuances of such a licence and its functions prior or thereafter in accordance with the laws administered regarding the operations of bars and other similar establishments.
The process for obtaining such licence requires the necessary approvals and documentation from the respective State Agencies as follows:
- Approved Building Plan stamped and signed by Central Housing & Planning Authority, NDC/RDC/Mayor & Town Council, Fire Service & Sanitary Department;
- Housing Certificate issued by the Ministry of Housing;
- Fire Certificate issued by the Guyana Fire Service;
- Sanitary Certificate issued by the Mayor & Town Council or RDC; and
- the required visit and approval of the District Licensing Board which includes the sitting District Magistrate for operation of such Liquor Licence premises.
Upon receipt of an application for such a licence, and the approval documents, and prior to the issuance of the said licence, the Authority then publishes the said application in the National newspapers which allows residents and any affected persons or body of persons to so object to the District Licensing Board against the issuance of the licence to the Applicant, and stating the reasons therefor. It is only after the statutory period has elapsed that the District Licensing Board will so permit a licence to be issued.
Upon the approval and the issuance of the licence, the primary responsibility of the GRA’s enforcement activities is to ensure that any shop, store or similar business premises are in conformity with, among others-
- the provisions of the Customs Act, Chapter 82:01 as it relates to dealing with uncustomed, prohibited and restricted goods as specified under Section 218 of the Act;
- the provisions of the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act, Chapter 82:21, regarding the necessary licence for storage and sale of Malt/Wine products and Spirituous Liquor;
- the provisions of the Excise Tax Act and Regulations regarding the application of the Excise Stamp on Alcohol and Tobacco products in accordance with Regulation 212 of the Customs Act; and
- Other laws administered by the Revenue Authority regarding the declaration of income, maintaining of books/records and payment of taxes in accordance with the Income, Property and Value Added Tax.
The Authority must also state that in keeping with its mandate, as the licensing Agency, its officers conducted a prior enforcement operation at the reported premises (address supplied). The business operating at the said address was found to have the necessary licence for storage and sale of Malt/Wine, Spirituous Liquor and Tobacco products, so unless there is new evidence to show that the licensee have not met the necessary criteria, or have breached the said terms of the licence, the GRA has to comply with the terms by which the license was issued.
Regarding the general reported complaint of, among others, noise nuisance, traffic congestion and disorderly behavior, the Revenue Authority must state that those reports are matters which are required to be addressed by the Guyana Police Force and the Environmental Protection Agency, in accordance with their laws administered.
Finally, the Authority must reiterate its call on the general public to report any such illicit activities contrary to its laws administered on telephone number 227-6060, Extensions 3201, 3204, 3205, 3211, 3212, or 3408. All information provided therein, shall be dealt with strict confidentiality and such persons may be rewarded in accordance with the provisions of the Customs Act, Chapter 82:01.
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