84 liquor licences approved, 2 denied
|Left to right: Florencio Acosta, Health; Gonzalo
Muñoz, Board Member; Ruben Gonzalez, Clerk of the Board; Chairman
Fortunato Flota and Board Member Mayor Alberto Nuñez. Assistant
Superintendent of Police Michael Gutierrez was not present when the
picture was taken.
At the first 1998 meeting of the Ambergris Caye Liquor Licensing
Board, 84 liquor licenses were approved and 2 were denied. Both license
applicants (or a representative) were not present. One of the licenses
denied was a renewal of Publican Special Liquor License made by
Francisco Martinez for the Laguna Nite Club located on Crocodile Street.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Michael Gutierrez objected to
the issuance of the license. He said "We certainly have an objection.
The police have information that the place is being used as a
distribution point of marijuana and other drugs. ...we have arrested a
number of persons who have mentioned this... ...it is a place that is
harboring criminal types and unsavory characters." Ruben Gonzalez, the
Clerk of the Liquor License Board, said the board has received letters
concerning this. ASP Gutierrez said, "It would be incumbent upon the
applicant to be here to respond." The board decided to withhold
approval of the license, pending the result of a meeting with the
applicant (scheduled for Wednesday, January 21). The second application
denied was also for a publican special. The new application was made by
Jerry Gilbreath for the Belize Havana Club located at the north end of
Barrier Reef Drive in a remodeled building. The board had received a
letter from one of the neighbours stating there were too many bars in
San Pedro and that specific area. In addition, the board said they
checked with the Ambergris Caye Planning Committee and the permit for
the remodel was given for a residence, not a commercial building.
The board approved licenses in the following categories: 3 Hotel
Liquor licenses; 4 Malt & Cider Licenses; 6 Beer Licenses; 19 Shop
Licenses; 20 Restaurant Licences; 2 Publican General Licenses and 40
Publican Special Licenses.
Clerk of the Board Ruben Gonzalez presided over the meeting. Board
members in attendance were Chairman Fortunato Flota and members Mayor
Alberto Nuñez and Gonzalo Muñoz. Florencio Acosta represented Public
Health and ASP Michael Gutierrez represented the police. At the
beginning of the meeting, Mr. Gonzalez discussed noise and reminded
licenses holders that they need to be sound proofed.
ASP Gutierrez said the police had received a directive from police
headquarters in Belmopan that the police should object to the issuance
of licenses to service stations. ASP Gutierrez said he would be asking
for clarification on how this applied to San Pedro. A long discussion
ensued concerning whether this should apply to San Pedro or not. Agent
Guadalupe Montejo, who represented all four service stations in San
Pedro, stoutly defended the issuance of licenses, maintaining that in
San Pedro they were for the benefit of tourism and that in San Pedro it
would be a hindrance to serving the tourism industry. "We don't have the
open roads as on the mainland; we don't have a high boat accident rate."
Doyle Prince pointed out the section of the law (17B) which stated that
objections to the issuing of licenses should be done 10 days before the
meeting. ASP Gutierrez said he would check with his people in Belmopan
and that he was sure they would be flexible. He also mentioned that the
police were members of the board and they could raise an objection to
issuance of a licenses. He said, We are not dictating to the board, we
are only going on record as to our objection. It is the board's
discretion on whether to grant a license or not. The decision concerning
whether a licenses would be issued was up to the board.
Sound - "coming from the clubs"
Some letters have been received by the board, including one with 20
signatures concerning the sound from the downtown "clubs" which were not
mentioned by name. Applicants were reminded of the sound ordinance and
asked to comply. In addition to the discos, "loud" letters have been
received concerning the Laguna Bar, Manny's Drive Inn Bar, Fido's and
the Banana Beach Club. Mr. Gonzalez said Fido's has been denied
extension requests on several occasions because they are wide open, not
sound proofed. The board will issue extensions for special occasions
such as Christmas, but they should be sound proofed. The police
mentioned that a gentleman at the Caye Beach Dive resort was rude to the
police when they went to make their inspection of the premises. The
gentleman was not present, but their representative explained what he
was told were the circumstances. ASP Gutierrez said that was not what
happened. The ASP said he just wanted to point out the rudeness, not
stop the license from being granted. The license was granted. The board
asked applicants to be more cooperative when their licence applications
were being reviewed by members of the board.
ASP Gutierrez reminded restaurant licenses holders that their
licenses allowed them to sell liquor only to those buying a full meal.
Complaints about patrons urinating in public and trash accumulation
at El Rey de Todos were mentioned. ASP Gutierrez said the police also
had information that the bar was a possible center for the selling of
drugs. Sandals was mentioned as closing after 12 midnight, not having a
fire extinguisher, no exit signs and no notice that minors will not be
84 liquor licences approved, 2 denied
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