Should young people be asked for their ID to buy alcohol in retail shops? Most of us will be famili


28-July-2012

This is in line with Section 11 (1) (b) of the Licenses Act 1998 which states that the holder of a license, his servant or agent shall not sell or deliver liquor to a person under the apparent age of 18 years and with Section 14 (1) (b) of the Licenses, Liquor and Outdoor Entertainment Regulations 1998, which states that ‘the holder of a license, his servant or agent shall not sell or deliver liquor, cigarettes or tobacco products to be used by any person under the age of 18 years on the premises’.

The Act further states  that “liquor” means any spirit, wine, ale, porter, cider, perry, hop beer, baka, lapire, toddy or any liquor containing more than two per centum (%) by weight of alcohol or any liquor containing more than one per centum of alcohol.

Additionally, according to the licensing legislation, shopkeepers should ask for ID before they sell alcohol to anyone they are not sure is 18 years old. Any shopkeeper can be prosecuted and have their license suspended, revoked and not renewed if they are found guilty of not respecting this legislation.

However, what is the actual situation? How do you respond as you witness this law being breached? Have you ever been asked for your ID in the shops before you buy alcohol? Are the youth who are coming to buy alcohol ever asked to show their ID or refused the sale of alcohol because of their age? Who are sending children to buy alcohol? All these are pertinent questions that help paint the sad picture of what actually goes on in reality in the Seychelles communities.

The situation as it stands shows that enforcement of the existing law is unsatisfactory and that the persons on whom the onus of responsibility falls are not in reality taking their responsibility seriously enough.

Some of the problems lay in the fact that shopkeepers often rely on appearance and use of the ID card is not made.

Since correlation between physical stature and age varies from person to person, relying on appearance and looks only can be deceiving and consequential.

In addition, during a short consultation with members of the retailers association, shopkeepers shared that they are physically harassed and threatened by customers when they refuse to sell alcohol.

This apply to the under aged as well as those who are already in a state of intoxication whose request should by law not be entertained.

On the other hand there are also parents and guardians who fail to see the problem with sending their under aged child to the shop to buy alcohol.

Presently all the onus falls directly on the shopkeepers or owners of premises who can be blamed and prosecuted for their offence and even have their livelihood in question.

However there is evidently a need for the law to look at the other parties involved in these types of situation.

What about the minors who deliberately attempt to purchase alcohol and the parents or guardians who get them to buy on their behalf? What happens when a minor is caught buying or consuming alcohol? Are the parents or guardians made aware? Obviously there is a need to evenly share the responsibility of responsible buying and drinking.

Local agencies involved in the fight against substance abuse strongly believe that in order to address the issue the law should make it a must that all buyers produce ID as proof of age. 
Such a law is in force in some countries, in the USA, for example.

Now in the state of Tennessee you have to show ID to buy beer no matter how old you are, even if you have grey hair and use a walking stick.

The aim of this law is to place the responsibility of asking for the ID on the shopkeepers and assistants and to cut down on under aged drinking.

Emerging new past times locally -- such as the trend by young drivers of renting cars, which are in turn packed by their under aged friends for weekend outings --  have now created new markets for some of our shopkeepers, who are selling mostly alcohol up to 3 or 4 in the morning.

The local brands of cheap drinks but with high alcohol content are especially popular with some youth.

Offences such as family violence, rape, murder, road accidents are linked with alcohol.
It is apparent that alcoholism and all its related consequences is on the rise, hence the need for reinforcement of the “think twice” mentality especially in our youths.

Alcohol is and will probably remain a legal drug in Seychelles. What we need to see is more deterrents, less loop holes in the law, and enforcement being addressed.

Additionally, with the social renaissance drive in mind, we must come to accept that the responsibility lays not solely with the shopkeepers to ask for ID but on everyone in the community -- from the parents/guardians who send the child to the shop and everybody in the community who see these acts taking place but never say anything to curb it.
 
If you wish to share your views on this issue contact the Drug and Alcohol Council on 4281819 or email us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Centre Mont Royal on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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