Push for raising alcohol purchase age

The Drug Abuse Prevention Unit is pushing for a debate on whether the age at which young people can purchase alcohol should be moved from 18 to 21.

Jacinta Bannis who heads the Unit, says her agency wants to be advised on whether the country should go the legislative route in dealing with that matter.

Bannis said greater attention needs to be paid to the situation because abuse of alcohol by young people is becoming more rampant in Dominica.

She is of the view that the island could emulate the United States, where young people under the age of 21 are not allowed to legally purchase alcohol.

“It would have to be a debate. I cannot independently decide on that but I think if it is goes into the public domain, they would have to decide what age would be most appropriate,” the Drug Abuse Prevention Unit official said.

She observed however that if the first use of drug is delayed, “we won’t even have to think of jacking up the age.”

She wants stores, shops and other outlets where alcohol is sold to be mindful of selling alcohol to minors.

“Alcohol is the most addictive drug in the country.  When people drink it brings out several problems including violence, abuse and so much more problem,” she said.

According to the anti-drug abuse official, the community should help to impress on the minds of young people, the dangers associated with the use and abuse of alcohol.

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  1. Matriculation
    May 20, 2012

    If rum is that bad, then why don’t they just ban it completely, or raise the age to 99?

    It it rather hypocritical encouraging this 2-tier system when alcohol side-effect(domestic abused,drunk driving, absenteeism,aggressive social behavior, public disturbance, sexual improprieties etc) affect all and sundry.

  2. teen
    May 20, 2012

    oh please. it will make no difference even if it were 18…people will sell alcohol to any age.. money they getting wii….

  3. man4dem
    May 20, 2012

    There too much under age drinking to begin with. With that said there is a need for more patrol of police officers in and around the town area. As mentioned from a retired police from the UK. Dominica should implement more stop and search of anyone that a police office feel to be suspicious or in area known for crime, a vehicles. Companies such as rentals with different drives please make sure that company information is cleared marked on your vehicles. We need to do more and for we Dominican who know better, let our actions do the speaking by helping and doing good even if the situation may be bad. Give God the Glory for us that we can make a difference more so for the younger generation. Peace…..

  4. Brakes
    May 19, 2012

    Instead of trying to address the problem of selling alcohol to minors U talking about raising the age to 21. U will loose that debate. Talk about raising the fees for liquor licenses. Implimenting all the laws in the Liquor License Act. I saw a popular mobile vender setting up there bar to sell alcohol by the New Town savanah during Loftus Emanuel funeral. Dem people wicked. Before there is an activity they park their van with their rum right in front of the entrance of the venue. Organizers of events can’t make back the money they spend for organizing events. They need to put a brakes on these vendors. You plant they rip.

  5. RUM
    May 19, 2012


  6. smokey
    May 19, 2012

    miss bannis that just dont make sence if the age of consent is 18 how will the age to buy alcohol can be 21 when a 18 year can live and married with her husband and you telling them they still need to be 18 to buy alcohol some 18 yrs old have already 2 kids and going on 3 so it just dont make sence and dont try to compair doming to usa amreica have more drunk that anything all the accident a children below 18 every one should control their destiny and self control can help with the abuse of alcohol no matter what age you put if some one want to abuse rum the will

  7. lol whut
    May 19, 2012

    LOL there was an age? I’m 18 and I’ve been buying rum since I was 15. Moving it to 21 would be useless noone cares

  8. Mabouché
    May 19, 2012

    I have to admit that I didn’t know the legal purchase age in Dominica was 18. Great to know. With that said,isn’t an 18 yr old considered an adult in Dominica ? What difference will changing the legal purchase age make ? None ! Its ridiculous to emulate U.S laws which clearly do not work! The current drinking age of 18 is almost non existent yet we do not have an extreme rate of teen/minor alcohol abuse.Leave well enough alone and focus on some real issues on that island of ours!

  9. kk
    May 18, 2012

    WHAT IS THE POINT??? When I was in Dominica their was no age restriction for anything,anyone can go clubbing…drink….so what is the point? Lol, thats not goin to happen..

  10. Anonymous
    May 18, 2012

    Stop adopting u.s laws. Growing up no one gave a $&@$ about alcohol age of consent and none of my comrades were ever caught up in alcohol. But when you regulate things people tend to rebel and do things out of spite. Prohibition made alcohol as bad as cocaine and a lucrative underground business. Not saying raising it will do that but it will glorify it.

    • DA Citizen in USA
      May 19, 2012

      You are such a fool, the USA is not the only country to have such laws. People like you need to think before condemning other countries. The legal drinking age needs to be raised. To many young people wreck their lives, commit crimes and then go to some of these scrupulous Artorneys to represent them saying blaming alcohol or illegal drugs for their conduct. So I think the Powers that be should raise the legal age to 21.

      • still
        May 20, 2012

        the same thing happens here in the US. maybe even worse than at home so raising the age to 21 wont change anything.

  11. jerseydominican
    May 18, 2012

    never knew the age for drinking in da was 18yrs old as a kid i use to it for my greatgrandma that didn’t make me a that abuse it

  12. Justice and Truth
    May 18, 2012

    I endorse this. Canada also has such a law. There are more laws coming for the youths and those who drive. Many accidents, injuries and deaths and many young lives have been lost, some in one accident, as much as five, have been caused by those youths who drive under the influence of liquor and who drive above the speed limit.
    Those who are under the age should have an I.D. If they want to purchase liquor, it should be mandatory that they are asked to show their I.D. There should also be signs in the stores indicating that ‘minors must show their I.D.’s and the store owners who sell liquor to minors, be it under the age of 21, will be prosecuted if they sell to minors. This Law should be upheld.

  13. tect nee cal lity
    May 18, 2012

    wander why these people act like that?they just talk for talking sake,tim tim come with a slant to enforce the law on ganja and bla bla bla because they seems to be making plenty money on ganja arrest.
    now this one come to raise drinking age,when big men giving young women alcohol, every weekend there is some happy hour,beer and rum dealers are major advertiser and sponsers in most events in dominica.carnival time you see all bands have drinks trucks giving drinks to minors like water.there are no effort to have alcohol free activites to promote sobriety.
    all these talks are just cheap political chant,
    be real policy makers.

  14. concienciously yours
    May 18, 2012

    “He who is without sin let him send the first stone” perhaps Jacinta Bannis should tell us at what age she had her first alcoholic drink, whether in a public or private party.
    i suggest that parents allowing their children to be out late at nights without supervision should be made to pay, the same to be applied for drugs alcohol, and under age sex offence. this is where remedial action should be concentrated. parents are responsible.

  15. Dominican abroad
    May 18, 2012

    Bring drig testing to DA, some of the young people that i’ve observed drinking,are for sure under 18, cops should be able to test them for underage dreinking, and if they do, send them to do community service, if they fail that, send their butts to detention, or state prison for a night,. and see if they’ll do it again.Some of our young ladies especially are living the sleaziest lifestyle that i’ve ever seen in DA. You have Bello at krazy coconut, and some of the ” big guys” in entertainment bringing all these depicabl event to our young folks in the name of making money. SAD

  16. again
    May 18, 2012

    an 18 year old adult should be able to go gto a stor and purchase rum if they want too…..

  17. sandy
    May 18, 2012

    well change age of consent too…….

    • stoic
      May 18, 2012

      yes they need to change it to 15….. a 15 year ild is old/mature enoug to make that decisiion….no man should g to jail for having sex with a 15 year old

    • Afro-Muslim Diaspora
      May 19, 2012

      There should be no age of consent period! A girl should be allowed to get married at 15 pure and simple.

      • Malgraysa
        May 19, 2012

        Yeah, but not without her parents approval right? We know where you are coming from with that crap. Is just another form of enslavement of our women in the name of shariah.

  18. stoic
    May 18, 2012

    just pay parro to buy it for you…..now we goignto arrest parros for buying alchohol for 18 year olds………..please…..

  19. My2Sense
    May 18, 2012

    I agree 100% with Nkrumah Kwame; we’re sending mixed signals by having these inconsistencies in our society.

    Drinking age – 18 (contemplating an increase to 21)
    Driver’s licences – 18
    Age of Consent – 16
    Voting age – 18

    Further, increasing the age will not curb underage drinking. A four-step process can address this social issue we face:
    1) Issuing National ID cards to all individuals who are old enough to work (or choose an arbitrary age like 16, for example).
    2) Instituting strict laws against selling alcohol to minors. These laws should include harsh penalties and fines.
    3) Instituting soft penalties for minor caught consuming alcohol (detention at schools, etc.)
    4) Police officers should enforce these laws on their regular patrols on weekends, holiday weekends and public gatherings (‘jams’ or ‘blockos’, etc.). These officers should frequent bars and other ‘hot spots’ so that their presence is felt.

  20. Sam
    May 18, 2012

    What is the point? Laws are not enforced in Dominica. They don’t ask for ID when children purchase alcohol so whether it is 18 or 21 it does not matter. Minors can already get their booze.

    • ideal
      May 19, 2012

      you are so right why now for change children always use to go the the rum shop and buy a gill or two for adults i always wondered about that this was never addressed before although i think it is a good idea we need to stop the alcoholic abuse in Dominica

  21. reality
    May 18, 2012

    boy since man 10 -12 years dey drinking in dca and nobody doh worry wit dat. children purchase alcohol at major supermarkets who cares? we are a reactive not proactive society no one has been prosecuted for selling or providing alcohol to the children and even in the home children have access to alcohol so good luck wit dat.

    • Justice and Truth
      May 18, 2012

      @ reality

      As with everything else, it is time for a change and to avoid those problems and also the youth who drink and drive and get into accidents. There are those who cannot control the liquor in their blood stream. Many accidents are also caused by youth who are under the influence of alcohol.

  22. aye
    May 18, 2012

    I think you should live it just the way it is…the problem isn’t the age changing the problem is the law enforcing… maybe we should have ID cards to know who is who… because even if I 18 some people can pass for 21 and still get their drinks… so 21 yr olds look like 18 yr olds.. soo….besides…

  23. May 18, 2012


  24. G
    May 18, 2012

    Alcohol abuse is not an issue in Dominica. Dominica does not have kids deprived of the taste of a beer or hard liquor, where the moment they are legally able to purchase it, they go insane over it. I am not proud to say this but my country’s kids get a taste for alcohol from a young age. I think this is why they are not alcohol crazy when they are legally capable of buying. Raising the age of alcohol purchase is an irrelvant issue right now. How many drunk driving cases do we have anyway….FOCUS ON THE CRIME RATE DARN IT!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND GROUPS, FOCUSING ON THE WRONG ISSUES.

  25. Miss Dorie
    May 18, 2012

    That will not stop young people from getting access to Alchol. It does not stop them in the US. It will not stop them in Dominica. The new thing is for the young people is using a tampon dip it with alchol and insert it in the rectum. They get the same effect if consumed by mouth. Plus there is no smell.

    • anonymous
      May 18, 2012

      never heard of that one before. wow, this is rough. what are we coming to?

  26. still
    May 18, 2012

    Why all those different standards? Age of consent 16,age to vote 18,age to drink 21?? So one can get pregnant at 16 with no viable means of child support, then you can decide who runs the country for you and your baby at 18 but cannot have a drink till 21. We should standardize these age limits and enforce it. we already have the age to drink at 18 but our young persons start a lot younger so what will happen when it moves to 21. I’m thinking the same thing that happens now. They will drink!!

  27. Anonymous
    May 18, 2012

    The age of alcohol consumption should remain at 18. At 18, we are entitled to vote. Age of sexual consent is 16. Let us keep the age at 18 for all three. Which means taking up the age of sexual consent back 18.

    The matter is society’s (all of us) responsibility. As some writers state, shop keepers, bar vendors, parents and peers have the responsible to manage, protect, dissuade our youth and adults from intoxication and other ills.

    We had a shopkeeper who would not sell alcohol to no one under eighteen, not even their parents sent them to purchase and she would not sell to those adults who she noticed had sufficient to drink. This is the practice we should emulate.

    • Justice and Truth
      May 18, 2012

      @ Anonymous

      There is a difference in alcohol assumption. It is too bad that all those ages of consent are not approximately 19, probably, the youths will mature and become responsible nationals.

  28. Nkrumah Kwame
    May 18, 2012

    Dear Ms. Bannis,

    The problem of alchol abuse in Dominica is but a reflection of wht and who we really are as Dominicans. You see, we have made a vitue of inconsistency! There is a different age for sexual consent, for opening up a bank account, the issuance of a drivers liscence, the drinking age, etc. etc.

    Why is it that OUR LEADERS (who are male in the majority)have decreased the age of sexual consent? What are their plans? Why is it that my girl can’t open an account on her own if she is under 18 but able to make decisions regarding sexual activity? We keep sending MIXED signals to our youth and then express shock/disappointment at their behaviour. One can’t be an adult and a child at the same time. Let’ be real.

    I am in agreemant that the age should be increased but there are certain preconditions which would have to be met such as an identification card for every citizen. How can a bartender KNOW if someone is a minor or not?
    And as you yourself have said, alchol is the most addictive drug in the country, then why are you not advising the powers that be that this is where the anti drug emphasis should be instead of making a CRIMINAL of every one found with a “spliff”? Let us stop this irrational behaviour and then, maybe then, we can begin to address the drugs issues more seriously

    Finally, I am sure you would have read the the 2011 Report of the World Commission on Drugs. It stated, among other things, that the war on drugs worldwide had failed MISERABLY and called on governments to seriously reconsider their current policies.

    Happy reading!!

  29. stoic
    May 18, 2012

    will you be raising the age of consent to 18 too?….and destroy the lives of men who have sex with teens who ae old enough to make that decision…puttting these men on the sex offender regiter list for having sex wht a 16 year old….

    • stoic
      May 18, 2012

      i meant sexual consent….follow america laws….no matter how stupid they are

  30. tiny
    May 18, 2012

    again no no no…the reason this was done in the US was because kid would get into alot of vehicle accidents when they drank…and you know what raising the alchohol age has not changed a damn thing……………..there is no benefits to this none at all…………………………………

  31. Malgraysa
    May 18, 2012

    Noble idea, totally unrealistic.Drinking age 18 is ok with me but even that is meaningless if no one checks at fetes and parties and blockos, especially those roadside vendors, who more often than not sell adulterated stuff to anyone who can pay. When last police arrested anyone for under-age drinking?

  32. Anonymous
    May 18, 2012

    What’s the point? I have been able to buy bottles of alcohol in supermarkets grocery stores or small shops long before I hit 18 or even 21. If the laws on the books are not enforced then changing them won’t matter. Enforce the law because 16 year olds go out and drink more than 21 year olds do

  33. tiny
    May 18, 2012

    please please this is rediculous…..in the USA there are people trying to reduce the age to 18 and you guys are trying to raise it……

    in the states kids jare using hand sanitizers…seperating the alcholhol in it using salt and many of them end up hospitalized because of that… they want to make this product an over the counter purchase……………just reduce the alcholhol purchase age to 18 and problem solved

  34. Shameless
    May 18, 2012

    Jess needs to ask for enforcement of the 18 years requirement instead. Changing the law to make it 21 is NOT addressing the issue but rather pushing paper again with no real achievement. Cant understand why we are so backwards in Dca.

    Further, what is the point of changing the law when people join the police at 18yrs, married at 18 years, etc etc ; so why cant they drink responsibly at 18 years? Jess should know as a former teacher that education is key and that is not being used effectively at the moment.

  35. gravitas
    May 18, 2012

    When will all legal drafters learn that the efficacy of ALL legislation depends on the strength of the enforcement mechanism built into EACH PIECE OF LEGISLATION?

  36. As I see it
    May 18, 2012

    What’s the point? The age for sexual consent is what 16 or 18? So we are allowed to have babies before we can drink right?

    In the US, it is being pointed out that soldiers under 21 who have faced hell on the frontlines of war in Iraq cannot buy a drink when they return home. And we still think it is a good idea, right?

    Adults pose a greater threat than the children. There are many people driving drunk but since there are not many fatalities, it is not a big problem, but young adults OVER 18 buying alcohol is a problem. What is the point?

  37. thick gul
    May 18, 2012

    Totally disagree!!

  38. Neutral
    May 18, 2012

    I personally think we should start by enforcing the laws that are on the books. The fact that one can send a 13 year old to buy a bottle of rum and the shopkeeper does not bat an eyelid is a problem. Next the issue with public intoxication has to be addressed. Police officers and public officials being drunk all day sends a bad message to the young people in DA. We must change the culture when it comes to alcohol consumption.

  39. Secretary
    May 18, 2012

    21 should be the legal age!…… I began working at 17 and still could not drink alcohol….. my mother would not allow it…. Recently I am disgusted by the influx of young children (maybe even younger than 17) at the ‘hot spots’ drinking alcohol and I tend to stay away from there…. their behaviour is so unbecoming, especially the young ladies…. It’s sad that our younger generation is choosing that path, and worse, the bar owners care for nothing else but ‘their money’… :cry:

    • stoic
      May 18, 2012

      21?…………..you chose not to drink because of your mohters influece………your mother could not prevent you from drinking….no one’s mother can prevent them fromm doing anything….that is why we needto decelop a relationship with our kids and guide them

  40. Reporter
    May 18, 2012

    While you are trying to emulate the United States, think of all the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. Keep in mind the more you restrict the young people the more they will find a way to do what’s not right. Look at all the underage binge drinking that happens in the US. This is because of the age rule. Look at all the drunk drive. Once they know they can’t have it then they start to abuse it. By increasing the age you might also increase the likelihood of a need to have it. Take into consideration that parents have to be educated about the age increase, the bars especially during festival and carnival has to be educated about the age increase. In addition is there a penalty to parents, the children or the individuals who will supply the alcohol?

  41. Country
    May 18, 2012

    Raising the age limit to 21 won’t do any good if you don’t enforce the law. Anyway children learn what they live, and Dominica has a Rum shop in every village and on every corner. But they are so tuff on the Ganja, go figure?

  42. Lakers4Life
    May 18, 2012

    I agree!

  43. Mr. Winstunner
    May 18, 2012

    At present i must ask are they even enforcing the 18 years age band?

    • Anonymous
      May 18, 2012

      A valid question. There is no real value in laws if at the end of the day they are not being properly enforced. I am hoping that the unit also made recommendations regarding enforcement. The last time I checked shop owners continue to sell to minors and some adults even send minors to buy hard drinks for them.

  44. Kaya
    May 18, 2012

    For this to be effective, the country would first have to look at issuing National ID cards to residents.

    • reality
      May 18, 2012

      social security cards and drivers license can achieve the same thing playing smart but not being clever.lol

      • Reader
        May 18, 2012

        And we could also use these national ID cards for voting!

  45. wise
    May 18, 2012

    when God is out of it, man is doomed to destruction, when God’s words are obeyed joy will fill the world

  46. Afro-Muslim Diaspora
    May 18, 2012

    Alcohol is the most addictive drug in the country…not marijuana but these goons are arresting grown men above these ages mentioned in the article for one joint!

    Alcohol is the most addictive drug in the country so instead of finding ways to get rid of these dangerous drugs we want to push up the age to 21. What a laughable and pathetic way to reason in the 21st century!

  47. lightbulb
    May 18, 2012

    Sorry but increasing the age, wont make a difference, the attitude to alcohol in our society is the problem.

    There is nothing about consuming alcohol in moderation, it is always to the excess. Young/ old, meg and bampee same difference.

  48. Tiger
    May 18, 2012

    I’ll drink to that.

  49. agree
    May 18, 2012

    I certainly agree and would immediately begin by cracking down on all the bars, shops, supermarkets selling to under aged kids.

    • LapTe
      May 18, 2012

      The best point …absolutely…fines to anyone selling or serving alcohol to minors. Alcohol has been one of the most dangerous things ever involved in humanity….accidents, cirrhosis, domestic abuse etc…..we need to stand up against the destruction by alcohol so that some folks can make a buck…we also have to shine the light of responsibility …

    • Anonymous
      May 18, 2012

      Changing the age in the law does not fix this. “cracking down” means “enforcement”.

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