Alcohol ban 'will lead to black market'
Manama, February 17, 2012
A senior municipal councillor in Bahrain yesterday warned MPs against trying to ban alcohol, saying it will be catastrophic for the country.
It follows a call to ban alcohol by MP Abdulhakeem Al Shemri during parliament's weekly session on Tuesday, as well as MP Abdulhaleem Murad claiming during a special extraordinary session yesterday that banning alcohol is more important than constitutional amendments, a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper said.
Manama Municipal Council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor said such a move will only create an alcohol black market and lead to an increase in crime.
"Instead, the government should be enforcing the legal age for drinking and that's 18 in Bahrain," said Mansoor. He stressed that alcohol is only available in specific locations, but urged the government to ensure that sellers abide by the law.
"We don't want to be like other countries that have banned it and today are being left to deal with tremendous problems," he said.
Although Mansoor, a member of the Al Wefaq National Islamic Society, said he is against drinking and has never had alcohol in his life, he added that people's freedoms must be respected. "People who want the mosque know where it is and those who want to drink alcohol know where to get it," he said.
"I am against drinking and have never consumed alcohol before, despite being offered it for free during meetings and conferences abroad.
"But freedom of people to drink doesn't mean they can threaten the safety of other drivers and pedestrians by driving drunk, harass others on the street, storm into homes or urinate on doorsteps.
"Otherwise, I don't think that dealing with drunken people is a problem. For decades we have dealt with many, especially Westerners who looked normal in most cases.
"The problem was with Asians and GCC nationals having excessive amounts, as if it was the end of the world if they didn't do so." - TradeArabia News Service