President of the Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA), Sharmane Roland-Bowen, would like the legal drinking age in Barbados raised from 16 to 18 years old.

Arguing that “we are currently having 14, 15, 16 and 17-year-olds in this island purchasing alcohol with no questions being asked [and] this is wrong”, she also called for it to be a requirement that young persons be made to show proof that they are not underage before being allowed to purchase alcohol.

“We are asking our leaders to raise that age from 16 to 18 and thereby any person who is 18 years old who will be purchasing alcohol, they need to show some form of identification to prove they are in fact 18. We are also asking for penalties for persons who purchase alcohol for children and also [for] persons who sell alcohol to these minors.”

She spoke to the media yesterday during the peaceful protest speaking out against underage drinking and the Association’s concerns about the Barbados Sugar and Rum Season. This was staged near the Foursquare Rum Distillery and Heritage Park in St. Philip. The day’s activity was also used to launch the Association’s “Stand Up for Safety On Our Roads Campaign”.

Roland-Bowen said the campaign is targeted at “all Barbados, especially our leaders”. The day’s location is one of many stops that will be made. The campaign will be ongoing, particularly throughout the upcoming Crop Over season.

Dismissing the idea that drinking “alcohol is our culture”, Roland Bowen stated, “We need to get from this negative thinking that alcohol is our culture. That probably was our culture back in the days when they had the donkey cart and so on travelling the roads, but not in this day and age. All other countries are updating their laws, protecting their citizens and we need our laws in Barbados updated to protect us the citizens as well as our visitors who will be coming to this island.”

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