Behchokǫ̀ RCMP say they have made two alcohol seizures in the community, where a temporary liquor prohibition was enacted earlier this month.
The community’s chief and council asked the NWT government for a 10-day prohibition earlier in May. Chief Clifford Daniels told Cabin Radio problems related to alcohol were proving “too much for the community” during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first seizure happened shortly after 8pm on Tuesday, May 12, RCMP said a news release. Police stopped a vehicle and found 13 375-ml bottles of whisky and vodka alongside one 750-ml bottle of vodka.
On the evening of the next day, May 13, police stopped another vehicle on Highway 3 that they said was heading toward Behchokǫ̀. RCMP found 3.3 litres of spirits and 48 cans of beer.
The alcohol was confiscated. Police say they are investigating both incidents to determine if the alcohol was going to be bootlegged, but no charges have yet been laid.
None of those involved were identified.
Temporary prohibitions can only last for 10 days at a time, but can be renewed. They are issued by the territorial government at communities’ request.
In Behchokǫ̀, Chief Daniels attributed at least some of the community’s alcohol problem to an influx of money from federal and territorial support payments related to Covid-19.
The federal government has created an emergency response benefit worth $2,000 per month for those who lose jobs or income because of the pandemic. At the end of March, the NWT government provided income assistance claimants with one-off emergency payments of between $500 and $1,000.
“You have some extra money and there’s not too much to do with it,” said Daniels, “so some use it as a coping mechanism to drink.”