Wine shop licence refused

| 26/04/2010

(CNS): Following the meeting of the Liquor Licensing Board on Thursday, plans by wine merchant Jacques Scott to open a new flagship store in West Bay have been derailed since the board did not grant a license. Peter Dutton had made an application for a change of location for an existing licence at Jacques Scotts’ small store at the harbour front in George Town to a proposed new location by Foster’s Republix. Dutton and his lawyer presented the plans for the new West Bay store to the board on Thursday afternoon. However, a number of objections were raised from local residents and existing liquor stores in the district and the board refused the application.

Before the application and objections were made Mitchell Welds, Chairman of the Licensing Board, recused himself as he said he was related to one of the objectors, leaving the deliberations in the hands of his deputy.
Gary Haylock, representing the West Bay Resident’s Committee, objected on moral grounds and also suggested there were already too many liquor stores in West Bay. He said that the recent escalation of crime in the district would be further aggravated by adding another store selling alcohol. “There are already too many alcohol outlets in our community,” he told the board, adding that he had never heard anyone in the district complain it needed more because alcohol was readily available.
Haylock believed that availability was already a contributing factor in the problems of crime for the district. “Alcohol is only good for one thing and that is to get drunk, and where people are drunk there is always trouble,” he said, claiming that the existing stores were a problem without adding anotherone. “There is no need for any additional liquor outlets.” Haylock also handed in a petition of signatures against the store, though the numbers were not revealed.
An objection on behalf of Joe-Enas Liquor Store on Church Street West Bay was also presented by lawyer by Patrick Schmidt, who said that the arrival of Jacques Scott would be damaging for his client’s business, which was Caymanian owned and run and had served the people of West Bay for many years.
He pointed out that Jacques Scott was a large, successful and powerful business that had recently been able to afford to pay for ads in the newspapers to campaign for their store. His clients, he said, were not and their livelihood was now under threat. Schmidt also pointed to the recent increase in crime, which would not be helped with another alcohol licence. With four stores already in the district, it was well served and very competitive. He said another store would put Joe-Enas out of business, which, with its long-standing local experience, gave a personal service to its customers.
Schmidt said that while competition could be good, the introduction of Jacques Scott would create an unfair playing field in an already small market and something would have to give, especially with a new store at what could be described as the mouth of the district. Schmidt noted that Jacques Scott wwould have an overwhelming marketing advantage due to its size and resources and it would be the end of his client’s Caymanian family business, and probably the other local liquor stores, putting a number of West Bayers out of work. Schmidt said there was no public interest in the granting of a licence to Jacques Scott.
On behalf of Jacques Scott, Dutton and his lawyer Mac Imrie said the wine merchant was not in competition with the ‘low stock – quick turnover’ model of the other local liquor stores like Joe-Enas, which did not sell as wide a selection of fine wines.
It was stated that the new store would be part of a major redevelopment, bringing jobs to the area as well as other commercial activity. Imrie said the planned $3 million investment would drive new traffic to the district, would be a great looking store and offer more than just alcohol as it would be similar to Jacques Scott’s store in Savannah, with kitchen and dinning-ware as well.
It was pointed out that unlike the current liquor stores it would not sell single units of alcohol and that it would have security guards on the premises during opening hours. Moreover, Imrie said that none of Jacque Scott’s other stores have ever attracted crime or trouble of any kind.
“We are very sensitive to the issue of crime and have been at pains to point out we will have security at the store and will not be selling single alcohol units,” Imrie said.  “Far from being a problem we are hoping the store will improve the district.”
The wine merchants argued that West Bay, far from having too many liquor stores, was for its size of population under served and had the lowest population to liquor stores ratio of any district on Grand Cayman. The attorney also pointed out to the board that the law did not allow them to consider competition or moral objections to alcohol as grounds to reject the application.
However, despite the presentation, the fact that Jacque Scott has already made a deposit to purchase the land and the recent publicity campaign to promote the intended project, notice was issued on Friday of the board’s deliberations and the application was not granted. CNS has contacted the wine merchants for their reaction and is waiting on a response.
During the afternoon’s session the board also heard an application by the licensee of Archie’s Place on Shedden Road, Trevor McIntosh, who asked to have the ban on playing music overturned and permission to use the patio area because his business was suffering severely as a result. He said he did not think he would be able to keep the bar open without music. However, the board decided to continue the suspension of the Music & Dancing Licence and the decision on whether or not to grant permission for the use of an outdoor patio at the bar was deferred until June.
There was good news for Heather Lockington, the owner of the Cotton Tree Company Limited, on Conch Point Road, West Bay, who was granted a Hotel category Liquor Licence in order to serve alcohol to her guests staying at the holiday cottages, and for Garth Ebanks, the new Tiki Bar licensee as the chairman’s decision to allow him to operate from 11:00 am on Sundays was ratified.
On the other hand, there was bad news for John Swanson of Jungle Nightclub, who was not granted permission to operate on Tuesday nights until 2:00 am Wednesday mornings, or for Antonio Crescente at the Nectar Lounge in Seven Mile Shops, who did not get a variation on his existing licence to nightclub hours. Lester Timothy was also refused permission to use the patio area as part of the licensed premises outside his Power Supply Bar & Lounge at the bar in Marquee Plaza. Leonard Hew of the Office Lounge in George Town will have to wait until the June meeting to find out if he can extend his operating hours on Tuesdays until 2:00 am Wednesday mornings.

Category: Headline News

Comments (42)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Screw these people. Alcohol can turn a man into a monkey. I am seriously tempted to quit. If we all quit, then these people could open any where they want.

    Good luck, Cayman.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Okay no offense to the Liquor Stores in West Bay but how the hell can you all claim that you are 100% Caymanian owned and operated?  Last I checked the only store that I saw anyone Caymanian in was JD’s.  XXXXX  So where do you all get off complaining about losing Caymanian jobs. 

    Jacques Scott may be big and powerful as one objector put it but guess what…In today’s economy, we are all looking for the best dollar saver.  If there is a sale at Kirk’s you can bet your ass Fosters, Price Right and Cost U Less is going to get bypassed by many West Bayers willing to take the drive to Kirk’s to buy whats on sale.  That is called COMPETITION and Value for Money!!  So if Jacques Scott wants to open their store and offer better value for money I am all for it.  Especially in these economic times.  Honestly the little liquor stores will still survive.  I pass by and all the drunks and creepy people are in and out buying.  At least this one store will have some class if they are made to open.

  3. The grapes of wrath says:

     

    Another shot in the foot for West Bay. If people want to get alcohol, they will get it. Wouldn’t it be nice to get it in a clean, friendly, well stocked, purpose built wine/liquor store?  What is the big deal about allowing a proven successful, responsible corporate citizen setting up shop in the area, I for one would be appreciative.  It’s sickening to hear all the negative drum beating about the dangers of alcohol abuse, moderation and self control are the keys.  What could be more enjoyable thanhaving family and friends over for dinner enjoying a nice glass of vino rouge whilst chewing the fat? Do you remember that famous wedding were they ran out of wine, and guess what, a certain notable gentleman made up the shortfall from water, ah! those were the days. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a God-fearing Christian just like the next person. Perhaps, Jacques Scott could ask Mr. D or Mr. R  to make the application on their behalf; they would be on the second phase by now.

    Jacques Scott, Good luck, don’t give up please!

  4. Anonymous says:

    To Dennis:
     

    How exactly do granting a new liquor license establishment for West Bay can be considered a better vision for West Bay?

    How can this business increase employment for West Bay?

    The owners  have been in business for nearly 40 years and they still claim they need employees with expertise in selling "Fine Wines". If they really wanted to have local people employed in their business to sell wines, why have they not taught a few of their staff this all important job skilll?

    To all those Denniss’ there is only one liquor store in all of Cayman that is open after 7 pm.

    This is the only sensible decision the LLB has made in the last 26 years. 

    The  people that have got this wrong is the poor Dennis’sof Cayman. The business people and the Police know that this is the right decision and the people of West Bay also know this is the correct decison.  Jacques Scott also know that this is the correct decison, but they are in business to make money not to improve mankind.

    • Anonymous says:

      " Jacques Scott also know that this is the correct decison, but they are in business to make money not to improve mankind."

      I think its time that I reread "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand

  5. Anonymous says:

     This decision was completely different from the one in Savannah. JS was moving into the chairman and board members district. Why would the chairman care about Savannah; that would convince him to do the right thing. It would be different if he lived in Savannah.

  6. Marek says:

     Jacques Scott made a mistake in the way they went about this. What they should have done is applied for planning permission to construct the building and erected a sign several months before making the application so that locals could see what the project would look like.

    Made it a mixed use project with oh say… A COFFEE SHOP… upper level office space and dry storage in the rear so that they would have been only one of four tenants in the complex.

    Then purchased the local shop that filed the complaint, relocated that shop and license to their new location and then ultimately applied to change the license from Joe-Enas to Jacques Scott.

    Everybody wins…

    • superman says:

      brilliant!  sounds like you’ve got it all figured out.  maybe you should run for premier.

  7. anonymous says:

    west bay  have 30 bar licences and 6 liquor stores need no more

  8. anony mous says:

    WINE STORE? ITS A LIQUOR STORE

  9. Dennis says:

    I think the board got this one wrong. I’m a big supporter of small Caymanian owned businesses and I believe that businesses that have struggled for survival over the years should have some preferential opportunity as the economy expands. But this decision is counterproductive for West Bay. from the beach areas.

    The existing liquor retail businesses in West Bay have a unique competitive advantage in their late opening hours. This gives them all retail liquor sales after 7:00 pm and that alone will ensure their survival. It also opens possibilities for selection and service expansion that is not being taking advantage of at the moment. Any number of entrepreneurial investors would happily purchase these businesses just to get their hands on their unique operating license, even or perhaps especially with Jacque Scott as a high priced competitor down at the 4-Way stop.

    What I feel is missing here is a vision and master plan for upgrading West Bay into a more attractive and commercially active center that will pull customers north f rom the beach areas. At the moment these intimidated customers are driving south not north for their shopping, including food and gas. They are not shopping at Jo-Ena’s or Pop a Top. Those businesses predominately service a local cliental.

    West Bay needs a major boost forward, not just in policing, crime control and social services but in a positive, forward thinking and modern commercial development program. Fosters was a good first move but the community needs much more and Jacque Scott’s proposed store will help stimulate the area, change it image and eventually enhance the prosperity of West Bay. As the area redevelops with security and quality more businesses will move in. This will increase both employment and property values that in turn will encourage more investment and expansion. A virtuous cycle.

    This was a chance to use the power of licensing to stimulate renewal and growth; instead it was used as a barrier to expansion, reinforcing an emerging locked-down ghetto-like culture and a reputation for restrictive protectionism and cronyism.

    West Bay should be designated as a major redevelopment initiative, one that uses licenses, permits and incentives to open the door to quality development. Not just for political friends but immediately for any Caymanian business that wants to invest.

    Nothing solves the problem of economic deterioration and insidious social degeneration better than prosperity and prosperity is driven by competitive enterprise. The other choice is to lock out all expansion and attempt to halt crime by heavy policing. Good Luck.
     

    • Dred says:

      Huuum not sure I agree with you completely.

      West Bay already has a heep of issues from high crime to social ills. Why would you want to add Jacques Scott to this pile?

      While I believe Jacques Scott will not be a serious addition to the crime issue I feel indirectly it will contribute. Let’s keep in mind not all JS customers are wine enthusiast. Many are beer drinkers who buy by the case either to binge or for parties. This does not help the issues of alcoholics of which West Bay has a lot.

      Some people think of alcoholics as brown paper bag people but many buy their medicine by the case then binge drink and then go beat up their wives. After awhile of this end up loosing their jobs and get another only to rinse and repeat the process. Some buy for parties and many of those drinkers take to the streets afterwards.

      Personally I am not from West Bay but I would want it located in my district. I was saddened when they allowed them to go to Savannah and now you see crime starting to rise their also.

  10. Anonymous says:

    For those of you who couldn’t see before, now you can see who runs the islands.  This is not about providing the best service at the lowest prices.

    This island is run by those who have the connections.  It is really unfortunate that Cayman will never have low prices because of this sort of foolishness.  Allow the small business owners (and large ones for that matter that are local businesses) to run this country into the ground by wanting profits unheard of anywhere else in the world.

    Do you really think that gas stations need to make$2 a gallon + on fuel for profit?  Do you really think that small business should be allowed to dictate on another business entering a specific market?

    This is a joke!  I hope Jacques Scott raises the prices for liquor to these small businesses who depend on them to import it all, that would show who really is the boss.

  11. anonymous says:

    Why not issue a liquor license for Fosters to sell wines in their supermarket and put that piece of land next door to better use. such as an afterschool activity hall.  In the USA and worldwide Supermarkets are allowed to have a small section for wines and cooking beverages.  Think about that Woody.

  12. Anonymous says:

    competing with your customers not good. J/S did the same thing at countryside forcing your self into a comunity that does not want you is very bad manners.

    • Lyp O'Sucshean says:

      And look and what happened to Savannah – the whole community crumbled once liquor stores were not a 10 minute drive away.

      • Anonymous says:

        The Liquor Store in Savannah saves me money. I use less gas to get my weekly supply of booze so now I can buy more booze.

        The same would happen in West Bay if they moved the store from George Town.

  13. finally says:

    This decision had to be a "local West Bay" decision because the liquor store was moving into the neighbourhood. It only makes sense then that local west Bayers voiced their opinions and took action. For anyone to say that the board was somehow swayed because of where its members come from etc etc is ridiculous, they simply followed the established procedures and made the right decision by not allowing one "franchise" to have the lions share of the market. I applaud this decision and I hope those small business people take the time out to thank the board for their wisdom.

     

     

  14. peter milburn says:

    Talk about a POLITICAL decision.SOME people say jump and we ask how high MASSA?

  15. Delroy Kelleck says:

    No wonder we are a laughing stock in West Bay. What our District needs is some good solid development. All this decision does is tell the rest of the Cayman Islands that we are insecure and a mess. I guess WB is closed for business. Jacque Scott is one of the better companies on this island and we are telling them to go away. Time for some common sense here.

  16. Anonymous says:

    So you really think this is the last that has been heard from Jacques Scott?

    Please!! Even with all the protesting that happened in Savannah, the liquor store still ended up at Countryside!!

    Do you really think that they would look to invest $3 mill and have that opportunity go down the drain? Tink again people!

    Further, the store is not targeting the "locals" who go tothe other stores, they are catering to "everyone" else.

    Capitalism reigns in Cayman.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The LLB erred in law in taking competition for local Pop a Top stores into account.

    Jacques Scott will appeal the ruling to the Grand Court and the court will point out to the board where they feel into error and the licence will be granted.

    Welcome to West Bay Jacques Scott. You’ve done a superb job in Savannah !!!

    Wonder if Mac will jump up and down objecting to it like he did in Savannah ๐Ÿ™‚

    Nope he was on a different mission in Sawanah ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Dred says:

    It’s all kind of crazy if you ask me. While I am not a lover of the Jaques Scott group it is true their business model is quite different.

    Actually to be honest it’s the bars and small liquor stores that fuel the West Bay crime and other social ills.

    It sure would be interesting to see what would happen if you start turning down bar and liquor license in the district due to rising criminal levels to see how it would impact the crime in the district.

    This quote was interesting "It was pointed out that unlike the current liquor stores it would not sell single units of alcohol ". So the wine buyers are buying by the case? So buying for cooking or to have with dinner would be out of the question then?

    They could close them all down if you ask me. Alcohol + Human = Problems. Simple math. Sad fact is that there are more people who abuse alcohol than those who do not. So many people drive home nightly technically drunk who somehow make it home.

    • Anonymous says:

      Point of clarity: a single unit of alcohol is one serving, i.e. one shot of spirits, one small glass of wine, etc. Therefore, I do not believe that you would have any difficulty purchasing a multi-unit bottle of wine at this retailer.

      All that aside, however, I do agree with your conclusion of the inherent problems with consuming alcohol. According to http://www.learn-about-alcoholism.com/statistics-on-alcoholics.html, 6% of alcohol drinkers in the US are alcoholics. That’s a sobering thought (pun intended).

      In the final analysis, if someone wants to drink, they are going to drink. Conversely, if someone makes the wise decision to eliminate the risk of becoming an alcoholic, then it doesn’t much matter where Jacques Scott opens (or any other liquor store, for that matter).

      • Dred says:

        "Point of clarity: a single unit of alcohol is one serving" this amounts to interesting rubbish. No one buys one serving so it can never in a sales situation be considered a single unit in sales terms. How many times have you gone to a wine store and bought a single serving?

        That amounts to rubbish in sales. When you sell a bottle you sell a bottle. I am sure wine sellers do not record in their books we sold 1,000 servings today.

        Therefore saying that sales of 1 bottle of beer = 1 sale and sales of 1 bottle of wine = 1 sale. PERIOD.

        I love statistics you know because stats are what you make of them. Basically a statistic is an extrapolation of a sampling over a populus. However what I would say is this. Show me the stat of how many people who drink have driven home or somewhere technically under the law drunk at one time or another. Then I would be impressed.

        Let me be the first to stick my hand up. I’m betting a lot of others will also and the numbers will be staggering. Everytime this was done someone could have been killed. Am I proud of it? Hell no. At the time maybe. Having kids changes your perspectives I guess.

        Fact is while I feel Jacques Scott is not SIGNIFICANTLY contributing to our crime issue BUT I believe they contribute to people driving home drunk. You see people who have private parties can go to them and buy beers by the case loads. I don’t have to tell you how many of those people drive home "under the influence" of alcohol. So while the crime is not a major impact the risk factor of a serious car accident is increased. Also these companies are the sellers to bars who are the #1 contributors to crime (indirectly) and accidents (directly).

        Personally I believe bars in Cayman have a serious impact on alot of what is happening here. Men who are already struggling financially go to them to waste what little they have. Then they hook up with women who are only looking for the dollar in their pocket. Then comes the broken marriage and fatherless kids and another set of new line criminals are being created. Some of these people after teh money is gone go to crime.

        Conversly women who do this often leave devoted men at home, the few that remain to go out to drink. Then they get too drunk and do something they will regret for the rest of their lives. Some strengthen up some go bad and leave the family motherless. Some of them turn to harder drugs to ease their depression. This supports the crime.

        Listen I have seen this too much so don’t think too nice of any of these groups. They all contribute to where we are today.

        I really can not take either the Jacques Scotts or the bars or the small liquor stores cause they all are not for a healthy society. Of course they would say different because no one wants to be the bad guy but they know they contribute.

  19. Anonymous says:

    typically this is more backward thinking by the local community and competing businesses by building the store it would increase the stature of the community and attract higher class businesses to the area. Protecting attitudes is not the way economies grow and if the Joe Ena can not survive then let it be so. The short term benefits outweigh any downside as we need to create construction jobs in this depressed sector. Already West Bay is looking slum like and we need the investment to turn around the downward spiral. If the goal is to keep the island feel to the district then do so by mandating the building to look "islandish". In a time when we need jobs and investment this denial speaks volumes to the small mindness of the liqour control board and of the community.

  20. Anonymous says:

    this article sums up the problems of cayman perfectly… backward, small town politics supported by ‘moral’ objections……..zzzzzzz

  21. Anonymous says:

    I dont use the existing rum and beer shops in West Bay because they seem to be surrounded by creepy looking guys drinking out of bottles hidden in brown paper bags. I was looking forward to a Jacques Scott store where I could purchase a bottle of wine on Friday evening in a well lit secure area, without wasting fuel to go down to Cayman Falls.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly what I was going to say. Would not step foot in any of those liquor stores.

  22. helen reid says:

    For once i actually agree with the Liquor Board – I live in West bay and love Joe- Enas. Their prices are very fair and the staff are always lovely. I would hate a big chain to take them out of business.

    • Anonymous says:

      How can you call an establishment like Jacques Scotts a "big chain"?  It is solely a Caymanian company and operates no where else but in the Cayman Islands.

  23. Anonymous says:

    This is ridiculous – how can you compare Jo-Ena’s and Pop a Top to Jacques Scott? If you live in West Bay and want a bottle of wine for something other than cooking you have to drive down to Big Daddy’s at Cayman Falls. If they want to do something about the "alcohol related crime" in West Bay they should rather make the liqour stores there close at 7 like everyone else and not midnight. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Very simple. Just check who makes up the Liquor Licensing Board and you will find your answers there.

      • Anonymous says:

        So so true!!!!!!!! Conflict of interest if you ask me, how can one of the owners of one of the specific liquor stores that objected to Jaque Scott cast a non bias vote????? He should have not been allowed tovote on this.. WHAT A JOKE!

        • Anonymous says:

          Well, if some of you smart asses had attended the meeting, you would nowbe aware that the Chairman excused himself from this matter and it was actually chaired by the Deputy Chairman who has no connection whatsoever to any of the liquor stores in West bay.

          And as for another comment on who/what the Liquor Board is made up of, explain exactly what you mean by that. I don’t see a thing wrong with who sits on that Board. I see a group of smart people who are looking out for the future of Cayman.

    • Goosed says:

      Good point. Padoxicalyl none of the small grocery stores in West Bay complained or appear to have complained when Fosters started up.

      What is good for the goose is surely good for the gander.

  24. A Caymanian says:

    Totally agree with the board. It’s enough problems in that district as it is now. Good on the objectors on looking out for their community. Hell, the Premier should be one of the main characters leading this charge/mission. As a matter of fact, ALL MLA’s, and not just that district. Mr. Bush, Mr. Ebanks, Mr. Anglin & Mr. Glidden, don’t allow that in your district.

    It’s enough bars & liquor stores already in West Bay.

    What to do something good for the community Mr. Dutton? Try establishing a fund that help these mis-unfortunate families within these islands through the social services and other. And not only your kind of business, but all those that benefit on the land that has brought them so much wealth, hope, place to raise a family, sand & sea.

    Take that land and build a play ground for our kids, a social office to deal with those that are depress. Make something useful for mankind at least this one time round. Lead the charge. Be the change that you would like to see for the Caymanian people, because the community has.

    God will surly bless you for your great deeds Mr. Dutton.

    One Love all!

  25. Tiki Traffic says:

    Can the police or the NRA please ban cars parking directly opposite the junction of the by-pass and West Bay Road.  It is really really dangerous, the marked out parking spaces are not wide enough and I have already seen a couple of close calls on serious accidents.  Why are Tiki’s profits more important than our safety?

    • Anonymous says:

      why is this comment published, it has nothing to do with the story and is merely some pleb moaning about something completely irrelevant.

    • Anonymous says:

      This lady isnt paying attention. The cars at Tiki bar disappeared last week after they put no parking lines down the side of the road.