Booze board allows extensions

| 11/12/2011

night.JPG(CNS): After many months of pressure from a number of bar and club owners on Grand Cayman for extensions to their business hours, the liquor licensing board has finally given in and granted several extensions for businesses for Friday night through to the early hours of Saturday morning only. This means that several George Town bar licence holders and one West Bay bar that made the application will now be able to serve drinks until 1:30am and play music till 2am. The board has also granted most of the main George Town nightclubs an extension to their licences as well, allowing them to serve booze until 2:45 and play music until 3am on Saturday mornings. 

Some of the bars and clubs had been battling for over a year to get the licence extensions in order for their business to stay open later, at least on a Friday night to Saturday morning. The board had resisted the applications by the clubs and bars involved for a variety of reasons, including opjections from residents, but the RCIPS denied that it was the police which was behind the continued refusals.

Following a meeting on Thursday the board finally relented and granted The Inferno in West Bay, Welly’s Cool Spot, Roof Top Lounge and the Corner Pocket all in George Town permission to serve drinks until 1:30am and allow music and dancing until 2am. Jet Nightclub, O Bar Nightclub, L.I. Lounge, Elements and Club Allure were all given permission to sell drinks until 2:45 and play the music until 3pm. Although some of the clubs had asked to operate until 4am, the extension still gives most of Grand Cayman’s nightclubs an extra hour of business on their busiest night.

This move by the board will pave the way for other bars and clubs to make an application to the board to extend their business hours on Friday nights.

The news came in the wake of the revelation by CNS that government will also be bringing changes to the music and dancing law to lift the current ban on drinking and dancing on Sundays for special occasions. This will pave the way for restaurants, bars, and clubs to apply to the board for an extension to serve past midnight on New Year’s Eve, which this year falls on a Saturday night. Without the amendment all premises serving alcohol would have had to stop serving drinks and shut down the music well before midnight, putting a dampener on the New Year festivities.

If legislators pass the lawnext week, as is expected, Board Chair Mitchell Welds confirmed on Thursday that the licensing board does have provision to hold an emergency meeting in order to allow the islands’ licensees to apply for extensions in time for the 2012 party.

In order to pass the amendments to the law the government will, not for the first time, need to suspend the 21 day consultation period and push the legislation through on the grounds of an emergency situation.

Meanwhile, although the board has relented on the decision to give local bars and clubs the opportunity to extend their business and improve their earnings, the owner of Liquor 4 Less was once again refused an extension to the business hours for his liquor stores in George Town. Prentice Panton has also been trying in vain for many months to push his enforced 7pm closing time back to 10pm in line with liquor stores in the districts but he was disappointed with yet another refusal.

Category: Local News

Comments (15)

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  1. Prentice Panton says:

    Incredible to believe that the bars, restaurants and night clubs get extended hours, only asking for it after a few months, but we at Liquor 4 Less can't get it after asking many times over the last six years. Many bars, restaurants and night clubs will get this without even asking for it once, can someone, starting withthe Chairman of the liquor licensing board or the Premier, tell me how this is right?

     

    Other liquor license holders can sell until 3am, other liquor stores can sell to 10pm, but us we can only sell until 7pm, that's 3 hour less per night or 18 hour less a week or 936 hours less a year, I'm sure you're getting the picture. Yet we pay the same license fee, have the same license, tell us [the] reason behind us not getting the same 10pm opening hours, you must have a very, very good reason, some very strong arguments why this wrong and injustice is allow to continue for so long and only after a lawyer and a few other meets with the Premier they not only get extended hours, they get the law to be changed to facilitate them. I can't get it even thou not laws need to be changed for us.

     

    Guess I know the wrong set of people, have the wrong set of friends, have the wrong set of family members!

     

    By the way, we have a petition with over 700 people supporting us in getting longer opening hours, what did they have?

    • Concerned says:

      I agree with the existing restrictions on this outlet.  The market it is aiming at is the most full of the type of drinker who causes problems for themselves, their families and the community.  It is to protect everyone from the problems of easily available alcohol late at night that licensing laws were brought in and should remain in place for this specific store.  Maybe the owners of this store have not had to suffer the abuse of having problem drinkers in the household, but as someone who has suffered from that abuse directly, I support the bold stance of the Board.  The post above was only interested in money.  Other things are more important.

      • Prentice says:

         

         

        Well if you agree with the existing restrictions on this outlet, why not all of them? Starting with the chairman's own family liquor store in West Bay. Surely with the high crime and problems with drinking and drugs there, that would be the best place to start with restrictions, after all it's his own family store, what's that old saying something about starting/begin at ones own home? Don't you think so? I'm sure they're not greed, so the extra hours shouldn't matter much now, at least according to you. The fact that many people drive from George Town to the West Bay and Bodden Town stores every night after 7pm because they and a least 5 other stores are the only ones that have a 10pm license. What are you saying it's only problem drinkers in George Town? Or is it only the problem drinkers from George Town that cause problems in the household? If that's the case, then have the Premier, tell Social Service to stop paying to send staff to the other areas, let's work on the only problem area and who knows, maybe fix most my customers, sounds like some don't need fixing, so they don't need to buy from me, the funny thing is I would be happy with that, I also sell water, Ever Fresh juices, Ritz Soda and Rip it energy drink, so I should be OK, after all once that happens there wouldn't be not crime, DUI and the like, so we can cut the Police and the prison budget by lets say in half. Then the government can lower my fees, duties, licenses etc. I wouldn't need any security guards, so I can lay off them too. You may just have the prefect idea, lower crime, lower fees.

         

        You see your point on us causing problem drinkers to drink is pointless, since you said maybe the owners (There's only one own and yes I'm Caymanian by birth, not any grants, also no fronting going on here). Let me ask you, do you know that I didn't drink, 17 years now, drinking nearly killed me, I consider myself to be one of the problem drinkers you're talking about. I talk to many of my customers about the fact that you can go on living without drinking. I've when to the jail, a school, treatment centers etc to talk about my personal problems with it. I give jobs to people who are still in prison, who are on work release, go to the treatment centers etc. Does that now make me qualified to know about these people, well if not, I worked in the liquor business from lets say 18 years old, I'm now 41, at 6-8 years I use to go to a bar and buy over-proof rum by the bottle, I just stood out side the door, handed over the money and the empty bottle (back then they recycled), and would get it filled to take to the person, I was buying it for, so I could get a few cents to buy candies. I would sit on the steps of my neighbors and listen to them talk about drinking, drugs, you name it, at that young age, drank from the time I was 15, I could go to bars order my own drinks over the counter, my first real drunk I was 15 1/2 maybe 16 year it was a New Years night at a local hotel, I got my own drinks from the bar, at 16 1/2, I would go to a George Town liquor store with my school friends and with our school bags on our backs and buy the rum, then go around the back of the store drink it, then go back to school. By the time I was 20, I had heath problems from drinking, crash DUI at 23, stop drinking at 24, then started my first successfully business on the same corner of Eastern Ave. So I know first hand the dangers with alcohol. But in no way, shape or form do I see me opening to 10pm changing the fact that it is a problem I started, or will it finish with me closing my door for business at 7pm. What I do is tell my staff is not to sell to minors, customers need to be at least 18. Have you really looked around Cayman ? Just start by my two stores, the Eastern Ave store there around 10 bars in a one mile radius. They all open until 1pm, now they can open later, thanks to the changes. They are open on Sundays, I do not, but it's me, you think that causing the problem? Targeting, marketing to problem drinkers? I was raise up on Mary Street, I started my clothing store in the same spot the corner of Eastern Ave and Shedden Road, that's why I'm there, it's my old neighborhood. What I'm doing is trying to give the people, often over looked, often under valued, better service, better prices, so with the little they have, they can buy something else. You know who started the price wars on food, liquor, electronic, clothing in Cayman? I'm not going to say, feel free to take a guess.

         

        Why then do I sell it? Because it is 100% legal to and there are many more people that can drink responsibly, than those who have a drinking problem. The fact that I have a drinking problem, doesn't make it right for me to try stop those that don't, I try to talking to the ones that I know may have a problem, it's not for me to decide, they have to. How many other liquor license holders do you know that is willing to do that? Tell me something, we have a store next to Foster Food Fair by the airport, that we want 10pm opening hours for, is that store targeting "the type of drinker who causes problems for themselves, their families and the community"? The customers there drive to shop with us, there another liquor store next door, owned by one of Cayman riches person, you think his targeting people? The taxi drivers ask us to stay open, the late flights come in after 9pm and the tourist want to buy a drink, to take back to there very often over priced hotels. Are you telling me that it's OK for people of West Bay, Bodden Town and East End to buy from liquor stores after 7pm, but not the people of West Bay Road and George Town? Only those two areas have "the type of drinker who causes problems for themselves, their families and the community".

         

        I find it hard to believe that, but surely you most know, right?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Finally, we emerge ever so slowly from the crab hole.  Ooops! look ma, there's hardly anyone around!!  I knew something wasn't right when they told us to just stay down there, we are handling everything perfectly!!!

    LOL!!!! Ever heard of opening the gate after the herd is gone??

  3. Anonymous says:

    How messed up is this, You can stay out an drink at nightclubs until 3 am but the liquor stores have to close at 7 pm.

    I would think there would be a bit more compromise with the liquor stores as majority of their sales are for personal consumption at home (no drunk driving, fighting etc.)

  4. Knot S Smart says:

    Its a time to drink and be merry and celebrate the fact that after this Christmas, we will only have to live through one more Christmas of the UDP blowing away our money, and killing us with high taxes….

  5. Married to a Caymanian says:

    Sorry, I reqlly love a good time too, but nothing good comes out of booze and bars open until 3AM period.
    Drunk driving, drug use, bar fights, crime… Not to mention the patrons just dragging butt until noon the next day – and usefess at work still on Monday! Let me ask the under 30 crowd in my office this morning, WHEN they half show up !!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hooray. Now I can get drunk at all hours!

  7. Cayman-Expat says:

    This favouritism has to stop. As a member of the tax-paying public, I would like to know on what grounds the refusal was issued to Liquor 4 Less, again?

    How can we as a country maintain fair and balanced business practises when there is obvious favouritism. 

    I bet if a foreign business man was at the table, the board would be bending over backwards.

    Only in Cayman… the place where your own people, are your worst enemy.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. Totally and completely agreed. Caymanians cannot bear to see their own Caymanians progress, and then we all cry when 'foreigners' come in and take over when we are doing it to ourselves.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Not a peep from the Ministers Association. hmmmm.

  9. Anonymous says:

    cayman is inching into the 21st century…… but will it be too little too late?

  10. Anonymous says:

    one small step for man….a giant leap for caymankind

  11. anonymous says:

    If anyone would do some research these licenses in the 1960s and 1970s were granted well into the early hours of the morning. This is really not a big deal.