An application for a Package Liquor Licence for West Bay was refused following a meeting of the quarterly session of the Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman.
The new application, deferred from a previous meeting, was made by Mr. Craig L. Burke for a Package Liquor Licence for building no.2471, unit no. 4, Heritage Square, West Bay Road.
The application was heard by an acting chairperson because of an apparent conflict of interest. Chairman Mitchell Welds and member Troy Burke stood down from the board as one of the objectors and the applicant respectively are closely related to them.
Newest board member Ms Bernice Richards was appointed as Acting Chairperson and she was assisted by board members Noel Williams and Ruth Williams. Executive Secretary Marva Scott-Dunbar was also present for the hearing.
In making his application Mr. Burke said he had lived in West Bay all his life. He outlined that the new commercial hub in West Bay is at the area of the four-way-stop and that people are happy to have it to avoid going into town and waiting in traffic lines.
He said he would like to open a liquor store at Heritage Square to offer the finest spirits and wines not available in West Bay.
Mr. Burke outlined that in George Town there are 491 persons per liquor store, while in West Bay there are 4,122 people per store. He said it would take 167 stores in West Bay to create the same ratio as in George Town. By no means was he advocating that many liquor stores for West Bay, he said, but was merely illustrating the need for another.
Mr. Burke said the other stores in West Bay catered to a different market and he would aim more for the expatriate market or those with particular tastes.
Mr. Neville Levy, on behalf of Joe-Ena’s Liquor Store in West Bay, said they were objecting on the basis that the area is already adequately served with liquor outlets.
He said his client is a half mile from this intended liquor store and another liquor store is less than a half a mile from it.
Mr. Levy said that between 60 per cent and 70 per cent of people in West Bay work in or travel into George Town to pick up their children from school. Many people from West Bay do not buy their liquor in West Bay, he maintained. He asked the board to deny the application on the basis that the area is adequately served.
Mr. Levy asked the board to consider the social impact of another liquor store in the area.
Pastor Gareth Haylock, Church of God, West Bay also objected. He had a petition with 90 signatures on it and he said the John Gray Memorial Church of West Bay had also voiced their objections to the new liquor store. Acting Chairperson Bernice Richards noted a letter of objection from John Gray Memorial Church the board had previously received.
Pastor Haylock said they were objecting on the basis that the store would be too close to the church buildings and, he said, there was no need for any more liquor outlets in the area.
Objectors Evmie Smith and Aileen Dilbert are also against the proposed premises.
Ms Smith said her mother’s household had been disturbed by a previous liquor establishment and she could see similar problems with this one as the house is only 50 yards from the new store. There could also be problems with traffic as that junction at the four-way-stop is a dangerous one, she said.
Her sister, Ms Dilbert, also voiced concern for their 80-year-old mother and her house’s proximity to the proposed outlet. She also voiced concern for her tenants living nearby. There are enough liquor outlets already in West Bay, she said.
Mr. Samuel Jackson, acting on behalf of the applicant, said Mr. Burke was of a good and reputable character and a shareholder of Heritage Holdings Ltd.
‘He has a vested interest in ensuring the property is controlled and maintained,’ he said.
He pointed out that the site would be in the only commercial centre in West Bay and that once a person had paid for their drinks in the liquor store they would have to leave the premises.
It was pointed out that the entrance to the store would be at the rear of the building and this had been done to mitigate the objectors.
Mr. Jackson said West Bay was seriously underserviced in terms of a package licence and that the applicant, as a shrewd businessman, would not embark on this project if he didn’t think he’d be serving the public.
Mr. Burke, in his application, had requested a licence until 10pm as, he said, that is where the market is; most businesses in the development open late. However, he said he would accept whatever hours the board saw fit to grant.