Take religion out of Sunday sales

Foster’s Food Fair announced it would cease its Sunday opening practice, which began after hurricane Ivan.

Having gone to Foster’s on a Sunday myself, it was abundantly obvious that this was a much appreciated gesture by many members of our community.

I do not consider myself to be a loyal Foster’s, Hurley’s or Kirk Supermarket shopper. Like many people, I just go where I can get what I need when I need it.

If the reason to discontinue Sunday opening had been different, then maybe it would be easier to understand and accept.

Eventually Cayman’s legislators will eventually have to stop living in a sea of hypocrisy.

There is no better time than the present. How can we say that Foster’s should not be open on a Sunday for religious reasons and because it goes against traditional cultural values?

At the risk of stepping on toes, I have to say that such a statement is an incredibly blatant example of the hypocrisy that has existed in this community for far too long.

Maybe I am mistaken but I am sure that most, if not all of Cayman’s bars are open on a Sunday.

When cruise ships are in port aren’t the jewellery stores and thrift shops in George Town open?

OK, so maybe the argument is that we have to do what we can to support tourism and that is how we justify Sunday trading for cruise ships passengers.

But how do we explain the traditional practice of having bars open on a Sunday in such a religious community?

Maybe that is one of the components of the traditional values and Christian heritage we love to refer to.

Cayman has a large Seventh Day Adventist community. If we want to continue harping on the religion issue, then we could argue that opening supermarkets on a Saturday infringes on their religious values as well.

If the management and staff of Foster’s are somehow unfairly disadvantaged by working on a Sunday, then that is an entirely different matter.

If not, why should they be forced to discontinue a practice that clearly a large section of our community benefits from and supports?

As a matter of fact, I often see church members buying groceries and lunch at Foster’s on a Sunday.

No harm is being done to anyone and it is a case of personal choice whether to shop on a Sunday.

The whole issue of Cayman’s values, at a time when we have greater issues, one of which is escalating crime, needs to be honestly and completely re-examined.

Other supermarkets have chosen not to follow Foster’s example and that is entirely within their right.

But, if they were to open, their loyal patrons would be just as appreciative for the added convenience.

Somehow we have convinced ourselves or allowed others to convince us that opening a supermarket on a Sunday is against our Christian values.

A large number of people who go to church on a Sunday leave church to prepare and eat meals with their immediate and extended families.

The supermarket merely affords them the opportunity to buy things they may have needed but forgot or didn’t have time to buy. On the other hand, what can we say about bars being open?

If we are going to try to maintain this holy image we use too often for convenience, we have to be true to ourselves about the values we have and sacrifices we are willing to make.

If not, the message I am getting is that it’s not kosher for any supermarket to give me the opportunity to buy groceries on a Sunday but any bar can provide me with all the alcohol my heart desires.

Let’s not make religion the issue if there is truly another reason why there should not be Sunday trading.

Sheena Thompson

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