Taking drink outside bars needs addressing

Liquor Inspector Donald Green told a meeting of the Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman that patrons taking liquor outside of licensed premises to consume is something the board may need to seriously address.

Mr. Green said a lot of bars on the island have this problem and it is one that is not being addressed, but that needs to be. He said this is a problem that occurs in a cross section of licensed premises.

Mr. Green was addressing proprietor of Archie’s Place, Shedden Road, George Town, Mr Charles Arch Dixon at a meeting of the Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman. Presiding over the board was Chairman Mitchell Welds with Deputy Chairperson Lynn Bodden-Smatt, board member Bernice Richards and Secretary Marva Scott-Dunbar.

Mr. Steve McField was objecting to inconvenience caused to him by Archie’s under Section 9(e) of the Liquor Licensing Law. Archie’s Place has subsequently been placed on probation until March 2006 following this meeting.

Probation means that inspectors will keep an eye on Archie’s and if the offending behaviour continues, additional action could be taken.

Mr. McField has run a clothing store in Shedden Road George Town for the past 11 years and his property is next to Archie’s. He had upgraded his property with a picket fence around it.

He said that since Hurricane Ivan a bench and seating has been placed under a tree in front of Archie’s and up to 16 men and women can been seen there drinking in public at any one time. They go into the bar, purchase liquor, bring it outside and drink it there. They park their cars in the cul-de-sac between Archie’s and his property and drink and throw their food packs and bottles on his property.

They also park on his property and abuse him when he tries to stop them. ‘They are not Caymanians,’ he said. ‘They have no respect for neighbours,’ he said, explaining that they abuse him if he asks them to stop parking on or littering his place.

At one point he called the police to get people’s cars moved from his property and the next morning he found six nails in his car tyres.

He described them as ‘very aggressive people’ and said that people are now refusing to go to his store because they see it as a dangerous neighbourhood. ‘It was a great neighbourhood – clean, safe and quiet – but it is not safe now. People smoke ganja on that premises,’ he said.

‘It’s a disgrace how people litter my yard,’ he said, saying he had to pay people to clean it up for him. Commenting on the dirt and squalor he finds there, he said, ‘It’s just not good enough for the Cayman Islands’.

Mr. McField said that while he does not object to the bar continuing to operate, he takes issue with people drinking outside and littering the area.

Mr. McField submitted a photograph of a man lying drunk on the street in front of Archie’s in the middle of the day. He had to call 911 because the people outside were doing nothing about it, he said.

He also said that these people defecate behind his shop and urinate all over the place.

Mr. Dixon said he has operated the bar since 1991. When asked if he allowed patrons to leave the premises with bottles he said although he tries to tell them not to, they do.

He also said he picks up bottles from outside his property and he collects them from Mr. McField’s property also, but he said he believes bottles come from other bars in the area.

Liquor Inspector Donald Green said since patrons are not permitted to leave a bar with liquor, and since Mr. Dixon admitted that he does not enforce this, it could not be proved that the beer bottles outside come from other bars.

Mr. Welds warned, ‘You have a problem and you need to correct it.’ He told Mr. Dixon that he has a responsibility under the law to comply with it and enforce it. ‘I ask you to make an effort to do this before the Board has to act in some way that may not be in your best interest’.

Mr. Dixon said that two thirds of the cars parked outside his bar are not belonging to customers of Archie’s Place.

He had put up notices to warn people who were not customers against parking there but people had torn them down. He also said the cars blocked the garbage bins.

When asked about the man lying on the road in front of Archie’s Place, he said that no-one would be permitted to come into or go out of his bar in that state.

He said that the man had been walking along Shedden Road and had fallen down in front of his premises. ‘I’m just up for bad luck,’ he said.

When asked if he had security he answered ‘no’.