Poll: Many will stay home

New Year’s Eve plans are revealed

Cayman’s restaurants and bars will be quiet places on New Year’s Eve, if the most recent Caymanian Compass online poll is any indication.

Only eight respondents, or 2.4 per cent of the 329 people who took the poll, which asked the question, ‘What will you do on New Year’s Eve’, said they would go to a public place and then go home by midnight.

New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday night, which means premises licensed to sell alcohol must be closed and emptied before midnight. The Government decided not to institute the necessary changes to allow an exception for later hours on New Year’s Eve, citing the desire to maintain Caymanian traditions as their reason.

More than one-third of the Compass poll respondents (113 people, or 34.3 per cent) said they would just stay home on New Year’s Eve.

Another 94 respondents (28.6 per cent) said they would go off island to celebrate, while 87 respondents (26.6 per cent) said they would go to a private party.

Twenty-seven respondents (8.2 per cent) said they had other plans for New Year’s Eve.

Of the people who offered comments in the poll, many were critical of the Government’s decision.

‘It is completely ridiculous that the local businesses are unable to make a profit from the annual event,’ said one respondent.

‘This is ridiculous,’ echoed another respondent. ‘It is harming tourism and this country.’

Others applauded the Government’s decision.

‘Well done PPM, we are proud of your decision,’ said one person.

Some thought the Government’s decision would have repercussions.

‘Being a young Caymanian, I truly believe this time restriction on New Year’s Eve will greatly affect the islands, no matter if it’s profits, tourism, or lack of celebration,’ said one of the respondents.

Other respondents voiced concern for the tourists on the island.

‘What will the tourists here do?’ asked one respondent.

‘I am just sorry for the many tourists coming to spend New Year’s here,’ said another. ‘They will be in for a rude awakening being forced to bed by midnight.’

One person staying home said there was no point in going out if there was no place open after midnight. Another said there were too many drunken drivers on the road anyway.

Some thought the early New Year’s Eve closing will make the drunken driving problem worse because of all the private parties, while others thought it will help alleviate the problem.

‘House parties are a better choice on a night like New Year’s Eve because if a friend drinks too much, he will have a safe place to sleep it off for the night,’ said one respondent. ‘This will make it safer for other drivers on their way home from church and other functions.’

Another person thought the opposite was true: ‘Police will be needed more than ever with the amount of private parties going on throughout the island.’

One respondent said he or she would go to dinner out, and then go home for a midnight fire and drinks on the beach.

‘Champagne, the beach, the stars,’ said another respondent.

Many respondents were vocal about going off the island.

‘It makes no sense staying here if we can’t celebrate’; ‘I will not be in Cayman this year to celebrate as I would be made to go home at an early hour’; ‘Why would anyone stay’; ‘Go out with a bang off island’; and ‘I would have stayed in Cayman if the hours had been extended,’ were some of the comments.

Kole Porter, marketing manager of radio station Kiss 106.1, said there has been a huge response to the station’s advertising of a junket to Cuba for New Year’s Eve weekend.

‘It’s been wild,’ he said. ‘People are calling in wanting more information.’

One poll respondent thought residents should have a choice.

‘Those who want to keep tradition alive can by all means be in their homes by midnight,’ said one respondent.

Others were not sure of the reasoning for the Government’s decision.

‘What has happened to logic in this thinking of closing early,’ asked one person.

‘It really doesn’t matter to me what the officials want to do with regard to the Sunday liquor thing, but I have to question the hypocrisy of Christianity vs. liquor, which is the main reason behind not extending the hours from my understanding,’ said another person.

Most of those who selected ‘other’ on the poll said they would be going to church, but one person said he’d be lighting fireworks.

Guy Jackson, part owner of Mezza, said he was not surprised by the poll results.

‘To be honest, from what I’m hearing, everyone is going to or having a private party,’ he said, adding that Mezza expects an early dinner crowd, but for the restaurant to be empty by 10 pm.

Mr. Jackson said Mezza would not have its regular New Year’s Eve party event this year. He dismissed calls for licensed premises to move up the clock or celebrate New Year’s Eve the day before,

‘Why should we celebrate someone else’s New Year’s?’ he asked.

Don Seymour, owner of the O-Bar and The Attic, said both of those establishments will be closed on New Year’s Eve.

Mr. Seymour said he will probably celebrate the holiday off the island, something he believes many will do.

‘I think people that have the means will make efforts to go off island,’ he said. ‘I would rather promote the local economy, but that option was removed.’

Mr. Seymour said he was deeply disappointed by the Government’s decision.

‘Instead of constantly looking backwards, we should be looking for opportunities to move forward,’ he said.

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