For the fifth time in a row a request to the Liquor Licensing Board from package liquor store Liquor 4 Less for permission to open to 10pm has been refused.
The request from Messrs. Prentice E. Panton and L. Stanley Panton was to open the store, located on Shedden Road, George Town from 10am to 10pm Monday to Saturday.
Permitted opening hours are currently from 10am to 7pm.
Mr. Stanley Panton said customers are pulling on the door at 9am in the morning wanting to get in. In fact, he said he would like to be allowed to service customers from 9am to 10pm.
Customers question why the districts of West Bay and Bodden Town have package licenses that open to 10pm and why George Town is not permitted to do the same thing, he said.
One patron, he added, suggested that if it was alright for the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Investment and Commerce to permit gay cruisers to come here and enjoy themselves, then George Town residents should be allowed to have a package liquor store in their district from which to buy alcohol up to 10pm.
Mr. Panton said, ‘I wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t a need for this. I have a deep desire to serve the customers that serve our multiple businesses’.
Board member Lynn Bodden-Smatt asked Mr. Panton how he controls patrons from drinking outside the store.
Mr. Panton said there were a large number of people congregated outside of the premises the previous Friday. He would be willing to accept any sanctions the Board had for him.
There is full-time security inside the store from opening to close and he would be willing to hire another security guard outside the store and to stop serving cold beer in order to discourage people from drinking outside.
‘I’m willing to get security outside and to not sell cold beer, but let’s get all the retail establishments to do that also, some of which are open from 9am to 2am,’ he said, adding that he only wished to open to 10pm.
‘I’m not willing to be the only one not allowed to sell cold beer – if the Ministry or the Board want to put this in place I’ll support it,’ he said.
Chairman Mitchell Welds pointed out that the Board is a regulatory authority.
Mr. Panton said that every liquor store on Grand Cayman that he had visited on Saturday all had people drinking alcohol outside them.
Although Mr. Panton himself has not drank alcohol in 11 years, when he did he drank in and outside of every liquor store on the island, he said.
Mr. Panton said since the liquor store on Eastern Avenue closed there is a large number of very aggressive new customers visiting his store.
He said if he was permitted to open for the extra hours he could afford to hire security for outside.
In front of the Board with this request for the fifth time, Mr. Panton said maybe he was begging, but this is something he feels a need for.
He was even willing to be put on probation for five years to be granted this, he said. At the very least, he would appreciate the board granting him the hours of 9am to 8pm as a compromise.
Liquor Inspector Donald Green confirmed that he visited the premises twice in the last two weeks and on the Friday preceding the meeting there were a large number of people congregated outside the premises. ‘I told him (Mr. Panton) I’d continue to observe the problem and see the outcome of this meeting and then pick back up with him,’ said Mr. Green.
Mr. Panton said there is a sign outside the premises saying no drinking within 100 feet of the building.
He also said he is spending more on security than any other package store on the island.