Visitors to Boatswain’s Beach/Cayman Turtle Farm can enjoy a beer and listen to live music while at the tourist site following the granting of a temporary Liquor Licence and a Music and Dancing Licence.
The licences were granted following an extraordinary meeting of the Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman, which took place on Thursday, 3 August at Custom’s Headquarters on Owen Roberts’ Drive.
Presiding at the meeting was Chairman of the Board Mitchell Welds, Deputy Chairperson Lynn Bodden-Smatt, board members Bernice Richards, Ruth Williams and Craig Nixon, Secretary Marva Scott-Dunbar and Chief Inspector George Watson.
Mr. Welds explained that the extraordinary meeting was made possible as a result of the lifting of the moratorium on the granting of new licences, which came into effect on 18 July, 2006. He said that the law provided only for a temporary licence to be sought at an extraordinary meeting. If successful in attaining the licence, the temporary licence would expire in September and Mr. Hydes would then return to the quarterly meeting for a full licence.
The hours granted, following closed deliberations by the board, are from 9am to 1am Monday to Friday, 9am to midnight on Saturdays and 11am to midnight on Sundays.
An area had been also sought for inclusion, across the road by the sea.
But the licences granted only covers the landside of the road. Mr. Kenneth Hydes, who applied on behalf of Boatswain’s Beach, said the area on the sea-side was an area for potential expansion.
Mr. Nixon pointed out that this area was directly on the road and was not screened in.
Mr. Hydes told the board that by the time Boatswain’s Beach is completed there will be three food and beverages outlets at the park: The Turtle Crawl Deli, Schooners Grill and a fine dining restaurant, to come online in 2007.
They intended to serve alcohol at all three restaurants.
The facility has been popular with locals and for hosting special events, said Mr. Hydes.
The application had been for a licence from 7.30am in the mornings. When questioned by Mr. Welds if this was to facilitate cruise ship passengers, Mr. Hydes answered that it was. He said they occasionally have guests as early as 7am.
The deli opens at this time and the other facilities open a little later, he said.
Mr. Welds asked if he anticipated a need to serve alcohol at 7.30am.
Mr. Hydes said he personally couldn’t see why someone would want it then, but he wanted to make it known the hours they were seeking. ‘If the board is desirous of putting in another time frame that is OK,’ he said.
Board Member Ruth Williams asked if the seeking of a licence from 7.30am would mean that residents in West Bay could go in there at 7.30am and avail of the bar.
Mr. Hydes answered that the facility is not restricted to just cruise tourists.
When asked if a fee is required to enter, Mr. Hydes answered that it is.
He agreed that Ms Williams had brought up an interesting point and that it would not be just a public problem but a problem for the facility’s operations if people were simply going there early in the morning to avail of alcohol.
Mr. Nixon asked if there will be set areas in which alcohol must be consumed or if patrons are free to roam the park with it.
Mr. Hydes said they would hope for free roaming to be permitted within the park’s perimeters.
Ms Williams asked if ample security is on the premises.
‘Absolutely,’ said Mr. Hydes. ‘We have both our own internal security and local security companies on site,’ he said.
Ms Richards suggested that it might be in the park’s interest to post up signs stating the laws to tourists; that they must not take alcohol off the premises.
Mr. Hydes said he would give the board that undertaking.
Ms Bodden-Smatt asked if armbands were given out on entry to signify children, as nowadays, she said, children can often look older than their age.
Mr. Hydes said that for ticketing, an adult is considered to be 12 years of age and upwards. They would implement a similar procedure of age checks as the local establishments, he said. But he would look into tapping into a system where cruise ship passengers give out specific arm bands to children.
Chief Inspector Watson warned about the idea of people walking freely around the park with liquor. This way, children could possibly get their hands on it, he said.
He advised that they have three designated areas in which to buy and consume it. This way the staff would be better able to control the situation.
Mr. Hydes said that during normal day-to-day operations he could see the designated areas working, but more flexibility would be needed when it came to private functions.
Answering a question from the Chief Inspector, Mr. Hydes said all liquor will be sold in plastic cups.