Police target underage drinking

In a new move to stamp out underage drinking in the Cayman Islands, the RCIPS is joining forces with bar and club owners to educate young people and enforce the law.

The RCIPS has been receiving reports that underage drinking may be escalating along the West Bay Road ‘strip’, especially in the nightclubs, so the RCIPS called a meeting with leading bar and club owners to provide a pro-active response to any potential problems.

At the meeting, held 29 July the RCIPS and bar owners agreed to pull together to provide a strong stance against underage drinking. Representatives from

Peppers, Matrix, Welly’s Cool Spot, Blue Marlin, O-Bar, Next Level and Treasure Island attended the meeting.

Inspector Anthony White, who is leading the initiative, said: ‘This situation may have escalated recently due to the school holidays and the recent graduation of high school students.

‘By teaming up in this way, we hope we can have a real impact on the number of minors participating in drinking and we commend the bar and club owners for coming on board.

‘This initiative is a fine example of how the RCIPS wants to boost neighbourhood policing by taking a consultative approach between the police and the public to jointly find problem-solving policing initiatives.’

All club owners unanimously expressed a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to under age drinking on their premises and warned potential under age drinkers not to attend their premises.

Lloyd Samson of Peppers said: ‘We don’t cater to the younger end of the market. Our door policy is for 20 years and over and we hope this attitude will deter underage drinkers trying to gain entry to our premises.’

It was agreed that security personnel working at the establishments will be demanding photo identification from all young drinkers wishing to enjoy themselves. Anyone who cannot satisfy the staff that they are over 18 will not be granted admittance.

RCIPS officers will also be carrying out checks at venues, including walking through the bars and looking for people who are under the legal age.

Scott Mclean from O-bar said: ‘The police presence around the clubs has definitely increased over the last couple of months and we will certainly be stricter in future but it’s hard if people have fake identification. This is a real issue and something we really need to work on.’

Night club owners also expressed an interest in starting a network to alert each other of undesirable people who have been refused entry. It is hoped that this new tactic will send a clear message to those wanting to cause trouble that if you get removed from one club you will not be welcome at any club within the network.

Mr Mclean added: ‘The biggest deterrent for these people is to hit them where it hurts. If they cannot get entry to any of the clubs on West Bay Road, it disrupts their way of life and harms them in many ways. I’m very grateful we can work with the RCIPS on these issues.’

Licensed premises owners are being commended by senior police officials for taking this stance and working with the RCIPS to address these concerns.