A Beer and Wine Liquor Licence and a Music and Dancing Licence have been issued to an Italian style restaurant in West Bay, despite an objection from a nearby church.
At Thursday’s quarterly Liquor Licensing Board meeting Chesley Parsons stated his case on why he had applied for the licences for his restaurant Alfresco on Town Hall Road, West Bay.
Since taking over the restaurant, Mr. Parsons said he had changed the food from local style to Italian and partial fine dining.
Residents and tourists that frequent the restaurant would like to see beer and wine available with their food, he said. ‘It would be very beneficial to my business.’
Mr. Parsons said he had done a lot of research on the subject and the type of food served goes very well with beer and wine.
Cooking of the food is also done with wine and Mr. Parsons said he has to purchase it at retail rather than wholesale price without a liquor licence.
Mr. Parsons added that if there were any rules or regulations the Board felt it needed to attach to the licence he’d stand by those as best he could.
Objecting to the application was Minister Garrett Haylock of the Church of God, West Bay.
He said, having listened to what Mr. Parsons had said, had the restaurant been a little further away from the church, he might have gone along with the application, but he really felt it was too close to the Church to be selling liquor. He described it as not even 50 yards from the church.
Mr. Haylock said a former owner of the property ran a business there and raised a family of seven children and raised them well without a liquor licence.
‘I still believe if you give the devil an inch he’ll take a yard,’ said Mr. Haylock.
‘I will not back off of my complaining petition because this wouldn’t be the first time people went out to have a meal and came home so drunk they killed somebody.’
Mr. Haylock continued, ‘Alcohol is a killer and I’d object to it on any level.’
Mr. Parsons noted to the Board that Mr. Haylock and the church had been given permission by the courts to be at the church’s current location only temporarily.
Mr. Parsons said the past owner may have done well there without a liquor licence, but he didn’t have to pay rent on the property.
His application was to only sell wine and beer and he couldn’t sell any other types of alcohol anyway because it was stipulated in his lease, he told the Board.
When asked by Deputy Chairperson Lynn Bodden-Smatt if someone could purchase a drink there if not eating food, Mr. Parsons said that a drink could only be enjoyed with a meal.
Asked by Board member Bernice Richards if he could not foresee any time that his restaurant might add to the litter problem around the church yard, Mr. Parsons said the area is a beach and litter there is brought in from all over.
‘I clean up that area because it reflects on my establishment, but that’s something I’d have to stay on top of to maintain my licence.’
He continued, ‘I realise we’re near a church, but there are several churches in Cayman even closer to bars and nightclubs than I am.’
Board Chairman Mitchell Welds agreed that there are, stating that Margaritaville is quite close to Elmslie Memorial Church in George Town and the Liquor Board had granted that establishment a licence.
Referring to Mr. Parson’s remarks about the church being there temporarily, Mr. Haylock said that is a fact, but he believed that would amount to another two years.
‘My conscience tells me I should object ,’ he said.