Nightclubs, bars under scrutiny

A recent spate of violence at Grand Cayman bars and clubs has caused the Liquor Licensing Board to put one of the nightclubs on probation and continue probation on another.

Mr. Welds

Mr. Welds

At Thursday’s meeting at Custom’s Headquarters Chairman Mitchell Welds voiced the board’s concern regarding incidents outside three Grand Cayman drinking establishments.

‘The board is having meetings with the RCIPS and other players to see if we can bring these situations under control,’ he said.

The incidents, which occurred 23 February, included a shooting outside Pepper’s Lounge on West Bay Road and two stabbings; at The Pit Stop bar in Bodden Town and ShirReynolds in George Town. All took place between midnight and 3am.

Pepper’s Lounge and The Next Level nightclub are on probation.

Licensed premises that continue their probation from December are ShirReynold’s, District 6 Nightclub and Rainbow Bar.

The probation periods for the five bars/clubs are to be reviewed at the next session in June.

At the meeting Mrs. Effie Mitchell-Johonson, representing Casa Caribe Condominiums voiced her objection against the Retail Liquor Licence and Music and Dancing Licence for Peppers Lounge.

Licensee Lloyd Samson was not present so the matter was dealt with later in the day.

Speaking afterwards on the phone with the Caymanian Compass Mrs. Mitchell-Johonson said Casa Caribe had objected on the grounds of noise and violence taking place at the Pepper’s Lounge property.

‘We basically objected to noise, people parking in our parking lot and the violence taking place over there. It’s getting worse and worse,’ she said, noting that there have been gatherings of people in the parking lot at 2.30am with cars screeching, horns tooting and people cursing.

Mr. Samson said he would be willing to address the issue of loitering and people posing a disturbance, but he said it would also help if Casa Caribe had its own security. ‘But we’ll do everything in our power to prevent this sort of thing happening in the future,’ he said.

He said the Peppers Lounge security force is about twice as large as what would be legally required for the square footage of the premises.

The club has also asked that police assist with loitering as there is little more a security guard can do than ask intoxicated people to leave. A police presence at hot spots during the hours of 2.30 and 2.45am could help to alleviate the problem, he said. ‘We felt it unfair that the onus was put purely on us,’ he said.

Secretary of the Board Ms Marva Scott said the decision to put The Next Level on probation was based on reports submitted by the police regarding incidents there.

Chief Inspector George Watson had submitted a report to the Liquor Board regarding the premises on probation since last December’s meeting.

Representatives from all three establishments were asked how their businesses were faring since being placed on probation.

Mr. Stephen Wright, owner and licensee of ShirReynolds, said things have been pretty quiet at the premises except for a fight by the public road a couple of weeks ago.

Mr. Welds said the police report contained four assaults, three disturbances and one damage to property, with weapons used in some instances at the property.

When asked if he could relate what happened in those instances, Mr. Wright said he could not. He knew there had been a raid by police recently but he had not heard the outcome.

When questioned on the stabbing that occurred on 23 February, Mr. Wright said it happened in the parking lot after closing time.

Inspector George Watson said it had happened at 1.04am.

Mr. Welds said the club would have been open then.

‘The people that operate the club didn’t know anything about it until the next morning because it was outside by the road,’ said Mr. Wright.

‘But it was inside your parking lot,’ said Mr. Welds.

‘Supposedly,’ Mr. Wright answered.

When asked if they had any metal detectors, Mr. Wright said no, but that he was going to insist on the installation of them, along with cameras and more lighting in the parking lot.

Mr. Berkley Kelly and his son Mr. Donverd Kelly of Rainbow Bar said they have developed a good relationship with the police, which seemed to be doing a good job to keep youngsters from hanging around outside the bar.

Although the bar does not have metal detectors, the security guards have them, Mr. Berkley Kelly said.

Manager of District 6 Fritz McPherson said things have been going well at the club since December and they have a very good working relationship with the RCIPS whereby they come by at the end and make sure people are cleared out of the premises.

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