Two nightclubs have had their probation lifted but four other licensed premises remain on probation following a meeting of the Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman.
The Next Level Nightclub and District 6 Nightclub had its probation lifted while Peppers Lounge, Shi-Reynolds Nightclub, Everglo Bar and Restaurant and Rainbow Bar and Restaurant remain on probation following the meeting, which took place at Customs Headquarters Thursday. The Everglo Bar’s Music and Dance Licence also remains suspended.
Probation means that board members must review the licence at its next quarterly meeting. The bars/clubs had all been placed on probation stemming from disturbances at their premises.
Manager of Pepper’s Nightclub Anthony Nicholas told board members it has installed security lights at the premises, is in the process of installing CCTV cameras and has hired extra security.
Board Chairman Mitchell Welds asked about loud music, which Mrs. Effie Mitchell-Johonson, representing Casa Caribe Condominiums from across the road, said she has had problems with under a previous objection to the club’s licences.
Mr. Nicholas denied that the music is loud.
But Mrs. Mitchell-Johonson told board members noise outside the club is still a problem and there is a constant thumping of loud music coming from inside the nightclub. Noise keeps her awake from 1am to 4am, she said.
Mr. Nicholas said that on Mondays they are open to 3am but most other nights they are not, so he didn’t see how she would be awake until 4am those nights. ‘We don’t feel the music is that loud,’ he said, and suggested that the board check into it.
Mr. Welds noted a police report for the second quarter of the year of three assaults and five disturbances and that a knife and bottle had been used, resulting in injuries.
Chief Insp George Watson also pointed out that there had been a stabbing there since the last meeting.
Mr. Nicholas said an increased police presence outside the club is working and getting people off the premises.
They have more than double the security required by law, he said, with up to nine security guards working on weekends, with security checks using scanners conducted on everyone on the way in.
Mr. Stephen Wright, licensee of Shi-Reynold’s Nightclub, said he had marked exit and entrance points since the last meeting. Board members suggested he get cameras for outside the club.
Referring to a recent machete attack at the premises, Deputy Chair Lynn Bodden-Smatt asked him how someone would get a machete into the club and he said he did not know but that people are scanned for weapons on the way in.
When he stated that he is often not there, Ms Bodden Smatt noted that as licensee he has a liability to be there.
Chief Insp Watson suggested that on a weekly basis the tenant of the premises update Mr. Wright on any incidents that have taken place there.
Under a separate application for a variation, Mr. Wright requested a change in operating hours for Shi-Reynolds. Instead of operating until 3am as had been the case, he requested to open Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays until 1am, which board members granted. He also requested to remain operating Tuesdays to 3am, which board members denied, permitting it to open to 1am instead.
In making his case, Mr. Wright noted that it is in the small hours of the morning that the trouble seems to happen.
Everglo Bar & Restaurant
Representing the licensee of Everglo Bar and Restaurant, attorney James Kennedy said that his client, Mr. Marc Wood, was having difficulty with his tenant and was concerned with the continuation of the licence, because liquor licences are so difficult to get.
Following advice from the Board, Mr. Kennedy said steps would then have to be taken privately to remove the tenant.
Mr. Welds noted four assaults and nine disturbances, with knives and wood resulting in injuries at Rainbow Bar and Restaurant since the previous meeting. The licensee’s daughter, Ms Ellen Kelly Vernon said she was not aware of incidents happening in the bar, but there had been a few outside.
They have up to four security guards depending on the night.
In answer to a question about knives being inside the club, she said security generally does manual body searches rather than use metal detectors. If knives are found they are confiscated and the person refused entry, she said.
Chief Insp Watson advised that the police are called anytime a weapon is found on someone.
Mr. Welds said the police report noted that the bar management’s relationship with the police has improved.
Mr. Welds noted that there had been only one disturbance at District 6 since the last meeting, according to the police report.
Licensee James Laurenson confirmed to the chairman that drinks are not allowed on the patio.
Manager Fritz McPherson said that only valid passports and drivers licences are taken as ID.
The Next Level
Attorney Clyde Allen, acting on behalf of the Next Level, said that there are up to eight security guards at the premises and nine security cameras.
There have been no incidents involving knives, stabbings or guns, said Mr. Allen, only some minor incidents and complaints are recorded by management.
Mr. Welds noted that on the police reports there were four assaults, two disturbances, with a knife and fist fighting resulting in injuries.
Mr. Allen and licensee Mr. Christian Sorensen said they believe some of the complaints being made to the police about the club are false.
Mr. Welds asked the pair to stay back after the meeting to discuss an issue in private with him.
When asked if there had been any incidents of underage patrons at the club Mr. Welds was told there were not, as far as they were aware.