Police probe underage drinking

Photographs that depicted several teenage girls and young women drinking at a local night club are being reviewed by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

At least one of the girls shown in the photos, which were displayed on a Cayman Islands website, is believed to be younger than the legal drinking age of 18.

A police spokesperson said the RCIPS became aware of the incident on 22 May when individuals from a local charity foundation forwarded the pictures to the police Family Services Unit and Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis.

RCIPS Public Relations Officer Deborah Denis said officers were in the process of speaking to four individuals shown in the photographs. Ms Denis said the police were trying to determine where the photos were taken and whether the conditions of the establishment’s liquor licence required that no one under age 18 be admitted there.

The Cayman Islands Liquor Law provides punishments for businesses that knowingly allow underage drinking and also makes it illegal for those who are older than the drinking age to buy alcoholic beverages for those who are younger that the legal age.

The issue was discussed behind closed doors during last week’s meeting of the Liquor Licensing Board. Members of the Cayman Islands National Drug Council confirmed they talked with board Chairman Mitchell Welds about the matter.

NDC Executive Director Joan West-Dacres said liquor licensing officials had asked them not to name the club involved.

Ms West-Dacres said the council was not necessarily interested in punitive measures being taken in response to this incident. Rather, she said the NDC wanted to work with liquor licensing officials to strengthen the Liquor Law.

‘We were more interested in ‘how would a person be able to access that establishment?” she said. ‘It was evident there was alcohol at the premises.’

The NDC has proposed that bartenders of licensed establishments be trained, certified and registered by the council. The programme, called TIPS, seeks to establish acceptable standards for serving and selling alcoholic beverages in the Cayman Islands.

At least one night club along West Bay Road has agreed to participate in this training, Ms West-Dacres said.

The Liquor Licensing Board agreed to encourage other establishments to receive the training, but it was unclear whether the TIPS programme would be made mandatory under the Liquor Law.

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