Today’s Editorial for January 11: Ignorance no excuse

It seems that at least some of the bars and restaurants on Grand Cayman aren’t taking the smoking ban very seriously.

We’ve already heard a number of things out of the mouths of bar/restaurant owners and managers that indicate the law will take active enforcement if there is to be compliance.

Among the things we’ve already heard from bar/restaurant owners with regard to the smoking ban is that the new law didn’t apply to them because they had ventilation; that since they hadn’t heard anything from the Liquor Licensing Board about the smoking ban, they did not have to comply with the new law yet; that it was still all right to allow patrons to smoke inside their premises if it was confined to a smoking section; that it was all right to smoke around an indoor bar, but not in the restaurant; and finally, that the bar/restaurant planned to become a cigar bar so that the law wouldn’t apply to them.

What these responses indicate, despite what the Tobacco Law says, is that proprietors and managers of some bars and restaurants have decided to play dumb and just continue on in contravention of the law.

It is true that the Cayman Islands did not undertake a public advertising campaign educating people about the various nuances of the Tobacco Law, but owners and people in management of bars and restaurants have a duty to know. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

It’s not as if the Tobacco Law was sprung on the people out of the blue. It’s been talked about for years and passed into law in 2008. The implementation of the law was delayed several times to allow businesses to prepare. Several aspects of the law are still being delayed to give businesses more time.

However, it is now illegal to smoke inside a public place in all instances, unless an establishment is already licensed as a cigar bar.

Excuses from restaurateurs at this point have to be seen as disingenuous and should to be punished to the full extent of the law.