Expanded hours for liquor sales debated

Nightclubs push to sell to 3am

The
Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman last Thursday heard petitions to allow
two nightclubs to continue selling liquor until 3am.

Representatives
of Cayman nightclubs sparked off an in-depth discussion over opening hours at
Thursday’s meeting of the Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman.

Don
Seymour of O Bar and Christian Sorensen of Jet Nightclub had requested
permission to sell liquor on Monday to Friday until 3am and to play music until
3.30am. This was subsequently amended to Friday nights alone, as the applicants
said they wished to see how that night turned out initially.

Speaking
on behalf of her clients, attorney Lynn Bodden noted that recent upturns in
tourism arrivals had brought an increased demographic of 18 to 25 years old,
who needed to be serviced with adequate entertainment options. They were also
used to staying out in clubs later than current hours of the clubs in question
and economically, clubs needed all the help they could get in these difficult
times, she added.

Clubs
have higher overheads than bars, she said, but bars were now operating as
nightclubs in all but name, opening until 2am and often without the need for
the same security policy. The clubs, by contrast, had a strict dress code, a
list of prohibited patrons and were active in utilising security, including dog
teams, to disperse stragglers after hours.

Chief
Inspector Richard Barrow of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said that a
major problem with clubs, which was not the fault of security, was people
gathering outside, which led to confrontations. The police and clubs’s security
could share security responsibility, he postulated, and work together. Clubs
should tailor security to the crowd they attracted, he said.

Mr.
Barrow added that a later opening could place extra demand on police resources.
In response, Mr. Seymour said that he felt that in contrast it would help the
police more adequately allocate resources as currently there is a concentration
of patrons emerging from clubs and bars at 2am. If clubs could open later, it
would help in terms of crowd dispersal at staggered times.

The
decision on the extension of opening hours was deferred until the September quarterly
board meeting.

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