The licensing hours now in place
are harming the product, according to The Cayman Islands Tourism Association.
Currently, all establishments are
banned under the Liquor Licensing Law from serving alcohol after midnight on a
Saturday; an anachronistic situation that the Cayman Islands Tourism Association
would like to see looked at again, said Harry Lalli, association president.
“It should be brought to the table,
but politicians have to have the will. For 17 years now we’ve been sitting here
watching this law and hoping that somebody will change it so far as yet no-one
has had the courage.”
“At the end of the day, from a
tourism standpoint, this is one of the little things that we can change. These
are things that have to be addressed if we are going after the South American
market and to a lesser extent the European market,” he said.
Mr. Lalli said that it doesn’t make
sense to close at midnight on a Saturday night when hotels, restaurants and
some vessels can start serving alcohol again at 11am on Sunday, and all license
holders can begin serving at 1pm.
“Does that affect our tourism? Yes,
I think it affects it quite a bit.
“I’ve always been of the viewpoint
that you can’t force people to go to church just by closing a bar on a Saturday
night. [Many people] go out on a Saturday night, then go to parties and still
make it to church as they want to go, [and others] never go out on a Saturday
night and don’t go to church or never will.
“Just because we throw you out at
midnight on a Saturday night doesn’t mean you are going to go to church in the
morning. I believe it’s the wrong reason,” said Lalli.
The Music and Dancing Control Law, which
is required by businesses that want to have music on licensed premises, also
has significant economic repercussions for one of Cayman’s more reliable tourism
sectors, according to Mr. Lalli.
“One of the bigger things that law
prohibits which needs to really be addressed is weddings on a Sunday. If you
get married on a Sunday you cannot hire a band or a DJ and dance because music
and dancing are prohibited.
“Just being able to get people
married on a Sunday would be enough of a reason to get that law looked at. This
is 2010 now; we’ve evolved and the world has changed. Cayman has to always
catch up and keep up,” he said.
Mitchell Welds, chairman of the
liquor licensing board, said that any alteration to licensing hours is a
“Our decisions are regulated by two
different laws — the sale of alcoholic beverages by the liquor licensing law
and for the playing of music and permission to dance we apply the Music and
Dancing Control Law.
“It would have to be changed by legislators;
the board has no discretion to extend hours into Sunday. Any amendments to the
laws have to go through the legislative assembly.”
The Music and Dancing Control Law
states that permitted hours for music and dancing are Mondays to Fridays from 9am
to 1am and Saturdays from 9am to midnight. The document states expressly that
music and dancing are not permitted in licensed premises on Sunday, Good Friday
and Christmas Day.