Fight brewing over clubs, bars

    Top Lead
    Cayman’s law enforcement community and local bar and club owners look to be heading in opposite directions on proposed operating hours for those establishments, according to recent suggestions published in a government crime reduction strategy.  

    Two suggestions in particular made in the National Crime Reduction Strategy appear to be at odds with what local club and bar owners have advocated and changes some businesses have attempted to make in applications before the Liquor Licensing Board 
of Grand Cayman.  

    Proposals in the crime strategy sought to restrict club and bar opening hours to 1am on all nights and to explore the possibility of raising the legal drinking age in Cayman to 21. Right now, the legal age is 18. Proposals from several local nightclubs to extend drinking and operating hours on Friday nights into Saturday mornings were delayed for a second time before the Liquor Licensing Board during a June meeting.  

    According to a list of board decisions, Jet Nightclub, O Bar, the L.I. Lounge, and the recently shuttered Club Allure asked to extend drinking hours until 3am Saturdays and extend music and dancing hours until 3.30am. Elements nightclub asked to extend music and dancing hours until 4am in addition to requesting its drinking hours be extended until 3am.  

    Currently, the operating hours of those businesses on Saturday mornings extend until 2am for alcohol sales and 3am for music and dancing.  

    Nightclub owners have repeatedly asked for an extension on their hours since local bars are allowed to serve alcohol as late as 2am, which the nightclubs say cuts into their business.  

    Meanwhile, some bar owners have advocated that licensing officials allow establishments to close at the discretion of the management on any given night.  

    Such a move, according to Horace DuQuesnay who owns the Corner Pocket bar and Temptations club in George Town, would help offset operating costs forced upon local bars and clubs by the government within the past two years.  

    Mr. DuQuesnay said increases in work permit costs and electric bills have become unsustainable for many local licensed establishments.  

    “My light bill increased by $280 in one month,” he said. “If I have a girl go behind the bar and open a beer [for a customer] I have to pay for a bartender’s work permit for her. That cannot work.”  

    Mr. DuQuesnay also said that he doubted much crime actually occurs at the hands of suspects who get drunk first, and then go out and rob businesses or individuals.  

    “These people don’t go out drinking and then commit a crime,” he said. “I don’t see where liquor sales of the opening hours of a bar have anything to do with crime.”  

    Board chairman Mitchell Welds said recently that he expected the issue regarding the nightclub hours extension applications to be resolved by the next Liquor Licensing Board meeting, tentatively scheduled for mid-September.  

    Mr. Welds indicated that he was concerned about recent reports he received about licensed establishments allowing underage patrons onto their premises and allowing them to drink alcohol. 

    “They need to show the board they are taking proper precautions to prevent [underage patronage],” he said.  

    The National Crime Reduction Strategy recommended licensing beverage servers as a way to head off the potential they might serve alcohol to 
underage patrons. 

    O Bar

    O Bar is among four nightclubs asking for a variation by the Liquor Licensing Board that would allow them to serve alcohol until 3am Saturdays. – Photo: Stephen Clarke

    1 COMMENT

    1. I don’t think crime is goign to be reduced if bars/clubs stay open longer, what kind of theory is that? You’ll just get people who have nothing to do after 1am lingering about and causing trouble.

      As far as letting under age people into establishments, they should make it a rule to ID everyone. Whether you’re 18 or 50 years old, you shouldn’t be allowed in unless you provide identification.

    2. I agree that the chances of a drunk person been able to go rob somewhere are not that great. But the chances of fights and people doing stupid things (like drunk driving) do increase. Mostly is do to the kind of characters that visit these places. Some violent people ready to look and cause trouble to those who just seek to have a good time with friends and socializing. Having these characters stopped at the door by means of ID’s is a great idea. With regards to minors been served, ID’s will also help. But the truth is that drinking is a sad but popular pass time here and many adults realize children should not drink however they don’t set a good example either People drink a lot here and drinking is addictive for many (and many of them don’t believe they have a drinking problem) and since it is legal it is a pretty good business hence, why we are discussing it. It is not about hours, it is about education and setting an example of how to enjoy a drink responsibly. The violent just frequent the night clubs and bar to prove themselves how bad they are. We should make those go away. They are bad news to our society.

    3. Shut all bars and suchlike at midnight. Have Police on hand to assess all persons leaving who have cars or motorbikes. Arrest all who cannot pass a drink test or apear under the influence of drugs. Deport all who have no right of residence and are convicted of any such offence. Make it difficult for employers of work permit personnel thus deported to import any more expatriates.
      And so on.
      I cannot imagine anyone from abroad who reads the Compass regularly – and it is available online – in their right mind thinking of a vacation in Cayman. Even Jamaica or Haiti, perhaps, as an alternative. Or if you take a cruise, don’t come ashore (isn’t that what these cruises are increasingly offering – every comfort and facility on board, why bother to struggle ashore?).

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