A proposed change to Cayman’s Music and Dancing (Control) Law would allow the Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman to allow music and dancing in local establishments outside normal hours on any given day.
The current local law does not allow music and dancing on Sundays between midnight Sunday and Monday. The issue has caused concern among Grand Cayman bar and nightclub owners who would have to essentially close down just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, which falls on a Saturday this year.
The amendment to the Music and Dancing (Control) Law lets the board “grant permission for dancing and the playing of music, on or in [liquor] licensed premises outside of permitted hours on any given day”.
The approval is subject to the condition that the music will not be heard beyond the boundaries of the property on which it is being played.
The change requires approval of the full Legislative Assembly and the signature of Cayman Islands Governor Duncan Taylor before being passed into law. Legislators are expected to take the matter up this week.
North Side MLA Ezzard Miller, during a news briefing held Tuesday, said he would not support the proposal as presented.
The issue, Mr. Miller said, is that the timing of the bill’s introduction does not meet the 21-day waiting period set forth in Cayman’s Constitution.
Mr. Miller said that means the bill should have been presented 21 days before the Legislative Assembly meeting that began on 1 December.
“It’s hard for me to believe the government did not know that New Year’s Eve would happen on the 31st of December,” he said.
“If the government wants to permit music and dancing on Good Friday and Sundays, they should specify that.”
Mr. Miller said he would consider supporting a bill that specifically states which days bars, restaurants or clubs would be able to stay open later.
“My personal opinion is there should be no such restrictions on business,” he said.
“I don’t think these kind of government regulations prevent anyone from consuming liquor or playing music or dancing.
“If restaurants want to be open 24/7, that’s their business.”
The issue has come up once before, about five years ago when New Year’s Eve fell on a Sunday.
At that time, the Cayman Islands government decided not allow music and dancing – until 12.01am – when Sunday, 31 December, 2006 ended and Monday, 1 January, 2007 began.
Cabinet members at the time announced their decision in October stating members decided on what they believed was a sensible approach, honouring religious and cultural norms while balancing the importance of New Year’s Eve activities for those residents and visitors who wish to celebrate at licensed establishments.
The Music and Dancing (Control) Law forbids the playing of music on Sundays in establishments licensed to serve alcohol except for pre-recorded music of a soft, background nature in restaurants and hotels.
Nightclubs are not allowed to play music at all on Sundays.
Alcohol can be sold in licensed establishments on Sundays, however, those establishments must usually close at midnight.