Editorial for 13 July: Liquor ban will apply to all

Those coming to our welcoming shores next Wednesday and
expecting to do all things touristy may be in for a surprise.

Visitors wishing to sip on a Cayman Lemonade, Yellow Bird or
indulge in a chocolatey Kahlua-laced mudslide will be out of luck, at least
until 7pm.

Election laws in the Cayman Islands ban the sale of liquor
by those holding liquor licences from 7am after the polls open until 7pm when
they close.

Some visitors might think the ban applies only to bottle
shops, but that’s not so. Restaurants and bars will also be banned from serving
up cocktails, wine or beer during the day.

Even those who think they can dodge the law by taking a boat
on a water tour will be surprised. Commercial boating operators are also banned
from selling or serving alcohol during election and referendum days.

While some may call the law draconian and asinine, it is the
law and until enough people speak long and loud enough in the ears of our
lawmakers, it will remain the law, which must be respected.

Certainly, though, lawmakers must realise that the law is
hurting revenues that go directly into the country’s coffers.

As of November 2011, Grand Cayman had 361 active or
provisional liquor licences and 203 music and dancing licences. That included
209 retailers, 75 package stores, 37 restaurants, 17 hotels, 15 distributors
and five for beer and wine.

That’s a lot of establishments that won’t be making liquor
sales on referendum day.

The law also applies to duty-free shops – bottle stores
where locals cannot buy spirits.

That means that visitors leaving our Island by sea or air
can’t buy Cayman brands of beer and alcohol to take with them when they leave.

Duty free spirits cannot be consumed in the Cayman Islands.

This has been an issue on election day only every four years
in the past, but now that we have a constitutional right to call for
referendums, the ban on liquor sales during those times could become truly
harmful to those doing business in the Cayman Islands.