Updated 5pm Friday: The Liquor Licensing Board granted Jacques Scott’s request to extend operating hours of its Savannah package store from 7pm to 10pm.
More than five years after a bitter battle over the opening of a liquor store in Savannah, the Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman has found itself embroiled in another controversy from the once “dry” section of Bodden Town district.
This time, the dispute is not over whether a liquor store should be allowed to open in Savannah, but rather how late two stores there should remain open.
During the June meeting of the Liquor Licensing Board, Reflections Liquor-4-Less was granted a licence to sell alcohol at a location across the street from the Countryside Shopping Centre. The licence that was granted allows the store to remain open until 10pm.
The Jacques Scott liquor store in Countryside, which opened in 2007, is only allowed to stay open until 7pm, according to the current terms of its licence.
An attorney for the liquor retailer-distributor applied to extend the Savannah store’s hours until 10pm to match Reflections.
“Jacques Scott has an unimpeachable record and there have been no concerns at the Savannah store,” said William Peake of the Maples law firm. “Jacques Scott merely seeks equal treatment under the law.”
However, Bodden Town Church of God deacon Tommy Bodden objected to the liquor store having its hours extended and asked the Liquor Licensing Board members to rescind the Reflections opening hours.
Mr. Bodden said community members were simply not aware of the application made by Reflections owner Prentice Panton before it was heard by the board, or they would have objected to that business as well.
“We are still against [liquor stores] presence in the community and more so now,” Mr. Bodden said. “I think illegal drugs is a small issue compared to licensed alcoholic beverages.”
Liquor board chairman Mitchell Welds asked Mr. Bodden if he was aware of any criminal incidents or even people hanging around drinking outside the Jacques Scott store since it opened five years ago.
“Have you observed any such incidents at the Jacques Scott store?” Mr. Welds asked.
“I can’t say that I did, sir,” Mr. Bodden replied.
Mr. Panton noted that his store’s application complied with all planning and building requirements. He said the store could increase its business 25 to 30 per cent simply by staying open later at night.
He also noted that he had no objections to Jacques Scott staying open later at the Savannah location.
“I welcome the competition,” he said. “Things are going to get interesting.”
The board’s decision on the extension of hours application for Jacques Scott was expected sometime on Friday.