Licensing decisions delayed over ‘ad mix-up’

Applications were delayed last week for any bar, restaurant or package store on Grand Cayman seeking to change the location of its liquor license, due to what the Liquor Licensing Board chairman said was an advertising mix-up.

The licensing matters may not be resolved until the next liquor board meeting in December.

“There were several applications for change of location, but the board found itself in a position where we could not hear them at this time,” liquor board chairman Mitchell Welds said Thursday.

Change of location applications

Mr. Welds cited section 13 of Cayman’s Liquor Licensing Law, which states that any change of location applications for liquor licensed premises requires notice of the application “be made by publication in at least one newspaper circulating in the islands.” The notifications are required at least seven days prior to the application coming before the Liquor Licensing Board or its chairman for a decision.

The law requires the publication so that any resident wishing to object to the change of location may do so, thus allowing the board to consider those objections.

“Because it wasn’t in the newspaper, it wasn’t in accordance with the law,” Mr. Welds said. “The publication for those particular applications were in breach of the law. For the board to hear that, we would be in contempt.

“[The license location changes] will have to be re-advertised, those [changes of location] will have to be republished,” Mr. Welds said.

Other applications heard

All other licensing variations for change of hours, change of licensee or change in other license conditions were heard before the board Thursday. The publication requirement applies only to change of location of the liquor licensed establishment.

Mr. Welds said the director of the Department, Commerce and Investment, Ryan Rajkumarsingh, made a decision earlier this year to change the media in which the notices were advertised, placing the ads in the Cayman Islands government gazette, rather than in the Cayman Compass as has been the board’s long-standing practice.

However, the government gazette is not considered a newspaper for the purposes of the Liquor Licensing Law, Mr. Welds said,

“They put something in the newspaper about the meeting, but it did not specifically state the [agenda] items about the location changes,” Mr. Welds said.

Mr. Rajkumarsingh did not return emails seeking to clarify the issue Friday. Mr. Welds said new advertisements would have to be placed in the Compass and a meeting of the board held to consider the license changes. He said it was possible to hold a special meeting of the board to hear the proposed changes prior to the regularly scheduled meeting in December.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now