Lack of newspaper ads forces special liquor board meeting

An extraordinary meeting of the Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman will be held next Tuesday to settle several matters that involve relocation of liquor licensed premises that were postponed in September.  

“Any member of the public who wishes to object to the matters on the agenda must do so in writing to the board chairman at least seven days prior to the date of the meeting,” according to a notice from the government Department of Commerce and Investment, released Monday – eight days before the meeting. “Anyone who has given to the chairman seven days notice of objection may also appear and ask for the revocation or discontinuance of any existing licence.” 

The meeting notice was published in a local newspaper on Oct. 10, prior to the notice from the department on Monday. There are six change of license location applications held over from September’s meeting and a seventh added for the special meeting.  

According to Liquor Licensing Board chairman Mitchell Welds, the lack of advertisement in a local newspaper was what held up the board’s decision on the change in location applications the last time.  

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.” 

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. Mr. Rajkumarsingh did not respond to Compass calls and emails seeking comment. 

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

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