Nectar nightclub in Seven Mile Shops on West Bay Road closed its doors Tuesday following demands from mall owners that the club shut down.
“I’m a family man and the last thing I want to see is this island going bad,”
The call came following the Oct. 1 fatal shooting of Justin Manderson on the mall property.
On Sept. 17, shots were fired on the same property in another early morning incident. No one was injured in the earlier shooting, but the two incidents were “too much” for the landlords, according to Nectar club operator Luis Lopez.
Police arrested the same person in connection with both shootings.
“We closed down because the owners of the place don’t want the club here anymore,” Mr. Lopez said during an interview Thursday, as he and some employees were cleaning out the club. “I hope after I close … there will be no more crime, no more blood, no more fighting.”
Mr. Lopez said he was at Nectar the night Manderson was shot and does not remember seeing him there that evening. Nonetheless, he did not deny that the nightclub has long experienced troubles with violent incidents. He had gone before the Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman a number of times since taking over the business about five years ago to explain what had occurred, and to detail efforts the club was making to add security and clean up its act.
The efforts never worked.
In December 2015, police were investigating a shooting outside Nectar in the Seven Mile Shops where an 18-year-old man was hospitalized.
Earlier that same month, police responded to a report of “multiple fights” in the parking lot outside Nectar during which an 18-year-old woman was stabbed. Both the December 2015 incidents occurred around 3 a.m.
Those incidents were nothing new to the liquor board either, as it had been warned in December 2013 by then-Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Chief Inspector Angelique Howell about continuous reports of crime outside the nightclub.
During the public meeting, it was revealed that the shopping mall property – which is in the center of Cayman’s high-traffic tourism area – had 11 criminal incidents over a six-month period. These included a stabbing, several assaults, a theft and serving liquor after hours, as well as a number of “nuisance”-type public order offenses, such as loud music and public urination.
The club was placed on probation in 2013 by the Liquor Licensing Board and was left on probation status. Board representatives warned that the club could lose its license if it did not clean up its act, but that never happened.
“Eleven reports … is too much; your establishment is a problem,” Ms. Howell told Mr. Lopez during the liquor board meeting.
Mr. Lopez told board members at the time that he was aware of some incidents, but noted that a number of incidents reported had occurred outside the club, where groups of drunk and obnoxious individuals gathered after hours.
“I know these things happen, but what can I do?” Mr. Lopez said. “If anybody fights, the only thing I can do is call the police.”
On Thursday, Mr. Lopez said he plans to open a different restaurant/bar in George Town in the coming months, but he said he is done with the nightclub business and that Nectar would never open again.
“I’m a family man and the last thing I want to see is this island going bad,” he said. “Nectar is dead.”