Morritt’s Tortuga Club and Resort in East End is a different type of business operation from Over the Edge Cafe in North Side, but they have one thing in common: They would like to have been able to sell liquor to their guests on Election Day.
They, like all licensed premises in the Cayman Islands, were forbidden to sell or give away intoxicating liquor until one hour after the polls closed – 7 p.m., or shortly thereafter if voters were still waiting inside the polling stations at 6 p.m. to cast their ballot.
Philippe Gros, who operates Over the Edge, called the liquor ban “an ancient law, something out of the past.”
He pointed out that his business is a restaurant first of all and people come there primarily to eat. Typically his customers are a mix of residents and visitors to the island, but around noon Wednesday, he said, “Look at my dining room today – all tourists,” pointing to about a dozen diners on the outside deck and another 20 inside. If any of them requested an alcoholic beverage, servers advised that no liquor is allowed on Election Day. “We explain, they shrug their shoulders and say, ‘OK, I’ll have water,’” Mr. Gros said.
Along with the loss of revenue, he pointed out that a holiday means double pay for staff.
Wanting to serve liquor on an Election Day does not mean Cayman is a nation of alcoholics, he joked; “It just means that we are now in the 21st century. That’s just my opinion as a businessman.”
Over at Morritt’s, supervisor David Coneron said the resort guests were told about the Election Day liquor ban on Monday and again on Tuesday. “They find it a bit strange,” he said.
Back in the U.K., where he is from, people can drink on Election Day and there aren’t problems, he noted. A lot of countries allow the sale of alcohol on Election Day, his guests pointed out.
Later, speaking for senior management, Mr. Coneron told the Cayman Compass, “Because we’re serving guests who are primarily from overseas, we feel we should be able to open for liquor sales. However, we respectfully obey the law.”
At Fidel Murphy’s on West Bay Road the bar was packed in spite of the alcohol ban because of the Europa League Cup Final between Manchester United and Ajax Amsterdam. Football fans sipped sodas or drank coffee and tea as they watched Manchester United take the title.
Caitlin Dunne, one of the owners of the pub, said, “We were lucky enough to have the game on and when there is football, there is usually a crowd, whether they can drink or not.
“It was actually a pretty good day for us. I’m sure it impacted the bars that cater more to tourists.”
She said the bar had a drinks special at the close of polls to thank patrons for their patience.