LETTER – Liquor board erred in licensing gas stations

I refer your attention to an article published in the Sept. 12 edition of the Cayman Compass (“Sunday alcohol sales; Church ministers’ Letter to governor revealed”).

Finally, we hear from the churches who called for the moratorium from 2002 to 2016. Bishop Sykes was the only one who publicly spoke up, saying gas stations should not have any liquor licenses.

Regarding Mr. Glidden’s comments on me not objecting to Sunday sales: There was no need to. My objection was against gas stations obtaining a retail package license on the basis that a cabinet order prohibited it outright. In any event, why would I need to object, knowing that it was already unlawful for gas stations [to get] a bar license in the same premises as a retail package license? The Liquor Licensing Board should not have accepted the application in the first place considering that these two categories of liquor licenses in the same premises are in conflict and in violation of the liquor licensing law, i.e. type of purchase (consumption on the premises and package liquor no consumption on the premise) and hours of operation. Mr. Glidden and Mr. Rutty should have been aware of this conflict. Furthermore, how can it be permissible to sell liquor, based solely upon an email, when not yet having possession of the physical license prominently mounted and displayed in the licensed premises?

I wish to publicly commend the Governor for her response to the Ministers Association letter and her comments in her April 4 letter where she states, “I agree that this needs to be considered with common sense, given the harm that alcohol can cause and particularly combined with driving”.

Irrespective of the very important issue of what the law says concerning Sunday sales of alcohol, I still maintain that two separate cabinet orders currently exist and that the Liquor Licensing Board was wrong to grant liquor licenses to gas stations in the first place. The gazette lists two different orders:

  • Moratorium on Liquor Licenses
  • Prohibition against gas stations obtaining liquor licenses.

A moratorium is a temporary prohibition of an already lawful activity while a prohibition is a law or regulation making an activity illegal. Any changes to these orders must be clear and documented, with no ambiguity surrounding a change to one or the other.

Robert Hamaty
President & CEO, Tortuga Rum Company

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