Elections Day will be ‘dry’

The Liquor Licensing Board is reminding the public and licensees that no liquor can be sold at any licensed premises from 7am until 7pm on Election Day.

Under requirements outlined in the Elections Act, from the time the polling stations open at 7am until an hour after they close on Wednesday, 14 April, no alcohol can be sold, offered for sale or given away at any premises in the electoral districts, Noel Williams, chairman of the Liquor Licensing Board, said in a statement.

The ban on alcohol sales applies to all bars, restaurants, hotels, liquor stores and commercial boats.

Anyone found breaching the law is liable to a fine of $500 or six months’ imprisonment.

A number of countries worldwide ban the sale of alcohol on election day, including Mexico, Thailand and Argentina.

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The historical rationale behind banning alcohol sales in Cayman is twofold – one, to prevent drunken individuals showing up at polling stations and disrupting voting, and two, to prevent alcohol being used to bribe voters.

The latter concern was highlighted in a 1954 letter written by then-territorial Commissioner Andrew Morris Gerrard, which was republished in the book ‘Founded Upon The Seas: A History of the Cayman Islands and their people’. In the letter, Gerrard wrote, “The principal electioneering weapon is rum. It is unwise to make any predictions [about the election outcome] whatsoever.”

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