Board urges change to booze law

| 04/12/2017 | 108 Comments
Cayman News Service

Tortuga Rum Company

(CNS): The Liquor Licensing Board is urging the government to amend the law relating to the sale of alcohol as soon as possible to sort out what has become a confusing and inequitable situation surrounding Sunday booze sales at liquor stores and gas stations. At a board meeting on Friday, after Robert Hamaty, a long-time liquor store owner, raised a catalog of concerns, deputy board chair Lynn Bodden said that members had reviewed the law and submitted recommended changes to Cabinet that they all hoped would address the issues surrounding Sunday sales. The board is seeking an amendment that would pave the way for liquor stores to trade for a limited time on Sundays.

Bodden, who is an attorney, explained that the best way to address the problem was to change the terms of the package licences, which are given to liquor stores, to allow them to open and sell alcohol on Sundays for a certain number of hours, which she did not specify. She said the board believed this had the broad support of the liquor business community.

Hamaty, the owner of Tortuga Rum Company, was one of several package licence holders who attended the quarterly board meeting on Friday, which looked at several applications for retail licences, which were previously reserved for bars, as a means of allowing liquor stores and gas stations to sell alcohol on Sundays.

But the problems this stretching of the law is creating was highlighted by both Hamaty and the board members. An apparent error in the language of the latest amendment to the Liquor Licensing Law has caused confusion and inequity after the Peanuts Rubis gas station store in Red Bay was granted a retail licence, while other store owners don’t have the same privilege.

Although Hamaty has applied for the same type of licence, he made it clear to the board that he doesn’t really want it and has no real desire to sell liquor on Sundays. But he pointed to the exploitation of the mistake in the law and the failure of the board to have imposed conditions, which he said was creating an uneven playing field for everyone.

Noting that he was arguing against himself, Hamaty said, “I don’t want to sell on Sundays and I don’t want to open a bar. I’m here because I’m looking for a level playing field.”

He asked how the board could refuse applications by two other gas station owners seeking the same retail licence that Peanuts had been granted because that would be unfair. But he also wanted to know why people could not wait until Monday to get a drink.

“You have to be some kind of an alcoholic not to be able to wait,” he said, as he expressed his frustration over what has happened with the law. “It’s become a joke,” he said, as he pointed the finger at the previous commerce minister, Wayne Panton.

Hamaty welcomed the lifting of the moratorium but complained that the law was never meant to apply to gas stations. He said there was a prohibition in the law against them selling alcohol, despite the lifting of the old freeze on new licences.

Panton had lifted the moratorium to address a fundamental and unintended negative consequence, as it had led to a profitable trade in liquor licence sales. Efforts to limit the number in an attempt to control alcohol abuse had simply generated a trade in licences, which resulted in people hording ones that were not being used, waiting to get a good price when people wanted to open a new bar or restaurant, or renting licences at a premium.

The lifting of the moratorium paved the way for bar, restaurant and store owners to get their own licences, but it also led to a number of convenience stores seeking licenses, including those at gas stations.

Board Chairman Noel Williams said he and the other members were well aware of the problems that had emerged and they were struggling to fix them, even though they were not the architects of the latest challenges. Assuring Hamaty that they would be addressed, Williams said the issue would be fixed so it was fair to all licensees.

The board has said it expects to publish the decisions on the latest applications in about 10 days.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Local News

Comments (108)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    All bars and nightclubs that close at 2am or 3am should be made to contribute towards a late night bus service, with security, that gets 100% of their drunks home safely. It should be part of their late night liquor licensing. They are collectively, and directly culpable for the frequent road deaths and premature funerals we attend, and they should be made to bear proportionate responsibility.

    • Anonymous says:

      That actually sounds like a really good idea. Fair to everyone.

    • Anonymous says:

      The bar provides the environment to buy and consume alcohol in a semi public and social setting, people have free will and are responsible for their own actions whether sober or drunk. No one at the bar is forcing them to get drunk or to drive afterwards. The bar is not culpable for the actions of the patrons outside of the bar if they are drunk. The individual and the individual alone decided to consume alcohol and are responsible for their inebriation and for their actions.

      If someone attends a business event such as a work social drinks too much and then decides to drive home would you also claim that the business is responsible for the drunk person? Don’t be ridiculous, you clearly have no understanding of basic legal principles

      • Anonymous says:

        12:46 It is the moral responsibility of anyone or buisness who serves alcohol to friend or patron to insure responsible drinking.

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      Your solution is revolutionary, and extremely useful. That almost guarantees it will not be given even a casual glance from TPTB. Still, I support it. Well done!

  2. annonymous says:


    Crashes, hit-and-runs and DUIs continue
    Cayman News | 04/12/2017 | 17 Comments

    Can anyone answer why we need more liquor drinking holes and selling booze from gas stations.
    Isn’t there enough carnage yet? the next dead one might be your child or relative. Come on Liquor Board where is your brain?

    • ss says:

      Forget the alcohol- we need the supermarkets open on Sunday! I think having access to groceries is FAR more important than alcohol! Think of how busy the airport is with visitors arriving Saturday and Sunday- majority of them would shop on Sunday given the chance!

      • Anonymous says:

        Are we acting as if we have to ration the amendments to laws on these islands, both can be done at once very easily

        • Fred the Piemaker says:

          Given the wafer thin majorities in single member constituencies, and the singular lack of statesman like behaviour from our MLAs, “every easily” translates into a simple question for an MLA. Will I lose more votes from the conservative voters in voting for these changes than the middle of the road voter if I stick with the status quo, when the former thinks this is a violation of God’s law and the latter merely an inconvenience to their lives? You know the answer.

          • Anonymous says:

            Then perhaps we should separate church and state, so that a 2000 year old collection of stories and letters is not the basis of TODAY’S legislation

            The current system we have is not working

  3. Coors Light says:

    At a certain yacht club there is a liqour store, gas station, convenience store and bar all in one and sells alcohol on Sunday by the case. Why are we making a big deal just drive to this yacht club.

    • SSM345 says:

      Not to mention all bars will sell you liquor / beer to go on any given day of the week. The local watering holes are in fact pretty much the same price point as its sold at the liquor stores and you get lovely servers so the lickle extra you pay Is worth it…..

    • Anonymous says:

      Lots of places…Lone Star, Agave and other restaurants offer cash and carry, West Indies Wine Bar in Camana Bay has a wide range of takeout options…might as well standardize access across the board.

  4. Just Sayin' says:

    Some 1300 marathon participants enjoyed loud music and free BEER this Sunday morning from 5am onwards. Nothing to see here.

    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      There is nothing to stop you giving away beer for free on a Sunday – just can’t charge for it without a licence.

      • SSM345 says:

        They did charge for it; it was absorbed into the registration fees.

      • Anonymous says:

        Precisely the point Freddie ol’ boy. Nonsensical laws. It’s my party and I’ll drink when i want to.

      • Anonymous says:

        There was a resturant in Keylargo in the seventies that offered a free six pack with breakfast which consisted of one fried egg, however the egg cost you $8.00
        Loop holes! dam loopholes!!!!

  5. Fred the Piemaker says:

    Since when is it the job of the LLB to tell the government what the law on liquor licencing should be? The law is not confusing and inequitable. Its pretty clear – which is why Peanuts has a licence right now. What is also pretty clear is that the LLB don’t like it, but rather than apply the law equitably by allowing others to have the same privileges, they are refusing to approve licence applications by simply adjourning them, in the hope that the government will rescue them by changing the law to what they (and Mr Hamaty) would like it to be.

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      What you say is mostly true, however while the LAW is equitable, its application and enforcement is anything but; we have bars and clubs where the terms of their music and dancing licence is different; we have bars and clubs wherein some of the terms of their liquor license is applied in an uneven manner.

      What should be good for one bar, should be good for another, whatever is legislated.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think the law should be changed so that any business can sell alcohol on Sundays but only to persons who can quote a scripture to the sales clerk….we should install a random biblical quote machine in every liqor and gas store, and you take your pick…if you can quote that script, you’ve got your liq

    • Charles Darwin says:

      No one forces you to be Buddhist or Hindu instead of Christian. Don’t force your religion onto others just because you’re certain your fairytale is the correct one out of many.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Where does Anthony Eden and Alva Suckoo stand on Aunday alcohol sales?

  8. Proof by Contradiction says:

    We don’t need any increase in liquor being sold. What we need is medicinal marijuana clinics which will be far more effective and more safe than the poison ya’ll are selling.

    There is no good reason why alcohol is legal while marijuana remains illegal, pure ignorance and greed by the government of this nation, the same government that has the power to tweak the laws to their own benefit. This is foolishness and an example an ignorant totalitarian government/theocracy.

    We’re suppose to obey these laws without question because once we question the reason there must be an accurate answer and the answer is the government is useless and only looks out for themselves and what can make quick $.

    • Anonymous says:

      So we’d like to huff some weed, eh?

    • Charles Darwin says:

      Enjoy your more harmful and addictive nicotine (you can overdose on it, but not on cannabis) in designated smoking spots on government compounds, but go to jail if you relax with some herb instead of a shot of rum. Backwardness.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The worstset of comments I have ever seen.

  10. Anonymous says:

    You have all week to get sh*t done, why have more people drinking on a beautiful sunday? Im not against drinking but come on now, people ask for too much and complain about everything!

  11. Red Shank says:

    Just remember who peaceful and safe this country before liquor license establishment were allowed beyond 12.00am. Oh my, what an unsafe place this country has become just by tweaking a couple of hours for the greedy. Now Sunday’s? Come on, can we leave a little bit of the old for those that wish Cayman to be CAYMAN. If this is progress hate to see when we reach a population of 100,000. Just read a rape and a near rape moments of each other. GREED!

    • Anonymous says:

      Just because ‘MISTER” Hamaty doesn’t want to sell liquor on Sunday’s why should all others have to suffer? It is free enterprise.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you Wayne Panton for removing alll this draconian laws and stopping the black market deals that were happening. You made a level playing field where ALL Caymanians could prosper and not just the select few who have done for decades

    • Anonymous says:

      Why does the board pay so much attention to one objector?

    • Anonymous says:

      Ahhh the sweet smell of nostalgia as misleading as it is enticing, you want to pretend that there weren’t problems in Cayman before the 1980s and 1990s then go ahead you are only lying to yourself.

      And in relation to your whole leaving a bit of the old for the old’s sake, honestly sorry sweetie change is coming and as they say time waits for no man so keep up or sit on the sidelines.

      Just a note alcohol doesn’t make men rapists so you can just calm right down with that implication


      • Anonymous says:

        My friend..I don’t know if it makes people rape, but it sure changes people mentality. I know from experience. The truth is that most of us won’t admit it. .. Oh by the way I have stopped it.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Make Cayman great again! Booze down spliffs up!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Can we have music on a Sunday too?

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh my.going out Sunday morning and the runners at the corner of cifec high had the music blasting so loud you’d think it was dance hall nite.only to see further down the road they had taken over the parking lot of a church yard and was set up right in front of that respect.people just do anything around more peacefulness.and again how do you give to one and not the other? Some gas stations can sell liquor and some can’t ? Wow.ppm.

    • James Beam says:

      No. You can’t have music! The churches say music on Sunday is evil, and the lawmakers won’t make laws that might cause the loss of votes. You know how it is!

      • Jg says:

        Umm they didnt say that.. Our government made it the law to atleast have one day out of the week for tranquility. Make Mondays great again!

    • Anonymous says:

      Sunday? You are supposed to be in Church having the living bejeezus scared out of you by the preacher telling you what happens if you listen to music, drink, fornicate and don’t go to Church on Sunday. Anyone see a pattern here? It would be called bullying in most places.

  14. Anonymous says:

    They’ve lifted the moratorium on the height of buildings so why not lift all moratoriums. I mean what are they for if you’re going to lift them???? But they’ve already done it so on ya go!
    PS> Hamaty, your argument that why can’t people wait until Monday… That’s just stupid. The better argument would be why can’t you pre-plan and go on Saturday. Well wither way, maybe you weren’t invited to that picnic in time!! Maybe you weren’t intending on going to that BBQ… Get it???

  15. Unison says:

    Alas …

    When employers are allowed to manage their stores the way they see fit (without our government interfering, imposing closures on Sundays, and sustaining high fees), only then are they able to make enough revenue and introduce new services, products and ideas, and create alot of value for consumers and more jobs for locals.

    The regulations on our books, the favors given to some and not to others, is killing the small business community – soon every Caymanian will have to work under a big name or for the already bloated government with limited salaries. I’m afraid this is not creating a fair and free market for young Caymanians! The bandaids of minimun wage, high fees to drain monies from the pockets of employers, and the sustaining of a needs assessment, such welfare systems that only create a people depended upon the system like the golden calf god! This is a sort of slavery, folks!

    Our MLA’s need to stop running our country like its a business. Abolish all regulations and laws interfering with business market, stop giving concessions to big names, and for crying out loud, reduce the size of the bloated civil service! Every Caymanian should have the right to start and maintain their own business and do what they do best – without government control. ?

  16. islandGuy says:

    So DUI is one of the biggest issues in traffic related accidents and you allow people to fill up their tanks and flasks at the same time?

    • Anonymous says:

      Obviously you are one of the few who think that people walk to the liquor stores. Just as an FYI, stats in the Cayman Islands will show that the majority of purchasers of alcohol are driving a car whether they are purchasing the alcohol from a gas station, a bar or a liquor store. So sadly this is not going to make a bit of difference on the DUI’s.

    • Anonymous says:

      Drive to the liquor store = driving to the gas station


      Make Cayman Think Again!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Selective enforcement of arbitrary christian morals, nothing new here, same old Cayman

  18. Anonymous says:

    Shut her down , no licenses for gas stations on Sunday . Existing liquor retail stores continue to operate on the status quo. If people cant get themselves organized to buy before closing time Saturday night , they can have a dry Sunday .

    • Anonymous says:

      Who are you to decide what I, a legal adult can and can not purchase on a Sunday?

      If you don’t want to purchase alcohol on a Sunday then by all means no one is forcing you to do so but you don’t get to dictate the rights of others because you don’t want to

      Just because you are on a diet doesn’t mean the rest of the island shouldn’t be able to buy a doughnut

    • SSM345 says:

      All bars are open on Sunday before church services conclude so liquor is readily available without the gas stations having a license.

  19. Two Juice says:

    My family and I will be boycotting all Tortuga stores and products until such time as Mr. Hamaty stops telling us how we should choose to live our lives.

    Peanuts was ram on Sunday by the way.

  20. Anonymous says:

    when are they going to address the saturday night drinking laws. It’s an embarrassment, tourists must look at us and think wtf is this backward place doing?

  21. Anonymous says:

    This isn’t because of an error made in the last revision of the law this has been a provision for many years. The retail category allows for consumption on premises (bar, nightclub) and off premises (not bar or nightclub but gas stations and convenience stores). According to Mr. Hamaty he has pointed out this “mistake” to many different groups of legislators and they have refused to “fix it”. He might give consideration to the possibility that maybe the people elected to make laws don’t agree with his opinion that it was a “mistake” and have drafted the law how they wanted it to be. What he may need to do is run for public office and get elected so that he can make the laws in the way that he wants, since none of the politicians overs the last 10 years is willing to take his advice.

  22. Anonymous says:

    What Is the difference from purchasing alcohol at a bar, restaurant, liquor store or convenience store??? NONE!!!!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Hamaty didn’t complain when the law was in his favor for years. Now he is knocking everyone including the board because it doesn’t benefit him anymore.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Open the laws up. Time to put these old protectionism laws to the side.

  25. Charles Darwin says:

    “But he also wanted to know why people could not wait until Monday to get a drink.”

    Here’s the entire reason why banning Sunday sales makes no sense and why waiting isn’t a solution:

    If someone really wants to drink on a Sunday at the beach, they’ll ensure they have their supply when they buy their alcohol on a Saturday. Besides, you can hit up the bar after church on Sunday regardless if retail sales are banned or not. POINTLESS.

    Only reason why it’s banned on Sunday is because religious people think that they can dictate what everyone does on a Sunday because it’s supposed to be holy. No, you do you and I’ll do me. Separate church and government.

    “You have to be some kind of an alcoholic not to be able to wait,”

    In my opinion, drinking on a Monday rather than the weekend is more of an indication of alcoholism.

  26. James Beam says:

    Hamaty said, “I don’t want to sell on Sundays and I don’t want to open a bar. I’m here because I’m looking for a level playing field.” S-U-R-E he is. We ALL like level playing fields,….. and MONEY! Hey, why don’t we get a few churches selling booze. That would make an even more level playing field, and even MORE Money! And if we have service stations selling booze, why not have taxis with a little booze to sell? Think how convenient it would be for someone in need of a drink. Now let’s see………….. where else could we make sales legal to make even more!

  27. SSM345 says:

    “You have to be some kind of an alcoholic not to be able to wait,” he said.

    Yes Hamaty, there are lots of alcoholics in Cayman because people like you have lots of liquor stores allowing them endless options to purchase no matter where they are.

    Poking fun at people for a disease caused by the very products that you sell to consumers? Nice one.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed, Mr. Hammaty has made a nice living selling alcohol. Seems offensive and ungrateful to label his customers alcoholics. Perhaps he’s in the wrong business.

      • Anonymous says:

        The first thing they teach you in politics, “Don’t alienate your base” guess he didn’t get the memo

  28. Anonymous says:

    Of course the law needs to be changed, to allow grown ass adults to choose how to live their own damn lives.

  29. Beaumont Zodecloun says:

    I know I sound old-fashioned, but…………… selling liquor at gas stations?? How is this a good idea? Liquor should be sold in bars, pubs, clubs etc. and liquor stores. Surely that is enough locations.

    Ms. Bodden said, “the board believed this had the broad support of the liquor business community.” Well, of COURSE it has the support of the liquor business community. How about the support of the citizens who are already bearing the cost — and I mean “cost” in all ways — of extended hours of operation of bars and clubs.

    I like my little bit of drink also. I don’t think it needs to be easier or more convenient to purchase.

    • Anonymous says:

      Gas stations products are outrageously priced compared to other stores (also overpriced), so why should they have all the gain and the booze shops not? Might make the gas stations think more about pricing product more reasonably.

  30. Anonymous says:

    So they want people to be able to buy liquor but we can’t go to Books and Books to buy a bible?

    • Anonymous says:

      Go stay in a hotel and get one for free in the bedside cabinet draw…

    • Anonymous says:

      Or some clotes to wear. Or to get my tyre fixed so I get get there. Or to buy a tube to fix the bicycle. Or a wrench to fix the water leak that just happened. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      It does seem ridiculous that your can’t go to Books & Books to buy a book or a toy on Sunday, Camana Bay is great to go to on a Sunday and being able to buy a book or a magazine would be pretty useful

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen brother! A condition of every sale of drink on a Sunday should be that the purchaser buys a bible at the same time. That way you can get liquored up and saved all at the same time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Didn’t realize there was a law preventing Books and Books on a Christian Island, with christian laws and a fully christian legislature from selling a bible, maybe they just aren’t interested in selling bibles

      This is how it starts, next people will be claiming a “war on Christmas” and “oppression from a minority just like in the US, fundamentalists are predictable if nothing els

      • Anonymous says:

        Ha! – I think you missed the point here, it’s not about selling bibles, it’s about opening on Sundays!

    • Anonymous says:

      No need for a bible on a Sunday when you can watch free internet porn all day instead. A bottle or two of red goes great with it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.