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Updates to the Liquor Law come into Effect

Amendments to the Liquor Licensing Law will help to rectify some concerns related to issues of ambiguity of the legislation.

The changes will go into effect on Monday, 10 September. One of the key changes increases the power of the Board to permit Sunday opening of package licenced premises. Another change addresses the concerns related to issuing multiple licences (namely retail and package) by requiring that the Board ensures an applicant demonstrates a clear demarcation between the areas in the premise that will use each licence category, and demonstrate the ability to ensure each licensees has control of that specific area.

In addition the amended law recognises non-profit organisations, by granting the Board power to approve licences for groups registered under the Non-Profit Organisations Law, and gives the Board the power to waive fees for a temporary or occasional licence for events linked to national festivals such as Pirates Week.

Minister for Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Hon. Joseph Hew, notes that the changes to the Law seek to address urgent matters only.

“Over the years there has been some ambiguity and issues with several sections of the Liquor Licensing Law. These amendments were done in effort to address some of the critical deficiencies and provide a more efficient licensing regime,” says Minister Hew.

Another key change of to the law allows Cabinet to provide guidance and policy directions to the Board. The update is welcomed by the Board.

“The Liquor License Board is pleased that the recent changes to the law now provides clarity to the roles and responsibility of the Board. The Board will now be equipped with the tools and training necessary to run fairly and efficiently,” states Noel Williams, the Chairman of the Liquor Licence Board.

Other changes to the law help to properly define particular terms, as well as eliminated unnecessary and redundant requirements.

The Ministry met with and consulted a variety of stakeholders prior to the drafting to the amendments, including the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, the Cayman Ministers’ Association and the National Drug Council.

The Ministry plans to conduct a more comprehensive review of the law, taking a closer look at rules around the training of bar staff and the advertising of alcohol, as well as potentially combining the Music and Dancing Control Law with the Liquor Licencing Law.


Full list of 2018 amendments coming into effect 10 September

• Properly define what constitutes a “mobile bar” to avoid any breaches of, and ensure the compliance of the Law.

• Allows Cabinet to provide guidance and policy directions to the Board as it related to performance of its functions, when it is deemed necessary.

• Requires the Board, before it issues a package licence and a retail licence to the same premise, to ensure that there is a clear demarcation between the areas used within the premises for each licence and that licensees are able to control each area.

• Allows the Board the ability to grant licences to non-profit organisations that re registered under the Non-Profit Organisations Law.

• Remove the requirement for clearly marked exits, adequate fire extinguishing systems (removes a licensing duplication that is already fulfilled when premises receive approval from Chief Fire Officer).

• Removes the need for reference from the Chief Medical Officer (no longer necessary as smoking is prohibited inside licensed premises).

• Removes the infrequently used category of wine and beer, reducing the number of categories from eight to seven.

• Amends the terms of “retail licences”, “temporary licences” and “restaurant licences”.

• Allows Cabinet to prescribe fees for an extension granted by the Chairman of the Board.

• Permit the Board to waive fees for a temporary or occasional licence for an event that is part of a national festival.

• Empower the Board to permit licensed premises covered by a package licence to sell liquor on Sundays during such hours as the Board may determine.

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