The owner of a gas station and convenience store scheduled to open this month in Red Bay hopes to add beer and wine to his list of product offerings.
This morning, the liquor licensing board heard businessman Gary Rutty’s license application for the Red Bay Rubis station, as well as objections from others in the business community.
“If the liquor licensing board grants this license, they are destroying an industry that’s going to affect a lot of people’s jobs,” said Tortuga Rum Company boss Robert Hamaty.
He told Cayman 27 he objects to a proposal to allow the sale of beer and wine at the soon-to-open Red Bay Rubis service station.
“75 retail package stores, bars, restaurants, hotels service the industry very well. That’s what the category of the liquor license was for, not for every corner of the store. It’s a controlled product, that’s why they have a law,” said Mr. Hamaty.
Mr. Hamaty and fellow liquor store owners Prentice Panton and David Khouri outlined their case against the license in a letter to the board, citing a 2002 cabinet order from the then-UDP government stating “The liquor licensing board shall not grant a license for disposal of intoxicating liquor or spirits by a gas station.”
Of 26 gas stations on Grand Cayman and three on Cayman Brac, only a handful are grandfathered in to allow for package sales. Two in Bodden Town, and one in a formerly rural area of George Town.
“The concept of liquor in the gas station as far as I can see here for this little island is not necessary,” said Mr. Hamaty.
Mr. Hamaty said if the application is approved, he expects it to set off a domino effect.
“Any service station that goes before them, if they grant this license, how can the board find an excuse not to grant the other 22 service stations liquor license, under what grounds,” said Mr. Hamaty.
We reached out to Mr. Rutty for comment multiple times, but did not hear back.
Mr. Hamaty said the protection of minors law stipulates that alcohol can’t be sold at grocery stores. He said under that logic, it shouldn’t be sold at gas stations either.