Club takes fight to liquor licensing board
A Hamilton Parish club has said the authorities should concentrate on people who cause problems at clubs rather than on the clubs.
Arrim Perinchief, the president of Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club, told the Liquor Licensing Authority during a hearing on Thursday that a handful of people were responsible for trouble at bars and clubs around the island. He said: “It feels like the clubs are on trial for the behaviour of these individuals.”
Mr Perinchief suggested that when people were convicted for offences at a club or bar, the courts should be able to impose an island-wide ban on entry to licensed premises.
He added: “These individuals go to clubs to fight. The same persons in fights at Southampton Rangers are in fights at Docksider. This way, when they go to these places, they can be addressed by the police.”
Mr Perinchief said his club was forced to close for 24 hours after a disturbance on the property, but those involved in the fight had not been customers. He explained: “It was unfortunate because we’re closed. The individuals that did this weren’t patrons at the club.
“They came specifically to cause a problem. It seems like nothing is being done to address these individuals that are causing the problem.”
Mr Perinchief added that those who were involved in the incident, in which a bottle was thrown at police officers, had been sent registered letters to ban them from the club. Magistrate Tyrone Chin suggested that the club owners could share the identities of troublemakers among them and all send registered letters to ban those involved.
He said: “Come together in this. Once they breach the letter, that’s when the law comes in, but you have to do some heavy lifting first.”
Stephen Tucker, the vice-president of St David’s County Cricket Club, was questioned about violence in the wake of the gun murder of Ronniko Burchall on club premises last December. Mr Tucker said: “We had security in place. Unfortunately, it happened as the gentleman was leaving the bar. It happened outside. It was tragic.”
He said the club had decided to concentrate more on community and family events. Mr Tucker added that reggae “sessions” at the club would be “few and far between” in the future.
Hamilton Parish Workman’s Club was praised for what the authority said was a turnaround after past incidents of violence. Earnest Lathan, the vice-president, said they had cut back on parties and built a stronger relationship with the Bermuda Police Service.
But members of the club at the hearing told the authority that the club had not held an annual meeting for several years. Mr Lathan admitted there had not been an AGM for three years, but explained the club had difficulty in reaching a quorum.
The authority said it would hold a secondary hearing on the club’s licence in light of the comments. The authority also questioned Alfonso Harris, owner of Churchill’s cigar and liquor store in the Town of St George, about complaints that the store had caused congestion. Mr Harris said he was annoyed by the problem and had put a sandwich board outside the store to prevent people parking on the sidewalk, but the Corporation of St George had ordered him to remove it.
He added: “It might get worse because the new Visitor Information Centre is right next door and they are giving away free wi-fi.”
St George’s Cricket Club and Gombey’s in St David’s were praised by the authority for their work to improve safety and security. Derek Robinson, assistant manager at Gombey’s, said the business had mostly stopped hosting parties and had seen an increase in the number of tourists visiting the premises.
He said: “We do very little in terms of promoted events. Our days are filled by tour buses now.”
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