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Rangers given 9pm liquor curfew

Southampton Rangers Sports Club (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A violence-hit sports club has been ordered to shut its bar at 9pm six nights a week as a condition of its alcohol-licence renewal.

Southampton Rangers Sports Club was also subjected to a string of requirements by the Liquor Licensing Authority after the police objected to its licence renewal based on concerns over “gang-related activities and antisocial behaviour”.

The club was told after a five-hour hearing last week that “having recognised and accepted that Rangers is working diligently to put necessary safety measures in place to protect its patrons”, the LLA was prepared to grant the licence with conditions.

They included that alcohol will be served in plastic cups and none will be served after 9pm, except on Thursdays when it can be sold until 11pm.

The club was also ordered not to open the bar during youth-team training sessions or games — a stipulation that the club said it had already met.

The hearing heard last week that the CCTV system at the club was of “poor quality” and that police had found it impossible to identify troublemakers from its footage.

The LLA, now chaired by Marc Daniels, added that the club’s management team must install new, high-definition security cameras within three months and continue to ban individuals who commit, or threaten, antisocial behaviour or violence.

The club was also told to have security personnel present at all sporting events and club members should be prepared to show their membership cards on demand. The LLA added the club’s executive should continue to work with the police to take steps to ban individuals who may be members of, or associated with, gangs.

The ruling was issued to The Royal Gazette yesterday.

The LLA added that it was prepared to crack down on any social club where violence or bad behaviour became a problem.

The authority said: “We therefore put all establishments, inclusive of Rangers, on notice that should they have infractions going forward, especially those that may be tied to antisocial behaviour and violence, they are at risk of having their licences revoked, or amended, in the interest of public safety.”

Inspector Alex Rollins, a police intelligence expert, told the renewal hearing that the club was “a hub” for gang members and associates and that its position between rival gangs in the central parishes and western parishes had led to violence at the club.

The LLA report added that Mr Rollins “offhand” had identified at least four gang members or associates on the club’s membership list.

Shannon Dyer, of legal firm Walkers, who represented the club, told the LLA hearing that the South Shore club was active in its community and provided assistance to seniors and food to people and families who struggled.

Mr Dyer added that a refusal of a liquor licence would result in “effectively shutting Rangers down” due to its reliance on bar sales to fund its community programmes.

The 15-page LLA report also highlighted that Jason Wade, the club president, had “highlighted concerns that all members’ clubs face, which calls for standardisation across the community in relation to similar establishments”.

The report added: “Mr Wade demonstrated that he was a member of our community who recognised our challenges and was committed to steering his club through its current pitfalls with the view of restoring its legacy and true purpose within the community.

A spokesman for the club said last night: “Southampton Rangers Sports Club acknowledges the conditions imposed by the Liquor Licensing Authority and shall endeavour to adhere to all of the conditions that have been ordered.”

The Bermuda Police Service said last night that it was reviewing the Liquor Licensing Authority ruling regarding the renewal of Southampton Rangers’ licence and would make a statement today.

To view the ruling from the Liquor Licensing Authority, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”