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February 2010    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 36, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Grand Cayman Officials Say Alcohol and Stingrays Do Mix

from the February, 2010 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Do the piscine residents of Grand Cayman’s Stingray City really need a bar and restaurant floating in their midst? On December 10, Cayman’s Liquor Licensing Board granted a retail liquor license and a music and dancing license to Bernie Bush, a local businessman, for the proposed floating bar. But Cayman local Peter Van der Bol told the Cayman Net News that Bush’s application was deceptively done because he said the license would be applied at a nearby yacht club, but it then turned into a floating bar.

Undercurrent reader and Cayman local Jack Augsbury wrote a protest letter to radio show Cayman Crosstalk. “What does this say to the children who will visit Stingray City in the future? Here is a beautiful natural setting to safely interact with nature and, oh yes, there is the bar. I have heard the argument that because boaters go there and drink alcohol, then why not a permanent floating bar. There is a huge difference between temporary boaters with personal freedom and a permanent alcohol-dispensing structure.”

More than 100 locals and tourists gathered in George Town last month to protest the license.“Even if a clean operation is done, trash will still end up in the water, and you can’t swim with stingrays in the wild,” protest organizer Natasha Kozaily said. “Putting a bar there is encouraging people to drink beer while they are swimming and they can drown. They can step on stingrays and harm them or get harmed.”

Bush says the place will be more restaurant than bar, serving Caymanian dishes to let tourists sample the local cuisine and served with biodegradable cutlery, while drinks will be served in souvenir cups as incentive for customers to hold onto them. He says he won’t be anchored in Stingray City and won’t be the first to change the family atmosphere. “Half the people have beer or liquor in their hands drinking. So this is nothing new. The fact is it is high time that a local person started to make something out of this so–called piece of pie here in Cayman Islands.”

So while it’s business pure and simple for Bush and Cayman officials, looks like the underwater residents - - and the area’s main attraction - - are the ones who will benefit the least.

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