Monday, September 15, 2014

‘About time’ for Sunday trading

By: Laura Buttigieg |

11 September, 2014

Residents who attended a Bodden Town community meeting this week to discuss Sunday trading expressed no objections to changes to the law.

About 10 residents met Wednesday night with Commerce Minister Wayne Panton to discuss amending the Sunday Trading Law 2003, as part of a public consultation period that runs until Sept. 30.

Residents said they believe allowing trade on Sundays would not have an impact on the religious character of the Cayman Islands but would enhance equality.

The group agreed Sunday trading should be introduced, but with limited hours of business operation.

Twyla Vargas, a Bodden Town resident, said she believes people should have the option to decide what activities they participate in on a Sunday.

She said any business that wanted to extend trading should be able to cater to personal choice.

“Where the law is concerned, I think it’s up to the individual person as to what they feel like doing,” Ms. Vargas said. “You personally have to know where you stand.  If you read the Bible, you will know what to do on a Sunday. I will be at church. Sunday is a day of rest and must be kept holy.”

George Town resident Cal Powery said he thought it was about time Cayman welcomed Sunday trading.

“I personally think it’s time, but I like the idea of limiting the number of [business] hours to keep Sunday different than the rest of the week,” he said.

“Everything has to happen on a Saturday, so we end up splitting up and there goes Saturday. It would be great to have the option, and I also think it would have a huge impact on traffic on a Saturday.

“It would help bring my family together,” he added.

Mr. Powery noted Cayman is a multicultural society and the new law would enable equality.

Mr. Panton said government does not have a preferred outcome on the issue but would focus on regulating businesses that currently trade on Sundays in breach of the current law.

“Whether we go beyond that, that is entirely up to what the community wants. We simply want to reflect the wishes of the community,” Mr. Panton said.

“A lot of people agree we could still consider some liberalization of Sunday trading while still maintaining a Christian character as a nation. There are a lot of potential positives to it, and at the end of the day it’s going to open up choices to customers.”

Mr. Panton said Sunday trading would also create more jobs for those who are unable to work during the week due to educational commitments and to those who wished to work part-time.

A second public consultation meeting will be held at the Town Hall in George Town on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. Any legislative changes are expected to come into effect at the end of the year.



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