January 26, 2023

Cayman Islands Pastor says “NO” to Sunday Trading

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Rev dave hazleResponse to the Government’s proposal for the liberalisation of Sunday Trading in the Cayman Islands

By Rev. Dr. Dave Hazle Minister Elmslie Memorial United Church

A group of concerned members of the Elmslie memorial United Church wish to express their disagreement with proposals by the government to liberalize Sunday Trading legislation. In what follows the rationale for this position is set out.

Economic Considerations

The government’s proposal is intended to encourage economic activity, provide support for local commerce, and positively impact employment opportunities. However there is no guarantee that this initiative will stimulate additional economic activity. In fact in other jurisdictions where Sunday Trading has been liberalized what is observed is a redistribution of economic activity.

The same amount of people and money spent over seven instead of six days will do nothing to boost the economy. Deregulation of shopping hours including Sundays has been a growing trend around the world with varying results on economic activity and employment. Population size is often a deciding factor on the outcome. With a relatively small population size in Cayman, volume of sales might not increase significantly. Consequently, additional wages and overheads incurred by the merchants could be passed on to the consumer resulting in higher costs. It seems ironic that the well-known fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A that is known for its strict closed-on-Sunday policy is making greater profits with fewer stores than its main competitors KFC. More trading hours on Sunday is no guarantee of economic benefits.

Employment Considerations

Liberalization of Sunday trading could also have a negative impact on employees. Rather than increasing employment, attempts by merchants to make extra profits could lead to exploitation of current workers especially lower paid labourers. Employees could be required to work longer hours, without the benefit of overtime pay. Workers desperate for extra income are more likely to be willing to work under such conditions, to the detriment of themselves and their families.

Liberalization is likely to increase the occurrence of discrimination against certain employees. Existing employees who desire not to work on Sundays might have less opportunity for promotion and more pressure to work on Sundays. For job applicants, hiring practices are likely to discriminate against those who do not want to work on Sundays. The government’s promise of protection for employees against discrimination provides little comfort. Given the current rate at which labour matters are dealt with we have little confidence that such discrimination will be properly policed and the rights of workers protected. Both expatriate workers and Caymanians who do not want to work on Sundays could be vulnerable to such discrimination.

Social Ill-effects

The changes in Sunday trading regulations are also likely to have a negative impact on the social fabric of the country. As parents feel the pressure to work more hours, they are likely to be less available to their children. Important parent-child relationships could suffer as the nurture and guidance that is essential for proper child development becomes further eroded. The long term social impact is impossible to determine. However, in light of some of the emotional and behavioural issues among children today resulting from instability in the homes one can only imagine that the social problems among the youth over time could increase.

Benefits of the present laws

We believe that there are benefits of the present law that we should preserve. The community as a whole benefits from a day when the atmosphere is quieter and the roads and shared areas are free from the hustle and bustle of weekday life. Also, having a designated day when commercial activity is limited promotes rest with its benefits for mental, emotional and physical health. It also makes community interaction and time to spend with family or relax alone much more likely to happen. The result is a more productive and cohesive society. The laid-back experience of Sunday in Cayman that tourists and visitors note may be an attraction to Cayman that sets it apart from other Caribbean destinations in a highly competitive tourism market.

Changes in Sunday trading laws could also be an affront to Caymanian Culture. The practice of families gathering for Sunday lunch which has been an important part of Cayman culture could become a thing of the past. Holding Sunday as a special day whether of resting, recreation, family lunch times, or religious observance is definitely an important part of Cayman culture which we believe is worth keeping. In the work to formulate a new constitution the importance of retaining the Christian values on which Cayman society were founded was clearly articulated. Although Sunday trading has repercussions way beyond the religious, the establishment of Sunday trading must be seen as a possibly serious detraction from the intent of the constitution to preserve Caymanian Christian values. It is for all these reasons why we do not support further liberalization of the Sunday trading legislation.


Rev. Dr. Dave Hazle


Elmslie Memorial United Church

48 Harbour Drive GT


[email protected]




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