PRO of the Bar Owners and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOATT) Anil Maraj said they are not about fighting anymore, it’s now a matter of them needing assistance to survive.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Saturday, that bars will have to remain closed for a further two weeks, Maraj said “While the barkeepers recognise and appreciate the actions that government has taken thus far to protect all of us, the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, we have to admit at some point in time that all these strong measures do come at a cost.”
Speaking to Power 102fm on Sunday, Maraj said these measures come at a cost to the employees of these businesses and a cost to these businesses as well.
He said more than ever now, they are in need of assistance from the government.
Maraj added “It’s not about fighting anymore, it’s a matter of of us needing the assistance to survive.”
On the issue of restaurants being allowed to return to in-house dining at 50 % capacity, but minus the sale of wine and alcoholic beverages, Maraj said the association was flabbergasted by that decision, as they do not see how having a glass of wine with your meal can affect the situation.
Maraj said “The Prime Minister continues to make mention of Europe and compare us to Europe, but Europe has a lot of stimulus being injected into their economy, we don’t have that in Trinidad.”
He said “If this continues without any government intervention, with respect to support for the food and beverage sector, then we are going to shut down.”
“We already have a couple hundred outlets, both large and small being shut down and it is going to continue to grow. And, with two more weeks to go, who knows how many more outlets will close now.”
Maraj said they are in dire need and still trying to reach out to the prime minister to have a meaningful discussion, as over 100,00 employees are being affected.
He said “this is an industry that needs to be saved, it is part of Trinidad and Tobago, it is part of our culture.”