Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, as he addressed the nation during a news conference held in Tobago, on Saturday 21 November 2020. (Image courtesy Office of the Prime Minister)

The Barkeepers & Operators Association of Trinidad & Tobago (BOATT) has issued an apology to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, for statements made by former interim president, Teron Mohan, following the PM’s press conference, yesterday, Saturday 21 November 2020.

Teron Mohan, former interim president of the Barkeepers & Operators Association of Trinidad & Tobago (BOATT).

Teron Mohan had described as “a slap in the face” Dr Rowley’s announcement on Saturday that $10 million will be allocated to assist bar and restaurant employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Among 5,000 bars, that figure is working out to $2,000 per bar.  How is that supposed to make any sort of dent, or relief with that allocation? It’s not adequate to pay rent, lights, utilities, it cannot offset our expenses and operating costs. It occurred to me that this Government has no consideration to the hospitality sector; they’re very content to see bars go belly up,” he told Guardian Media in a phone interview, following the PM’s announcement.

Since then, Mr Mohan has been replaced as interim president of the Association by the vice-president, Satesh Moonasar, which BOATT confirmed in a news release this morning.

In a follow-up news release, BOATT issued a formal apology to the Prime Minister and the country for Teron Mohan’s comments, describing them as “unprofessional” and not reflective of the Association’s views.

The statement, signed BOATT Executive, reads as follows:

“On behalf of The Barkeepers & Operators Association of Trinidad & Tobago, we would like to extend our sincerest apologies to the Prime Minister and the general public for statements made by our former interim president, Mr Teron Mohan. This unfortunate incident happened after the Prime Minister’s press conference on Saturday 21st November, 2020. The statement made was unprofessional and does not reflect nor represent the views of the Association’s executive and its members.”

It continues: “While the financial support offered to the employees is greatly appreciated, it may not adequately suffice the needs of the vast amount affected. It is much needed support for the industry especially during this Yuletide season. The Association welcomes future support and co-operation if restrictions continue.”

“The Association’s goal is to help its members by engaging in positive communication with necessary stakeholders and does not condone this behaviour in any way,” BOATT adds. “The Association’s executive has taken full responsibility for Mr Mohan’s unfortunate statement and the matter has been dealt with accordingly.”

“We once again we would like to express our heartfelt apology over this incident and assure that there will not be a repeat of this,” the statement ends.