Barkeepers & Operators Association president Teron Mohan (centre), with vice-president Satesh Moonasar (left), and PRO Anil Maraj Powell.

The Barkeepers & Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOATT) is calling for consultation and dialogue with the Government, to help prevent the complete destruction of the food and beverage sectors in this country.

In a news release, the Association is warning of the economic impact of thousands of people from sector going on the breadline, along with hundreds of businesses shutting down forever.

The following is the statement issued by BOATT…

STATEMENT FROM BOATT EXECUTIVE TEAM

The government must encourage participation, conversation and engagement with the population especially in times of need, grief and hardship. To deny this fundamental point has left over 25,000 bar owners and employees with the feeling of being cast aside with no concern of how we are to survive and provide for our loved ones.

The Barkeepers and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago is concerned that the further extension of measures will further exacerbate our financial strain. As a result, the industry will not be able to sustain operations.

The day-to-day lives of our employees are adversely affected more so now than ever as more businesses will shut their doors. We anticipate further job loss, citizens won’t be able to pay for basic amenities or put food on the table. The mental state of our employees has been demoralized and diminished as a sense of doom and gloom now prevail over their heads. All this while the Health Minister keeps saying, “We are in a good place.”

How can this be a good place when thousands of citizens are left on the bread line through no fault of their own with absolutely no care and assistance from the relevant authorities and not even the common courtesy of being granted a conversation with the government on a way forward.

The business sector continues to be decimated while citizens are allowed to have private parties and congregate at beaches, WHILST CONSUMING FOOD AND BEVERAGES in an uncontrolled environment with the only guidelines being don’t go to the same beach at the same time. Can people congregate on beaches and consume food and beverages without removing their mask? This is deemed acceptable by the government while the business sector, who has created a controlled environment by the implementation of all safety guidelines and protocols, are being denied the opportunity of providing in house dining services.

The damage being done to the local economy during the partial lockdown of the business sector will have long lasting effects and will affect businesses for years to come.

The Barkeepers and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago is pleading with the government to have open dialogue with us and all stakeholders involved on a way forward as this is desperately needed for the survival of the food and beverage sectors in Trinidad and Tobago as we are at the point of no return.