Bar owners want early hours lifted before CPL
File photo: Members of the Barkeepers and Operators Association (BOATT) staged a protest near the Prime Minister's Office at Whitehall, Port-of-Spain on June 9.
Bar owners are expressing concern that they would miss out on revenue from this year's Caribbean Premier League (CPL) due to a reduction in their closing times.
This year's competition will be held in Trinidad and Tobago under strict COVID-19 regulations.
No spectators will be allowed at the stadiums.
The games will be broadcast live on television.
Speaking with Loop News on Tuesday, Barkeepers and Operators Association President Teron Mohan noted that cricket lovers usually flock to their favourite bars to view the games.
This, he said, would be affected this year, with restrictions placed on operating hours.
"We want to get back to our 10 pm time. There's a very fine detail that separates a bar from a restaurant and bar. If they are going to encourage CPL to come in here and you're not having viewership at the sporting venue, what is the population going to do?"
"They are going to flock to their favourite waterhole. More than half of these places need to be closed by 8 pm; what that does is drive all the crowd over to a restaurant. And the restuarant can very well be right next door to a bar. So what sense is that making?"
The Association also responded to statements made by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh on Monday at a media conference.
Dr Rowley said bar owners "have to understand they’re in a business that causes people to violate protocols, unlike other places.”
The Health Minister echoed the Prime Minister's statements: "This is not about punishing bars. It is about asking both bar owners and patrons to consume your alcohol responsibly.”
Mohan described some of the sentiments shared as "complete nonsense", adding that the bar owners feel victimised.
"The Prime Minister painted some good points. There were disagreements to some of the statements that he made. I was most in disagreement with the Minister of Health. His simple thing of saying bars are irresponsible or that the industry is irresponsible, that's disrespectful in my opinion. That being said, he's not paying attention to what he is doing."
Mohan added that bar owners are willing to work with the authorities to address the areas of concern.
"We are all for reviewing and discussing another plan of action to eliminate loitering on the pavement while persons are consuming."
The Association has issued a pre-action protocol letter to Attorney General Faris Al Rawi seeking a return to regular operating hours for all bars.
Mohan added that the Association is yet to receive an official response from the Attorney General.
"We are still yet to receive anything from the Attorney General. The only thing he acknowledged was via a media statement for some reopening of some development somewhere. It was a by the way conversation, and he that this lawyers are drafting up a letter in response to our preaction protocol letter. That has yet to become a reality. We have not received any correspondence, nothing at all."
"The next step forward now is still under discussion and consultation with our attorney. It's very much in the pipeline. It's an ongoing discussion."