Anil Maraj

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The Barkeepers & Operators Association of Trinidad & Tobago (BOATT) has written to the Minister of Finance Colm Imbert requesting an update concerning the proposed $10 million to allocated to aid bars reeling due to COVID-19 restrictions.

In a press conference on Saturday November 21, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced the allocation to assist bars which have been barred from having in house patronage since August.

Bars have been allowed to remain open, but can only provide take away service. Many bars has struggled under this restriction with several closing down outright.

Despite the announcement, BOATT said they are still awaiting clarification on the allocation.

“What we did, we wrote the Minister of Finance Mr Imbert asking for some guidance with respect to that,” said Anil Maharaj, BOATT’s Public Relations Officer.

“Methods and ways as to how to apply and the criteria, I believe that it was sent to the Minister via registered mail. He is supposed to be in receipt of that today (Wednesday) I believe.”

BOATT interim president Satesh Moonasar confirmed the letter was sent via TTPost registered mail, and they were told the delivery should have been made yesterday.

The group hopes the letter will garner some sort of response by the end of the week.

“We are hopeful that we would get a meeting with the Finance Minister to discuss this very urgent issue or some sort of public information on how to access these grants,” said the BOATT interim president.

The President said the group was pushing so that especially the hardest hit of their members can pay their employees ahead of Christmas celebrations.

“Well we are hoping that our employees and the bar owners and operators get some sort of relief from it. Mostly those who are truly in need of it, especially the employees because the employees are hardest hit at this time also the bar owners and operators are feeling the pinch but the employees are the ones who feeling the hardest so we are hopeful that the employees will get something especially in this Christmas time” said Moonasar.