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Christmas demand for Angostura products high

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

While liquor stores have not seen a major decrease in sales of Angostura products following Fixin T&T’s call for a national boycott, some supermarkets, despite placing their early Christmas orders, are not getting the company’s alcoholic beverages on their shelves.

Yesterday, owner Maharaj West Side Supermarket in Arima, Kumar Maharaj, admitted that over a month ago he ordered from Angostura a list of products which they have not been able to deliver.

“Angostura can’t supply these products which customers have been asking for. This morning I spoke to them and they told me they can’t guarantee when I will get my order. It is getting progressively worse. The picture at Angostura is not healthy. If this continues they might have to close up shop,” Maharaj complained.

Maharaj said he was unsure what was causing the delay.

“This is Christmas…the busiest time of the year for us and our shelves are bare. It’s affecting our business and Angostura is not saying anything. Customers are going elsewhere and we are losing sales. This is not good for business.”

Expressing similar sentiments was owner of Chang’s Brothers Liquor Store and Supermarket in Marabella, Andrew Chang, who complained that Angostura was not supplying its full range of products. “We are not getting everything we order. I don’t know what is wrong because sometimes we can’t even get Forres Park puncheon, which is always in high demand.”

With Christmas approaching, Chang said cherry brandy, which is used to soak fruits to make black and fruit cakes, were in short supply.

“Even Hard Wine they don’t have. For a million-dollar company like Angostura you have to wonder what going on with them.”

Chang said not having these highly sought products was cutting into his profits.

However, Susan Ramkhelawan, of Anand Low Price Supermarket in Fyzabad, said they had not seen a decline in sales of Angostura’s products nor was there a short supply.

“People buying their grog as normal for Christmas, especially White Oak and Forres Park,” Ramkhelawan said.

At John’s One Stop Shop Liquor Store in Cunupia, Ramadhar’s Food and Liquor Centre in Freeport and MS Food City Supermarket in Debe, their customers remained loyal to the brands.

Two weeks ago, Fixin T&T head Kirk Waithe called for a boycott of Angostura products after its chairman Dr Rolph Balgobin was cleared of allegations of sexual harassment against him by a female executive who was fired last Wednesday. Yesterday, Waithe said the boycott has been gaining traction.

“We have no way to measure it because people have been commenting on social media.”

Waithe noted, however, that two radio stations had asked him not speak about the boycott when he appeared on their shows because of concerns the company would pull their advertising.

Meanwhile, in a press release yesterday, the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce strongly condemned sexual harassment, while the Bankers Association of T&T (BATT) expressed concerns that sexual harassment and gender discrimination had become a worldwide concern.

BATT said T&T was signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, while the Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. It recommended that these provisions be strengthened and supported by legislation to treat with all form of discrimination in the workplace.

Stating that sexual harassment has been attracting headlines globally and locally recently, the chamber was of the view that enhanced legislation was urgently required to address the issue.

“Until such has been enacted, it remains incumbent upon employers to develop and enforce a comprehensive approach to maintaining an environment that is free of harassment and untoward behaviours of a sexual nature,” the release stated.

Angostura’s communications manager Giselle Laronde-West did not respond to questions emailed by the T&T Guardian yesterday.


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