Several Tobagonians are now calling for a boycott of Rena’s Chattack Roti Shop in Scarborough, after its owner, Rena Harrylal, allegedly called for a boycott of all supermarket chains who were pulling Ramsaran’s Dairy Products in a Facebook comment on Wednesday.
Ramsaran’s Dairy Products is currently facing a boycott after a comment from a family member on the People’s National Movement’s (PNM) victory over the United National Congress in Monday’s General Election, which was deemed as racist, drew outrage from the public.
Naila Ramsaran has since apologised and been fired from her father’s company but this has not prevented the backlash, with at least six major supermarket chains pulling the company’s dairy products from their shelves.
The supermarket chains included, Massy Stores, Xtra Foods, West Bees Supermarket, JT Allum Group of Companies, TruValu Supermarket and Persad’s D Food King.
However, during a thread of comments under a press release issued by Persad’s D Food King, in which it noted that it will be ceasing business with Ramsaran’s Dairy Company, a comment from Harrylal sparked a fresh furore on the island.
Harrylal, who business is located in Scarborough, wrote the following comment, “Boycott all the grocery that taking it if (sic) their shelves Indian ppm (sic) all yuh have the powers to shut them down (sic).” In another comment, she said, “Persad’s all yuh go pay the price.”
One of the posts by Tobago businesswoman Rena Harrylal which was deemed in support of a racist rant by a family member of Ramsaran’s Dairy Products.
In an immediate reaction, many Tobagonians voiced their opinions about the stance Harrylal took on the issue, stating that she was more concerned about the action of the boycott rather than the original statements made by Naila Ramsaran and how that would affect society.
However, in an attempt to explain her Facebook posts, Harrylal took to an all-female Facebook group, Inside Out Beauty, saying she was concerned about those who work for the dairy company.
“Why would we want to boycott a company to put innocent people out of a job for what one employee think Not fair,” Harrylal wrote in the group post.
In another comment, she said, “But we cannot punish (sic) innocent people for what she did.”
In issuing an apology thereafter, Harrylal said her words were taken out of context.
“To my IOB members, my point is if one person makes a demeaning comment in response to a comment, why must family and the company that employs hundreds of people pay for what that person?
The post in which Tobago businesswoman Rena Harrylal attempted to apologise for the comment she made which was deemed in support of a racist rant by a family member of Ramsaran’s Dairy Products.
“Tell her what you want Light her up. Did she discuss what she said with every employee? Why punish innocent ppl and put them out of a job? My words was taken in the wrong context. I apologise if I offended anyone. Share just u did the post.”
Many Tobagonians have now vowed to boycott Harrylal’s establishment and have gone as far as recommending other businesses who sell the same delicacy as her establishment.
Harrylal has since either edited or deleted some of the comments she made on Facebook.