“We are within our legal rights to operate”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Popular restaurant and lounge Waterloo has accused the Royal Bahamas Police Force of ‘harassment’, citing a “persistent campaign of intimidation, unsubstantiated raids and unprovoked shutdowns”.
In a statement yesterday, Waterloo said these actions put more than 50 jobs at risk if it is forced to shutter operations despite adhering to and exceeding all mandatory safety protocols.
“Waterloo has been operating at a substantial loss for several months now, persevering to keep the doors open as responsible employers to look out for the interests of its staff during these unprecedented times,” said the company’s General Manager Kenny Mackey.
“Unfortunately, it is proving impossible to maintain a loyal customer base when faced with large groups of fatigue-wearing, machine gun outfitted officers descending upon the property with patrol lights flashing, terrifying guests and disrupting business repeatedly throughout the day, every day.
“The constant unprovoked interruption of business, the intimidation of our guests and staff members and the issuance of multiple unsubstantiated citations, which we can disprove with concrete evidence, leaves us dumbfounded.
“Regrettably, if this arbitrary, unfounded harassment persists, we will be forced to shutter our business resulting in the immediate ceasing of operations for the foreseeable future and redundancy for our more than 50 dedicated staff members.”
Mackey said closure would be a significant blow to employees, their families, as well as the food and beverage vendors and sanitation teams it engages daily.
“We suspect law enforcement is being provoked into these actions by a small group of misinformed individuals who persist in spreading fake news,” the statement continued.
“…However the matter has now reached such a level of absurdity that raids to “break up the crowd” are taking place on days when the property is closed.
“We have made multiple efforts to meet with Police Commissioner Paul Rolle and other officials to set the record straight, but there has been no response.”
Although licensed to operate as a restaurant, bar and nightclub, Waterloo adjusted its business model to focus solely on its restaurant offering in adherence to the Emergency Orders.
Mackey insisted that they are well within their legal rights to operate in this regard, and they have gone above and beyond to safeguard the health and wellbeing of its guests, staff members and public at large.
This includes investing in lakeside seating and limiting its 500 guest accommodation to 190 guests at capacity.
“We do not harbor any ill will toward members of the public for voicing their concerns – these are frightening and unprecedented times for everyone, ourselves included,” the statement added.
“All we ask is to be treated with respect and extended the courtesy of being allowed to operate uninterrupted and without persistent, unjustified harassment by law enforcement—those entrusted to protect and serve.”