THE return of Atherly’s by the Park has brought back nightlife to San Fernando.
After an absence of seven years, Atherly’s reopened on May 28, close to where the original business was spawned.
This is because Sutton Street, San Fernando , where the former San Fernando mayor Ian Atherly and his sister Paula continued to ply their trade after their exodus from
Cipero Street, did not provide the right environment for nightlife that Atherly's customers had grown accustomed to.
And so, scores of faithful followers, including Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, turned up for the grand opening a few doors down from the original spot at the four-way crossroads (still known as Cross-Crossing) opposite Skinner Park.
Blessings flowed from The Friends of Atherly's Quartet on the partially-opened deck, where The Southern Wall of Fame was also unveiled and a photo of the first inductee, Atherly when he won bronze at the Commonwealth Games, New Zealand, in 1974, hung.
The unveiling was followed by live music from pannist Derek Ayum, and by music from the resident disc jockey as the lively crowd danced the night away, while enjoying drinks, finger foods, corn soup, souse, bake and shark, and delectable bite-sized cakes.
“It’s good to be back,” Atherly said in an interview indicating it is just a sample of what is to come.
“Entertainment is big on our agenda. We intend to bring the calypsonians, rock, rap and jazz artistes, all genre of music will be played here. You name it we will be bringing it, catering for all age groups, bringing back that fun that has been absent and that San Fernandians just love.”
Food has also been a big part of customers' appeal and breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with cutters will be served from Sunday to Sunday, with the option of drinks from the bar.
Although the current location has seen several failed enterprises over the past few years, Atherly is confident he can break the bad spell.
“Because I have faith. We opened with prayers and before the opening, I had prayers from every denomination, Hindu, Muslim, Christians. I tapped every possible prayer resource. I am a God-fearing person and I know we are going to do well.”
While not wanting to divulge the size of the investment, Atherly said it is “a tidy sum and I know we are going to get a return on that investment soon.”
The new business has also increased prospects for additional employment.
About the Wall of Fame, Atherly said it was created with a purpose, “so we have ownership to induct which ever San Fernandian we deem worthy of going on the Wall. So, the Crawfords, the Professors, the Stalins will soon find a place there.”
Asked about his photo which hangs on that wall he said, “That was taken in 1974 when I represented TT in cycling at Christ Church, New Zealand, in the Commonwealth Games. I won the bronze medal and from then to now, 45 years later, no other TT cyclist has placed in a Commonwealth Games.
“No federation, no association, no government has ever recognised me for having won medals in Pan Am Games, Central American and Caribbean Games or the Commonwealth Games.
“My sister saw it fit to recognise me and I thank her for it.”