Scoon: 'I'm a target because of mother's job'

Adrian Scoon -
Adrian Scoon -

BUSINESSMAN Adrian Scoon believes he is being targeted because of his mother's job. He is the son of Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, and is being investigated by police for allegedly breaching public health regulations when he hosted a Boxing Day brunch on his boat, Ocean Pelican.

"It is clear that I am being targeted by the media because of my mother’s profession. Had it not been for her role as a public servant, I truly do not think this event would have been under such scrutiny," Scoon said in a long statement posted on his Facebook page on Monday.

He continued, "As a family, we are well aware of the challenges and scrutiny that come with public life but this issue has become traumatising and debilitating for myself as well as my family and friends." He also said he had not received political favouritism, but rather, being at the centre of "this level of harassment, knowing the facts and then seeing what is actually being reported is shocking, scary and disheartening."

Especially scary were police actions, particularly on January 5, he said, after they searched his home and business place, when, he added time he "genuinely feared for my life during that peculiar ride in a police vehicle." He continued to insist he did nothing wrong. "I want to emphasise that I’m fully aware that we are in a pandemic and there is a balance between operating safely and earning a living responsibly."

I will continue to reasonably co-operate with the investigation until this matter is concluded. If I am to be charged, I will defend my case in a court of law. I will continue to strive as an entrepreneur and fulfil my dreams and goals of improving our tourism sector, which I am extremely passionate about."

Scoon said he chose to remain silent after police stopped the event on his vessel. However, he said he now chose to speak out to "give an honest perspective as to the extraordinary events that have unfolded and continue to unfold." He explained his business, the pleasure craft business, had been closed for two years because of the pandemic. "It is the only industry that has not been allowed to reopen, not even for a brief moment...During this two-year period, we received no financial aid or assistance from the Government and consequently, have lost all of our staff and our business."

Scoon said in November 2021, he wrote to the Prime Minister asking why bars were allowed to reopen, but pleasure craft were not. "I received no response."

He explained that the Ocean Pelican is "an outdoor venue and therefore, according to globally set guidelines, safer than a vast majority of enclosed bars that are operating around the country. "It was not classed as a “party boat,” but "a passenger vessel with the permission to operate at a max capacity of 250 persons. "Since 2019, we have held a valid special restaurant licence and while we have hosted many parties in the pre-covid era, we have also done many weddings, birthday celebrations, religious fundraisers and family days."

He said much like other businesses, the pandemic saw his team having to change its business model to survive. "We have seen establishments sell food under the guise of a 'grocery' during the SOE (state of emergency) when selling food was explicitly banned."

As I write this open letter, establishments best known for being nightclubs are still allowed to operate as nightclubs under a restaurant licence (the very same licence we possess). We have all seen viral videos of their patrons partying unmasked, enjoying themselves while nightclubs are currently banned from operating under the public health regulations."

Scoon said he had no ill feelings about this, as he believed "everyone should have the right to work."

"These establishments are attempting to survive after long periods of closure and suffering. When they operate safely, people receive employment and they are able to feed their families. Bottom line. "He said just like those businesses, his team decided to pivot to become a floating bar and restaurant and run it as a safe zone "in an attempt to restart our business and more importantly SURVIVE."

He insisted on the day in question, the boat was moored. "There was no captain, engineer or crew present on the day in question. Both engines were turned off.

"All invitees to the brunch had to show proof of vaccination, sanitise and take temperature checks upon entry, like every other safe zone in the country." Notably, our vessel was also well below the required 50 per cent capacity, allowing patrons to safely interact."

He said the vessel is just off a main road. "We were not hiding. We even created an instructional safety video that we filmed live with the intention of sending it to the CMO as real-time proof that we could resume sailing, eventually."

That video has been since sent to the acting Commissioner of Police, he said. "I completely understand that the law is left for interpretation and the determination of whether or not the law was broken is left up to the DPP’s office... "I understand that the police have to do their job but what has transpired since Boxing Day has made me question the motives behind what can only be described as a public character assassination and more frighteningly, the motives of possible individuals behind this attempt," he alleged.

He also expressed disappointment with media reporting of the Boxing Day event, comparing it with another incident involving a boat held at sea with 60 people on board. "Far from a safe zone, this allegedly illegal event was featured in just one article. To the knowledge of the public, police have not searched anyone’s homes or made recent mention of that in their subsequent press conferences."


"Scoon: ‘I’m a target because of mother’s job’"

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