Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 12th 2015 Contents My name is David Maharaj and I
own a bar and restaurant on the Scar-
I am one of the few people who
could say they were born next door.
Because I live at Fort King George and,
when I was born, that s where the hos-
pital was situated.
I m second-generation Tobagonian.
My father came from Trinidad but my
mother was born to an Indian woman
and Syrian man in Tobago. I m one of
the few Indians in Tobago who had
family, many cousins, in Tobago grow-
ing up. That has changed very, very
rapidly, in the last ten years, in partic-
The newer generation of Tobagon-
ian has become more tolerant than
the older one, because of the greater
prevalence of different ethnicities in
Tobago. Even Chinese. In my era, there
might have been one or two Chinese
---and they were actually Filipinos!
As kids, Fort King George, literally
right next door, was our playground.
Every little boy wants a fort but I had
my own cannons. I really had a blessed
My dad started the first major
supermarket in Tobago in 1963. My
grandfather on my mother s side was
one of the first settled Syrians in Toba-
go. Business is in the blood. We can t
run from it.
My own happy childhood makes
me want kids but I don t believe in
having them outside of wedlock so,
until I encounter the significant other,
that ll be something in the making. The
truth is I do have a wife and kids: my
business. When you re ambitious, you
give up a lot.
In the bar business, you find out
the hard way who your friends are.
They re the ones who pay their bill!
I had help from my father but I
started my business myself. Little or
no financial support. This year we cel-
ebrate 15 years! Time flies! It blinks! I
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still feel 25! I faked it to make it
for a while but I think I ve showed
The key to life is balance. I m
too one-sided now: too much
business, not enough family, not
enough community. Not even
enough self! But I think I have an
exit strategy from my business
now. But, unfortunately for me --
or for the exit strategy---a big part
of me loves what I m doing.
You named the place "Bar
Code" and not "David s Place"
because you did not want to have
it hinged on your personality. But
that s exactly what it ended up
being! So it takes a toll on you.
Being right on the waterfront
makes your working day worth-
while. I see the whole sky and sea
from my workplace. Someday,
you ll see a yacht called Bar Code
parked up in Scarborough Bay.
Many moons ago, I met a guy
lived by two rules: 1. Buy low and
sell high; and, 2. If it flies, floats
or firetrucks, rent it, don t buy it.
So I don t have a boat, I don t have
a plane and I m still single.
I can t play an instrument or
tell you what note just played --
but I love music and the effect it
has on people.
We were the only place who
would have soca shows. We ve had
every major artiste in the
Caribbean. Machel four or five
times. My very personal friend,
Bunji Garlin, Ian Alvarez and his
wife, Fay-Ann Lyons, perform
annually. Alison Hinds was here
for the first time this year.
There s absolutely no logic to
fishing. Somebody could have the
best boat, best rods, best tides---
and go out and catch nothing!
Another fella could go out with
socks and a old piece of rake--- and
catch a big fish!
The best part of my business
is the people. The bad part is we
don t really make money promot-
ing the soca. You can t bring a
whole band, feed them, house
them, pay them---and expect your
bar sales to cover it!
Tobago is definitely the centre
of the world. With the right move-
ment of thoughts, we could get
this place running picture-per-
When people say, "Trini", they
mean somebody from Trinidad &
Tobago. I don t feel any resentment
of that. I ve evolved past that. But,
by the same token, I never think
of myself as Trinidadian: I am from
I ve travelled to many conti-
nents but one thing I look forward
to is getting home! That is what
Tobago, and Trinidad, represents
• Read a longer version of this
feature at www.BCRaw.com
Tobago bar none
TRINI TO D BONE
as told to BC Pires
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