Allegations of discriminatory treatment of local businesses holding events at the Radisson Blu Hotel’s Garden by the management is being viewed by many Sierra Leoneans including the affected business houses as an act that will mitigate against the growth of the hotel and sends a negative message about the hotel industry to the public.
According to complaints received from over 70% of local businesses holding events at the Hotel, the management is said to portray signs of racism, favoring foreign companies and white folks against local businesses.
According to them, the management has a notice which stipulates that music is not allowed after mid-night in the Hotel garden during any event and customers are advised to adhere to strictly. This notice put up by the management is to ensure peaceful rest of their guests.
However, it is understood that whenever a foreign company holds an event at the garden, they are given time extension to the dismay of many Sierra Leoneans. This discriminatory treatment of foreign organisations and companies better than their Sierra Leonean counterparts is an act of favoritism. Most disheartening is the fact that the Hotel operates in the country.
This has angered some sections of the local business community and there are indications that they are determined to boycott the hotel for other venues. This discriminatory practice has been seen as something that will kill the entertainment industry and discourage local businesses from holding events there.
According to the disgruntled business houses, preferential treatment was given to organisers of the Madeng Festival and after mid night, the time was extended and music continued.
Furthermore they maintained that other companies believed to be foreign owned, have also been given preferential treatment, holding events at the garden beyond the stipulated cut-off time. Local companies say that they have been deprived of the privilege to enjoy the facilities given to their counterparts.
To get the side of the Hotel, the General Manager of Radisson Blu, Mr. Klang was contacted via telephone and the issue raise to him. He explained that preference was given to some companies two years ago, but this has since stopped.
‘‘Those two events were last year. Since that time, we have been forced to implement the event Cut-off time of 12.00pm, but we most times manage to extend it to 1 am. Despite doing that, we always receive complaints from our guests about the issue of late music. Late music event is not part of our policy. Our first priority is to make our guests happy and comfortable and not to discomfort them”, General Manager Klang said.
Other sources say that the statement of the GM is a cover up attempt and that the complaints made by the local businesses are true.