The proprietors of Club Tito's, one of Goa's most popular nightlife destinations near Panaji, revealed on Monday that they had sold the club due to "harassment" from authorities and non-governmental organizations. The legendary club, which is located on Baga beach in North Goa, has long been associated with the tourism state's nightlife.
Ricardo D'Souza, who co-owns the popular beach resort of Calangute's nightclub, also mocked government officials, lawmakers, and others he alleges are responsible for the harassment.
Though the nature of the 'abuse' the proprietors of Tito’s suffered is still unknown, a sex toy business, purported to be the first physical store in Goa and India, was forced to close just one month after it opened in March of this year.
What is Club Tito's in Goa?
Club Tito's is Goa's and arguably India's oldest nightclub, having opened in the early 1970s and attracting both domestic and international visitors. The welcoming Goa had become a safe haven for hippies and tired souls from all over the world who felt accepted with open arms to this area at a time when the rest of India had yet to be exposed to this "western culture."
Even as Indian tourists began to find this region that was unlike the rest of India a few decades later, Club Tito's may have functioned as an entry point into this utopian realm.
Tito's is such a household brand in Goa that it has taken up an entire alley and is engraved on every graffiti-free wall from the airport to the northern beaches of Baga and Calangute. From September to March, when the tourist season is in full swing, nearly a thousand individuals wake up on any given weekend in Goa with a hangover they most certainly acquired in Tito's alley. This amount increases four or five times on major occasions such as New Year's Eve and Christmas.
What did he say in the Facebook post?
"It is with sadness but with anger that we have sold our entire business in Goa," Richardo Joseph D'Souza, whose family owns the club, posted on Facebook earlier on Monday. "I personally have suffered the least as I was compensated adequately and even my future generations won't have to work."
What does the administration of Goa have to say?
Reacting to allegations of corruption, Goa's Tourism Minister Manohar Azgaonkar said, "I personally felt bad about the sale of Club Tito's. I have a good relationship with the owners. I am unaware of any harassment. The matter never came to me. If it comes, I will definitely investigate."
Sarpanch of Calangute panchayat Shawn Martin's said the decision was not expected. "We have a world-famous beach and Tito's was the most iconic club. It gave our village its name. It should have not happened," Shawn Martin said.
Ricardo has indicated an interest in entering politics on various occasions in the past. Ricardo's openness regarding the corruption and extortion of businesses in Goa, as well as his desire to battle it, has sparked speculation that he will join the BJP, according to The Quint.
Though the nature of the 'abuse' the proprietors of Tito's suffered is still unknown, a sex toy business, purported to be the first physical store in Goa and India, was forced to close just one month after it opened in March of this year.
Will he reconsider?
When questioned if the transfer may be reconsidered, the club owner revealed that the contract had not yet been finalized. Ricardo confessed that the future course of action was contingent on his meeting with local MLA Michael Lobo, as all legal requirements were still pending. Lobo is also a former tourism minister in Goa.
Officials from the police department, PDA, Coastal Regulation Zone, NGOs, panchayats, and sarpanches, Block Development Officers, Deputy Collectors, and other bureaucrats, according to DeSouza, influenced the decision. For most, this was yet another Goan brand, possibly the largest, that had been sold to an "outsider".