Gabriel Faria

MORE planning: T&T Chamber CEO, Gabriel Faria

WHILE some private sector bodies are in favour of the Government’s decision to limit non-essential work in T&T for two weeks from midnight on Sunday, the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce is disappointed by this move.

T&T Chamber chief executive Gabriel Faria told the Express that the chamber is displeased by the lack of collaboration and engagement with the private sector before the announcement of the decision.

Faria said: “I was in a meeting on Wednesday with the three ministers and the issue of not allowing non-essential workers from midnight on Sunday came up and I told them let us do some planning, so that we do not end up in a panic. None of the ministers said let us discuss, but out of the blue yesterday this was announced to the population. Since the announcement I have received over 100 calls from the chamber members and the wider business community on who are classified as essential services and who are not.”

Faria said while the chamber recognises the need to take such measures, it is just disappointed that not enough planning and proactive engagement was not done to prevent businesses from going into panic.

The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago chief executive officer, Nirad Tewarie, said his chamber is in support of the announcement by the Government to more stringently enforce social distancing and he encouraged the population to abide by this.

“In fact, our office has been closed since March 16, to protect our employees, their families and the wider population. We will be submitting a list of activities that we consider essential for the Government’s consideration,” Tewarie said.

The Couva Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce head, said the move taken was necessary so that citizens would see how grave the situation is.

“People are still congregating and I observed people still shopping close by and not understanding the severity of COVID-19. This is the only measure to get the deadly virus under control,” Maraj stated.

And coordinator of the Confederation of Regional Business Chambers Jai Leladharsingh said people who are not compliant with the Government’s restrictions are making it bad for businesses that are adhering to the rules.

“I don’t even want to contemplate how many lives this virus will take in T&T, so this move had to be done. It is an essential step not everyone would like, but it has to be done and the CCRBC supports the Government,” Leladharsingh added.

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