Businessman Peter George says the country is now in a social and economic crisis because of the Covid-19 measures and if Government continues to hold on to grab-and-go services, several businesses will crash.
George, chief executive officer of the Trent Restaurant Group which includes Trotters, Buzo, Amara and Blue Star Diner, said he was disappointed when Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley did not announce the re-opening of the economy last Saturday.
“I have a thousand workers and they are in unbelievable financial pain. After eight months of this pandemic this is no longer a medical crisis, this is a social and economic crisis.”
George complained on the I95.5FM morning talk show on Monday that he now has no choice but to retrench people and close some of his businesses.
“I really thought they were going to reopen on Saturday but now after eight months of constraints, I unfortunately have to close some of my operations and send staff home, because I now have to look for the economic continuity of my business.”
George said he was at his breaking point and the Government was not listening to other sectors.
He felt there was a lot this country could learn from regional neighbours.
“All these islands are open, they are not booming, but the economic wheels are turning. But in Trinidad and Tobago we continue to throw a cold blanket on the problem, waiting for cases to come down,” George added.
Also speaking to the Express outside MovieTowne at Invaders Bay, Port of Spain on Monday, Stephen Aboud, owner of Pharmaco Ltd, said he believed Government lacked innovation.
Aboud said the economy could have been open a long time ago as proper regulations just need to be put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
He said when the economy opens back up, businesses are not going to be the same.
“Everyone knows that this Christmas is going to be bleak as far as business is concerned. It is going to take two years for things to normalise again.”
Aboud advised Government to pay more attention to domestic tourism to help the economy.