Express Business Filler #1

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.”

Bleak Christmas

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.

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ADJACENT to the country’s capital city, to the east of Port of Spain, lies an area that some have classified as a hotspot: from the hills of Laventille at its top; through Beetham Gardens in the middle and Sea Lots at its south.

It’s an area usually classified with high crime rates and unemployment.

Fourteen years ago, a company of the same name—the East Port of Spain Development Company (EPOS), was set up to regenerate the area.

Supermarket operators are getting anxious about when they will receive the official list from the Government on which imported food items will now attract value added tax (VAT) from January.

The Supermarket Association said yesterday no word has come from the Finance Ministry with regard to the list of food items on which 12.5 per VAT will be implemented from January 1.

Please, Prime Minister. Let us open our bars.

The Barkeepers and Operators Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BOATT) has made another appeal to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to fully reopen bars and to lead the 20,000 employees and 5,000 owners in the bar industry out of a local crisis as a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions.

Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission

Globally, as at November 7, 2020, there were over 6,700 types of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, the most popular digital currency, which last week traded at USD$15,014.90.

WIPAY chief executive, Aldwyn Wayne, says the T&T-based payment platform company, has been planning its latest innovation, called WiLoan, for more than a year.

WiPay received a moneylender’s licence in November 2019 and has been actively planning WiLoan since then and is ready to start lending money from December 1, said Wayne.