The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce is very concerned about the latest lockdown and the effect it will have on businesses.
It believes that the majority of existing measures were already in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, and said what is needed is robust enforcement of the current measures.
In a statement, following the Prime Minister’s announcement of restrictions on Thursday, The Chamber said many private sector organizations have implemented the required safety measures to keep their staff and customers safe.
They said “the additional restrictions will hurt the compliant businesses while lack of enforcement with the non-compliant businesses and individuals continue to put our citizens at risk. We would like the government to re-consider the position on food and beverage take way and delivery services.”
“While we understand the necessity for stricter enforcement on private group gatherings, we are very concerned about the extent to which such protocols may be implemented as it may encroach on the privacy and constitutional rights of citizens.
We call on the wider business community and the population to increase their vigilance, we all have a part to play in saving lives and livelihoods.”
The Chamber also reiterated its call for the government to reconsider providing financial support to the businesses which have been affected. Possible options could be deferral of tax and VAT payments or the expediting of refunds due.
They commended the Ministry of Health on what appears to have been a well-run campaign in terms of the vaccination of citizens. However, with the limited stocks, the Chamber said it is looking forward to updates on the delivery of additional vaccines since achieving herd immunity is a priority to restarting our economy.
“We look forward to stricter controls of our porous borders which appear to be contributing to the increase in cases.
The private sector stands ready to support the government on the vaccination campaign. To this end yesterday we hosted a regional webinar with the ICC, UNICEF, PAHO, CARICHAM, the Caribbean Private Sector Organisation (CPSO) and other bodies,, with the aim to develop a format for collaboration between the regional private sector and their governments on a vaccination campaign. No one is safe until everyone is safe.”