In T&T: Chamber says curfew needs to go

2 November 2011

Businessmen starting to feel the pinch of the current SOE and curfew.  President of T&T Chamber of industry says it has ‘outlived its usefulness’

The business community yesterday called for an end to the 11 pm to 4 am state imposed curfew, saying it was significantly impacting on all businesses.

In an interview with Newsday yesterday, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce Andrew Sabga said the curfew has “outlived its usefulness.”

Sabga said the Chamber believed the state of emergency (SoE) gave Government and the authorities sufficient power to fight crime.

“We are not against continuing the SoE, however it can be said the curfew is no longer useful as it has begun to significantly impact on all business,” Sabga said.

He explained if the SoE, particularly the curfew, is extended beyond December 6, it will hurt businesses to a great extent, particularly on the lead-up to the busy Christmas season.

Sabga said the Chamber has made the point to “the powers that be” but was yet to receive any response.

“We understand the Government will have to wait until the National Security Council meets before any decision could be made. However, we are asking them to lift the curfew, even before the deadline of December 6,” Sabga said.

He explained the curfew was not only impacting the country’s nightlife, but also impacted supermarkets and other trade throughout the country.

“It has put a damper on business and commercial activities. While we support initiatives to fight crime, the curfew has outlived its usefulness,” Sabga said.

The Opposition People’s National Movement (PNM) also called on the Government to put an end to the SoE, calling it “inept and oppressive”.

On August 21, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, under advice from her National Security Minister John Sandy called a state of emergency and curfew, citing a “clear and present danger” that threatened the country.

A curfew was also imposed from 9 pm to 5 am in certain areas deemed “hot spots”.

One month later, on September 5, Persad-Bissessar announced an extension of three months to the SoE and a change in the curfew hours. The new hours were 11 pm to 4 am.


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