Chamber: THA ‘rumblings’ not helping economy
Political instability is being linked to the poor sales by the Tobago business community over the Christmas period.
Business owners have described the holiday season as grim and worrying for the island. Many retail enterprises waited in vain hoping to capitalise on the last-minute rush of shoppers.
In an interview with Newsday, Tobago Business Chamber chairman Martin George said the low sales was not surprising.
He said, “Apart from the challenges and difficulties nationally, based on the recovery efforts from the global pandemic and of course the rising costs – all goods and materials, the war between Ukraine and Russia which has pushed up prices, the removal of the fuel subsidies locally which has caused some increases in prices, we were in a difficult position to begin with and of course, there is the question of the confidence level in terms of the economy in Tobago.”
This, he said, has not been helped by the recent “rumblings between THA Chief Secretary and Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) political leader Watson Duke.
“That and the subsequent declaration by the Chief Secretary and 12 of his members who have declared themselves as independents. Of course, the rift that followed with Mr Watson Duke – the leader of the party – this rift appears to be worsening instead of there being any healing… So of course, once you have these elements of some kind of political instability or disturbance, that is never good for the economy, so it is not entirely surprising.”
He said in going forward, his hope for Trinidad and Tobago in 2023 is for a sense of peace.
“We need to have some sort of relief, some sort of ease, some sort of break from the rampant crime and criminalities. There needs to be a sense of peace, a sense of calm, a sense of tranquillity to come over our land; and that is the first hope.
“If we don’t have that level of safety and security, we really are going nowhere as a nation.”
Additionally, he hopes citizens improve their patience, tolerance and understanding of each other.
“This is so that we don’t end up in these dramatic situations where persons fly off their handles and these scenes of road rage that could end up in a murder or the domestic situation that ends up with somebody trying to end it all or to kill the family members and then kill themselves. We need to have a stepping down – as the Trinibad artiste says, ‘Come down from dey.’”
He added: “We really need to take it down a notch, take down the temperature, take down the tension, the anger, the hatred, the violence and return to a sense of calm and a sense of normalcy. I think that all things would flow from that.
BY: KINNESHA GEORGE