On High Street, there was no visible police presence as shoppers and pedestrians alike went about their business. One army jeep with soldiers was spotted and apart from them, traffic wardens seemed to be the only ones keeping order at the busy thoroughfare.
Despite the fact that all appeared normal in San Fernando, several bar owners expressed dismay at the 9 pm to 5 am curfew saying their business would be badly affected. Taxi drivers echoed similar sentiments.
Along Lord Street, at ‘D’ Place, bar owner Wilfred Striker, said he would be forced to close his business by 8 pm. “I live in Siparia so I have to get sufficient time to travel to be home by 9 pm. I don’t know how transportation would be like. I know my business would be greatly affected,” Striker said.
He said patrons usually patronise the bar at 8pm. “This is the time people come to the bar. I would be losing out a lot. I am like a fish out of water now because I know the losses I am going to face,” he said.
“This was not called for! We know crime is rampant, but the police know where the criminals are so why put everyone in distress and lock down the nation?” he asked.
Nearby at Prime Time Recreational Club, one employee, Michelle Joseph, described the limited state of emergency as “ridiculous”.
“You know how much people are now going to be out of a job. We had three shifts a day at this bar, now it will have to be reduced to one. They did not think about this properly. I have children to provide for, what am I going to do when I am not working?” the upset woman asked.
Another worker at Charlies’s Bar along Pointe-a-Pierre Road echoed similar views. “People come from all areas, after work to lime here. This is one of the major liming spots and to have to close by 8 pm business would really be bad,” she said.
The views of taxi drivers were identical. “I work during the day from 6 am to 6 pm but there are taxi drivers who come out after 6 pm to ply their trade. What will happen to them? How will these drivers earn a living? And not everyone could come out during the day time now, as there would not be enough room for all those taxis. I am telling you it will have fight and chaos for a spot,” said a taxi driver.