Norman Sabga Aboud, Managing Director of the Pizza Boys Group of Companies said although they have welcomed the government’s initiative to curb crime, their business hours and sales were being affected tremendously. Sabga-Aboud said some of their restaurants that usually open for 24 hours are now forced to close by 7 pm and, 6 pm for the mall branches. But Sabga-Aboud said he is pleased with the efforts of the government to curb crime especially in light of the murder of one his female employees who was shot dead on Friday last. Denise Phillip, who was employed at Church’s Chicken south branch was shot dead while waiting for public transportation to get home after work.
According to eyewitnesses, Phillip was shot dead by a lone gunman who later fled the scene on a bicycle. Sagba Aboud said this country has now become a real version of the “wild, wild west” and drastic measures are needed. He said his main priority is the safety of his workers during this time.
Another food establishment, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), has been left with no other choice but to close their doors earlier than usual. KFC Independence Square outlet which usually opens for business 24 hours a day, is now closing its doors at 7 pm. Prestige Holdings Limited CEO Charles Pashley said that all restaurants within the “crime hot spots” are being closed by 7 pm while those located outside of these areas will close between 9 pm and 10 pm. However, he said if employees are faced with challenges to return to their homes after work, the entire enterprise will be closed by 7 pm. He said the managers of outlets not within the crime areas, are “playing it by ear” with regards to closing hours. Pashley said sales have been affected severely as a result of the imposed curfew.
Other businesses along Charlotte, Frederick and Henry Streets, Port-of-Spain said though the hours of the curfew are not affecting their opening and closing hours, it has affected their sales. One store owner said there has been a decline in after-work sales, since workers are now rushing to get home in light of the curfew. Another store owner who wished to remain anonymous said it was during this August vacation that they made “great sales”, however he said as a result of the curfew, sales were very slow.
Fred Donawa, Operations Manager of Francis Fashion/Shoe Locker, said some of their stores had to close early due to the curfew.
However, Donawa said it was too early for him to say if their sales were affected by the curfew.
In addition, the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce said that the “limited state of emergency” can only be seen as a “stop-gap” measure but not as a strategy to curb crime. The Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago noted that while the state of emergency will impact on the lives of citizens, it is a necessary sacrifice to “root out the criminal elements in our society.”