South businesswoman: Reopening plan unfair



Hairdresser Jowelle De Souza speaks with Newsday at her Independence Ave, San Fernando salon on Wednesday.  - Marvin Hamilton
Hairdresser Jowelle De Souza speaks with Newsday at her Independence Ave, San Fernando salon on Wednesday. – Marvin Hamilton

San Fernando hairdresser Jowelle De Souza slammed the government on Wednesday for ignoring small and medium businesses in TT.

After the Prime Minister’s announcement that the stay-at-home measures against the covid19 virus would be lifted in phases, De Souza took to social media, voicing her displeasure that more businesses were not allowed to reopen in this phase.

“I am fully aware of the impact of the pandemic covid19, but when the government moves to open food places as an essential business he and his team should consider other small and medium businesses in this country.”

Speaking at her salon on Independence Avenue, De Souza said she thinks the government is being unfair and unjust to small and medium businesses. She said the feedback on social media on the reopening of food businesses clearly shows people are no hurry to buy food.

“People are boycotting KFC and these food places. Also, the fact that people are not rushing to buy food is a clear indication there are those who have no money to buy food because they have been without work for over two months.”

The PM talks about the opening of businesses on a phased basis, she said, but it makes no sense, as what should be implemented is a shift system in which small and medium businesses including beauty businesses, automotive and books can start making money and paying workers.

De Souza said she discussed the matter with members of several business associations, including the Downtown Owners and Merchants Association’s president Gregory Aboud, via Zoom.

“We have since developed a format outlining how the shift system will work and which we want to offer to the government.”

This format, she said, will give each type of business two days a week to reopen gradually.

During the covid19 daily update on Wednesday De Souza tried to contact the PM, National Security Minister Stuart Young and Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh during the question-and-answer segment, but said her questions were ignored.

De Souza, who said she has hundreds of clients through Trinidad and Tobago, has been in business for 30 years.

“Speaking from a business angle I believe the PM and those in authority should listen to the business community and make decisions based on the feedback of the various business associations,” she argued

Recovering from covid19, she said, requires dealing with depression, and beauty businesses can deal with this.

“One of the first types of businesses to open in the UK and the USA is the beauty business.”

De Souza spent Wednesday making calls and writing to various authorities about her concerns.





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