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Keeping business alive in the borough
“Mom and Pop” businesses within the Arima borough may just have that slim chance of survival in this current economic downturn as the new president of the Arima Business Association (ABA), Reval Chattergoon, is currently on a “survival” drive on their behalf.
At 37 years old, Chattergoon is the youngest to be appointed as ABA president.
Since taking up the position on June 22, Chattergoon has already become actively involved in his new role by holding several meetings with Arima Mayor Lisa Morris-Julian, councillors, borough officials and members of the T&T Police Service (TTPS) from the Arima Police Station.
Meetings with several state agencies have also been held.
Speaking with the Business Guardian, Chattergoon stressed that his first action was “not only to represent the Arima business community, but to form partnerships with other associations such as the Tunapuna Chamber of Commerce and the Arima Rotary Club.”
Taking over from former president Winston Boodoo, Chattergoon said he was “fortunate” to still have Boodoo at his side offering support.
“Boodoo has shown great commitment toward the success of the ABA. There are still several loose ends to tie up but, with the synergy of the present executive of the ABA, any challenge of initiating a positive and visible change within Arima and its business community is reduced,” Chattergoon said.
Boodoo, who served for the past two years, pointed to the many achievements during his tenure such as the 2016 lighting up of the borough, assistance to the Lady Hochoy (Memisa) Home for the differently-abled, alleviating traffic woes and raising awareness of problematic vagrancy and safety issues.
Chattergoon, on the other hand, is looking forward to working closely with Morris-Julian to encourage an influx of new business entities, to focus on crime reduction and improve the traffic management.
“The key to moving the ABA forward is through selfless representation and consultation..”
He explained that family-owned businesses, and their survival, were paramount.
“These businesses need local support amidst the emergence of larger conglomerates especially when it comes to reducing operational costs given our current economic climate.
“With the objective of Putting Arima First and in consultation with these ‘mom and pop’ businesses, the potential benefits from corporate discounts offered by institutions such as financial, insurance and security institutions may be much stronger if these parties collaborate rather than if these well-established institutions are approached individually.”
Chattergoon identified three major challenges: security; traffic congestion and the spiraling costs in business operations.
“The present economic climate has caused the spending paradigm to shift. So discussions have commenced with financial, security and insurance institutions with regard to attaining group rates and or discounts for ABA members with the objective of alleviating some of the operational costs associated with operating a business.”
In his attempt to reduce traffic within the borough, and with the assistance of traffic engineer, Dr Rae Furlonge, the Arima Borough Corporation, the TTPS, and various other stakeholder groups, Chattergoon disclosed that a scientific approach had been adopted “to study and methodically find traffic solutions to alleviate the congestion now and perhaps over the next ten years.”
Chattergoon added that through consultations in the borough and the TTPS, security concerns were being addressed as a matter of urgency.
“The TTPS in Arima has been doing all they can given the resources provided to them. We see their presence. There is a huge risk and cost associated in operating a business from the security aspect and with that follows the financial commitment to absorb that cost and be successful. It would be unfortunate if any business closes as a direct result of crime. So far I am not aware of any businesses in Arima that have closed due to the present crime situation.
“As president of the ABA, we will continue being allies with the TTPS and the Arima Borough Council in making Arima one of the safest, if not the safest, shopping district in the country.”
The ABA, Chattergoon emphasised, is willing to partner with any individual, group or organisation that has a genuine interest in helping the association make a positive change in Arima and its citizenry.
Other members of the board include: ABA’s secretary Sanjiv Boodhu; treasurer Brian Astor; Christian Rampersad, Richard Smith, Marcia Samaroosingh, Israel Armstrong Jr, Andy Lalla, Angelo Austin, Dianne Alexander and Sudesh Ramkisoon.
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