"Ill-advised and precipitous."
Plying a dizzying array of items ranging from watches to cellphones, Port-of-Spain hucksters look forward to Friday shoppers. Fruit, nuts, DVDs, belts and footwear vendors dot T&T’s capital. But the state of emergency has affected their earnings. At the People’s Mall on Frederick Street, Sharif Mohammed said he had lost about $10,000 for the week. He blamed it on the timing and shoppers’ restricted movement.
Surveying a mountain of sneakers, Mohammed said: “Customers cannot move around because of the lack of time. The curfew has taken away business; especially on a Friday. We would normally close around 9.30 pm. We have to close up around 7 pm. I lost about $10,000.”
Sneakers are sold at around $300 and watches $150. Offering feedback from fellow small entrepreneurs, Mohammed added: “They are losing sales.” Quizzed on his sentiments on the state of emergency, he said, “It should be implemented when all else has failed.” A ray of light shone through when he said the back-to-school shopping was still intact. “People are shopping for their kids. They do not have a choice.” Snack vendor Raquel Cassie lamented the loss of the “end sales.” “Most people are heading home straight. I lost about $1,500. She quickly volunteered: “It’s good for the country. I’m supportive of any move that could help bring the country back. Anything that could reduce crime. Make it a better place.”
Caribbean neighbours support curfew
Caricom visitors like Grenada’s Richard Roberts were caught doing last-minute shopping. He said: “I spent about $600 on belts and T-shirts. I have to limit the time I make my purchases.” Commenting on the lockdown, he said: “If something has to be done to reduce crime, then citizens have to make a sacrifice.” Barbados’ Tonya Browne planned to spend about $3,000 on back-to-school supplies. Quizzed on T&T’s situation, she said: “It shows crime is not under control here. It’s bad crime got so bad. It is not only here but all over. People have to make the best of it.”