Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 22nd 2017 Contents BG4 | COVER STORY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt JUNE 22 • 2017
Picking up the pieces
Dr Roger Hosein, senior lec-
turer, University of the West
Indies (UWI), said Tropical
Storm Bret will have an im-
pact on T&T's business en-
vironment and overall econ-
omy, and added that the storm's impact must
be looked at from different angles.
"On account of the storm, there has been a
lot of panic buying at the groceries, gas sta-
tions and other commodities, which may or
may not be needed with the event of a storm.
This increases the demand side of economic
activity as there is a temporary surge in the
marginal propensity to consume," he told the
Business Guardian on Tuesday.
On the flipside, he said that businesses and
companies that were closed will see a negative
impact on their production and sales.
"At the same point in time, though, on the
supply side there has already been a con-
traction in blocks of activities in manufac-
turing, such as those sectors that work night
shift, schools as announced by the Minister
of Education, various fast-food outlets and
the commercial banking fraternity," he said.
Tropical Storm Bret hit T&T on Monday
night and impacted many businesses across
the country on Tuesday.
The storm made landfall on southern Trini-
dad with maximum sustained winds of 40mph
and a great deal of rain. There were reports
of torn roofs, downed trees and fallen utility
poles in both Trinidad and Tobago.
By 5.00am Tuesday morning, the tropical
storm watch was lifted, but there was damage
throughout the country and many businesses
and corporate offices remained closed.
Hosein said when authorities release figures
on the extent of the damage done to infra-
structure, then the public will have a clearer
picture as to the storm's impact.
"Dependent on the infrastructural cost of
the storm---damaged bridges and buildings,
magnitude of the flooding---one would have
a better idea of the overall cost and damage to
the supply side of the economy that the storm
would perpetuate," Hosein said.
"The mop-up costs to the State can be quite
costly, dependent on the extent of the damage
and one has to hope this is not significant as
the fiscal balance is already negative and the
debt level already very much on the ascent.
"Significantly, the closure of production
facilities in the export-revenue earning part
of the economy, if it occurred, would put the
squeeze on an economy already starved of for-
Hosein said that Tropical Storm Bret hitting
T&T in June shows an early start to this year's
hurricane season and urged the Government
to plan ahead for other natural disasters that
may be in waiting for the rest of the year.
"The early start of the hurricane season with
an actual tropical storm in mid--June may sig-
nal an active season. In this regard, the State
may want to look ahead and redirect the use of
its make-work programme towards ensuring
that river banks and all associated water ways
are cleaned and free of encumbrances to the
flow of water. It would also want to address its
work on bridges in the country so no obstacles
occur to the free flow of water."
Speaking in the Senate on Tuesday after-
noon, Energy Minister Franklin Khan said that
the Government did not as yet have an esti-
mate as to the cost of damages from Tropical
The Tobago House of Assembly's (THA) an-
nual budget presentation, which was supposed
to have taken place on Tuesday, was deferred
On Monday, the Bankers' Association of
T&T (BATT) sent out a release advising that
banks would be closed on Tuesday.
Also closed on Tuesday was the Industrial
Court, all primary and secondary schools,
Agriculture Development Bank (ADB), Uni-
versity of the Southern Caribbean (USC), all
THA offices, all Telecommunications Services
T&T (TSTT) stores and offices, the University
of T&T (UTT) and the Arthur Lok Jack School
Popular fast-food chain KFC closed its doors
across T&T at 8 pm on Monday night.
On Monday, the Employers' Consultative
Association (ECA) advised employers to pay
special attention to staff absences which may
have occurred as a result of the effects of Trop-
ical Storm Bret.
"Employers who have implemented disas-
ter preparedness and communication policies
should treat with absences in keeping with
such policies. However, employers who do
not have such policies should make every
effort to contact their staff concerning what
is required of them for business operations
tomorrow, if any."
...measuring Bret's impact
Continued on Page 5
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