TRINIDAD – Staff assistance
Govt seeking jobs for employees of burnt supermarket
PORT OF SPAIN –– Cabinet today discussed the appointment of an inter-ministerial committee to look into sourcing jobs in the public and private sectors for 200 people who were made jobless after Hearty Foods Supermarket in Arima was destroyed by fire on Tuesday. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar made the announcement at the launch of the new Biometric Smart Card programme at Grand Bazaar in Valsayn yesterday.
In addition to getting work, each of the 200 people will be given $5,000 by the government, she said. An early morning blaze, believed to be a result of an electrical problem, destroyed the four-storey supermarket.
Owner Ishwar Maharaj said he received a call from neighbours around 5 a.m. that the building, located on the corner of Sorzano and Queen Streets, was on fire. The Fire Service was called but by the time members arrived there was little they could do. They, however managed to ensure the nearby Arima Boys’ RC School was not affected. The Hearty Foods Variety Store and Ashleys Bed, Bath And Beyond were also destroyed.
Maharaj had told the media that the supermarket had been in Arima for the past 15 years, but vowed to rebuild it bigger and better. He told distressed workers management would make arrangements for workers to be placed in other jobs. Yesterday, Maharaj appealed to the police to help him secure the premises after looters struck overnight and into yesterday.
Workers who were displaced by the fire also still turned up yesterday to offer moral support to their employer. The street near the supermarket remained blocked off yesterday as firefighters continued their probe into the multi-million dollar blaze.