ABED: Shutdown went well, but questions remain

President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Eddy Abed says while he is generally pleased with the way things went in relation to the shutdown of businesses on Thursday in anticipation of Tropical Storm Harvey, he is still hoping for a better plan to be put in place.

Following a meeting yesterday of disaster management officials at the National Emergency Operations Centre set up by the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), the Transport Board advised that the last buses would leave the terminals at 5 p.m.

Government offices closed at 2:30 p.m. and private sector offices, retail stores, supermarkets, petrol stations and other essential services were ordered to shut down anywhere between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Abed told Barbados TODAY while the shutdown plan went generally well, it still needed some fine-tuning.

“Most importantly, I think most people got home in time to deal with their families and make the necessary arrangements before the storm came,” Abed said.

“The reality is that supermarkets were closed around 4:30 p.m. yesterday . . . and some reported to me that the last customer did not leave before 6:30 p.m. Equally, the intention was that all the buses would be back in the depots by 6 o’clock and supermarkets, hardware stores, gas stations closed at 4:30. So how would those people then get their needs?”

Abed explained that “apart from trying to do a one-size-fits-all kind of approach, I think we need to recognize that there will be specific businesses that will need to have some plans in place where skeleton staff can stay back and they make arrangements for those staff members to get home by private transportation – obviously at a reasonable hour – so that we can accommodate those people whose jobs required that they stay back late before they then could take care of their personal needs”.

It was in October last year that Abed called for a national discussion at the level of the Social Partnership on a national shutdown policy.

That call came a week after what was then Tropical Storm Matthew, during which some businesses were open and some privately owned public service vehicles were playing routes, despite an island wide shutdown ordered by the DEM.

Abed said businesses were today assessing their operations and investigating the welfare of staff and their families. He said as far as he was aware there BCCI businesses had no damage to report.

The tropical storm warning was lifted about 8 a.m. this morning, and following assessment by the relevant authorities the all-clear was given for business to resume at midday.

“It was slow in getting started today. Most businesses staggered their hours because employees trying to get to work, depending on where you were coming from, some got there quicker than others. But generally speaking, most businesses were up and running today and I would say we are back to normalcy, if not by this afternoon, most definitely by tomorrow,” Abed said.

One Response to ABED: Shutdown went well, but questions remain

  1. Janis Taylor August 19, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Barbados is still…..a 3rd World Country


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