Booming Chaguanas business bogged down by traffic, crime

Faaiq Mohammed, Chaguanas Mayor speaking at the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce annual awards ceremony at the Passage to Asia restaurant, Chaguanas on Thursday night. - Lincoln Holder
Faaiq Mohammed, Chaguanas Mayor speaking at the Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce annual awards ceremony at the Passage to Asia restaurant, Chaguanas on Thursday night. - Lincoln Holder

DESPITE the pandemic and the economic constraints it has presented, Chaguanas mayor Faaiq Mohammed said business is booming in the Borough.

“Recently, I had the opportunity to open five new businesses, which is a good sign for commerce and speaks volumes for Chaguanas. It is safe to call Chaguanas the commercial capital.

"However, we have a major problem in Chaguanas, which is traffic.”

Even though traffic is an indicator of growing business activity, he said it is also a major deterrent to business.

He called on the Chaguanas Chamber (CCIC), at its annual awards ceremony at the Passage of Asia Restaurant on Thursday night, to assist in his lobby for new road networks in the borough.

“We have an expanding borough, with businesses coming into Chaguanas on a daily basis, and our population size is increasing. Yet the size of our road network remains the same.

"So I ask the chamber to please join in this call to lobby Government for much-needed infrastructural work.”

Identifying crime as another challenge, Mohammed committed to support the business community to create a safe and secure environment for all.

Digicel CEO Abraham Smith, title sponsor of the CCIC, agreed it is no secret that one of the growing concerns in the borough has been the need for increased security.

“Customers need to feel safe while they shop and businesses need to feel safe to operate.

“These challenges provide an opportunity to use technology, smart cameras, other digital innovations to help keep people safe and help businesses to grow and to help the borough to advance as one of the leading business districts in country.”

Having operated in Chaguanas since Digicel's entry into Trinidad and Tobago 15 years ago, Smith committed to partnering with Mohammed, “To help you accomplish all these objectives.

“We all know technology can play a key role in helping to creating peace of mind,” he said, adding that the company’s slogan, "Better together," is not just a tagline.

Applauding the efforts of the CCIC while saluting the award winners, Smith acknowledged it has been a tough two years for everybody – personally and professionally.

“I am sure you would agree that business leaders’ duty of care to our community, our customers and colleagues, is what has driven you to put your best foot forward. You have accomplished so much in these difficult times. Difficult times also create opportunities, and I think these awardees proved they took advantage of that.”

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry Eileen Allen-Ovid welcomed the physical celebration.

“The last 20 months have undoubtedly been particularly challenging for us all, not only from an individual or business standpoint, but as a collective. Whether we admit it or not, the air has felt different and events like tonight certainly come as a breath of fresh air where we celebrate what is good and what is positive in the community.”

Chamber president Richie Sookhai also noted that with the pandemic challenges, the award ceremony was somewhat “topsy-turvy” but the chamber managed to pull it off.

Allen-Ovid recognised the award recipients as exemplars of Chaguanas who have shown resilience, innovation and philanthropy despite the uncertain times.

She also lauded the CCIC for having distinguished itself as a leader in the central region, contributing to both the community’s socio-economic recovery and broader national development.

“This devoted leadership is critical, now more than ever, as you seek to guide your membership and by extension, the borough to economic recovery.”

She pointed to the $50 million allocated for the introduction of a new SME capacity-building programme in the areas of accounting, record-keeping, training management inventory control and health and safety so that businesses can meet their statutory obligations.

She said the Chamber will have a critical role to play to make this entrepreneurial ecosystem a reality.


"Booming Chaguanas business bogged down by traffic, crime"

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