The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) says that despite the negatives associated with disruptions in the capital city, the capital is open for business.
DOMA says it must seek to protect the image of the country, despite the fact that the negative occurrences have affected investment from both overseas and internally.
DOMA issued the following statement on Monday:
"Merchants, owners, tenants and general business operators in the Downtown City Centre wish to advise the general public, state agencies and various diplomatic missions that although concerned like all other citizens about our Nation’s security conditions we are open for business on a daily basis.
We are resolute in our determination to protect the interest of our nation’s Capital City and the image of our Country.
We wish to express apprehension regarding the various warnings and advisories which continue to have as their common denominator a continued haziness that has placed a majority of citizens in a state of doubt.
This doubt is doing untold and serious harm not only to our City but to our Country as a whole.
Regionally and internationally we are gaining a reputation of being a nation in collapse based on warnings that are not supported by evidence or facts.
The unfortunate incident in East Port-of-Spain on Monday February 19th has been added to the “mix” of previous advisories to create new toxicity to the image of our Country and it’s Capital.
We understand the high standard to which foreign missions are held regarding the safety and wellbeing of their citizens but we also feel constrained to respectfully defend the image of our Country.
The newest warnings of unspecified threats have recently resulted in a blaring newspaper headline “Don’t Go in Town” – this is a one-sided statement that should not be validated by silence.
If the terror threat was supposedly aimed at Carnival why are we being still warned not to go into “town” ??
We wish to re-state our support for all agencies engaged in the fight against extremism in all its forms – the threats to innocent citizens all around the world is too plain and too macabre to ever be ignored again.
But having watched world events as closely as we have we have become accustomed to a very high standard of accountability from public officials in their reporting to the public on events such as terrorism and terror threats – this has included real-time information almost on an hourly basis.
Such accountability to the public has been clearly absent from recent threat warnings in Trinidad& Tobago.
We do not want to endanger the progress of sensitive investigations but we also do not want to worsen the gloom that is engulfing the outlook of a majority of our people in all strata and in all classes in our country.
This gloom about Trinidad and Tobago is spreading quickly among the investment community both local and foreign and is making itself felt in many areas of our economy.
Asking us to ”Get Real” about our inquiries concerning recent threat warnings can be respectfully answered by us asking various commentators to uphold our right to know and to decide for ourselves as to how to protect ourselves and our families and how to judge conditions in our country.
We wish to state for public information that Port-of-Spain is “OPEN FOR BUSINESS” and that we make this announcement not from a remote suburban office or industrial park but from the heart of downtown Port-of-Spain – we are here on a daily basis operating a variety of businesses some dating back more than a hundred years.
We take example from our Mayor Joel Martinez who confronted the chaos on Monday February 19th by leading the clean-up in person – We have our problems but we are involved in efforts to constantly address these problems – We are actively dealing with issues related to Security, Parking, Homelessness and we are making progress , albeit in small steps but progress nonetheless. We are not abandoning Port-of-Spain and we are not going to act on ambiguities and
Let us, while we heed warnings and advisories remember that we have a right to know more than what has been told to us and an obligation to stand up and defend our City and Our Country and to believe in the future of our Nation."