The Region 10 Regional Health and Emergency Committee (RHEC) head, Regional Executive Officer (REO), Orrin Gordon, has issued an appeal for residents to ignore the ‘shutdown’ rumours that is being circulated.
He said that the RHEC has not met and as such, the committee cannot support such a call.
The REO, who heads the RHEC which was established by the Ministry of Community, said that businesses are free to close their businesses if they so desire.
However, he stressed that all businesses must be closed by 6pm until 6 am, as per the countrywide restrictions.
“We cannot tell businesses in Region 10 that they must close during the day, as there is no order that says so. As a matter of fact, our role is to support and endorse what the Minister of Public Health has issued, thus we will continue lending valuable support and assistance in this regard. However, no person can instruct any business to close during the day as it is unlawful,” he warned.
Gordon said that while RHEC is aware of the intentions of some businesses to have a complete shutdown, he said that this needs to first be discussed at the Regional Committee level involving the Chamber and other stakeholders.
He said that the Committee can make a proposal to the national committee for consideration but in no way has the authority or mandate to limit the business hours for businesses operating from 6am to 6pm.
“We have received the order and we are seeking to provide support to the various items outlined and will support through the RDC, Mayor and Town Council and all other stakeholders,” he said.
He, however, dismissed the report circulating in some sections of the media stating that the lockdown comes into effect on Monday April 6 warning that with the ‘misinformation’, it has the potential of increasing undue panic.
“We do not have the powers to tell any business to open as if a businessman wants to close all day then that’s his/her decision as they are in right to take whatever decision they want. However, to circulate that the entire town and or region will shut down is not being responsible as we are cognizant that there are several businesses that supports a 6pm to 6am curfew but not a shutdown,” he said.
Meanwhile, President of the Linden Chamber of Commerce, Victor Fernandes is calling the report printed in a section of the media as being sensational and motivated by certain persons within the community.
“There are some persons who will benefit if there is a complete shutdown, because while they are calling for a complete shutdown but only essential businesses will remain open and we as a Chamber have not discussed this and for the Linden Business Network… to say that they are speaking on behalf of the entire business community is certainly irresponsible and unlawful,” Fernandes said.
The businessman warned that there is a Regional Committee in place and as such, its actions must be supporting the Minister not superseding her as this will certainly have adverse effects.
“I think that the Chamber and more so the RHEC’s role is to provide support to the national curfew not to be superseding what the Minister of Public Health has sought to do in terms of instituting a curfew and I would like to urge businesses that chooses not to close during the day that they have the authority to do so, we as a Chamber stands united with a curfew. However, our position is clear that we do not support a complete shutdown now,” he declared.
The Chamber President said that since the announcement of the Linden Business Network, it has resulted in undue panic and panic buying among several residents with a number of them wondering what systems are in place to assist those who are unable to sustain themselves during a lockdown.
He, however, appealed to the network to be mindful of its actions, while acting responsibly in this very serious but delicate time. “
We have to fight COVID-19 together and as such, our actions and decisions must be fully thought out while we must also consult with all stakeholders before implementing decisions willy-nilly,” he reiterated.
REO Gordon said that as the Regional Executive Officer, his position along with that of the Committee remains the same- no decision has been made for any shutdown and therefore residents should dismiss it.
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