South Trinidad business owners who lost money as a result of yesterday's sudden public holiday proclamation have said it was worth it, because the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic team deserved national recognition.
They expressed hope that young persons would be encouraged to become involved in sport, work hard, and not engage in criminal activity.
The holiday, announced by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Sunday night, has been criticised by some as ill-advised since it would negatively impact the nation's productivity during a month with three public holidays — Emancipation, Eid and Independence.
Daphne Bartlett, President of the San Fernando Business Association said she was fully supportive of the holiday because "it is not something that we do every year".
She said, "It will not kill us. It will not kill the nation but it will act as a huge motivating factor for the young ones. The young guys out there who are strong muscular guys and girls can go out there and put their energy into sport and achieve something worthwhile for themselves, their communities, their countries and desist from committing crime and thinking they are all alone and rejected and the only way out is crime, that sort of thing."
According to Bartlett, "That is what we should get out of this public holiday if nothing else.
And we should hope to see many young people heading out to sporting arenas and getting involved in sports."
President of the Princes Town Business Association, Taurel Teelucksingh, said, "An unplanned holiday will always affect business both in a financial position as well as planning position because nobody anticipated a holiday.
But he said he was supportive of the holiday.
"As a country it is really good to celebrate the talent and the people that represent us, not only when they are as successful as this but such an achievement requires a national outpouring of celebration. If it takes a public holiday like this to acknowledge this I would endorse it because it not a common occurrence in our history. Especially at a time like this when we celebrate 50 years of Independence."
President of the Rio Claro Business Association, Patsy Bridglal, said even though business would be affected negatively Walcott was deserving of the recognition.
She said, "Any holiday, especially an impromptu one would definitely have an adverse effect on the business community, moreso in sectors where overtime/triple time wages are being paid to employees. Business people would normally make adjustments, being the innovative people that we are.
Whilst this holiday comes as a fourth for the month, I think that Keshorn Walcott is well deserving of this recognition."
President of the Penal/Debe Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln Ragbirsingh, said there was not much to lose if businesses were closed for the public holiday.
"It affects business yes but then again business on the street at this time is not as (lucrative) as it used to be. The economy is still slow for the small/medium businessman because at this point in time we face the trials and tribulations of foreign currency. If you go to the bank right now you cannot get foreign exchange to buy. Your goods coming up for Christmas so we already in a hole.
So let's support the youths and go forward," Ragbirsingh said.