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AMCHAM T&T president Toni Sirju-Ramnarine

“While we are pleased to see children return to schools, we certainly hope that with the levels of vaccination among students and teachers, the requisite measures and safety protocols will be implemented and adhered to, so that we will not see in the coming weeks a surge in the number of positive cases and deaths.”

This was the statement made by President of the American Chamber of Commerce of T&T Toni Sirju-Ramnarine in her welcome address to the 25th Annual (Virtual) Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) Conference & Exhibition yesterday.

Schools reopened to all children, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, from Forms Four to Six yesterday.

“It is in no one’s interests—businesses nor the general population’s—to have us go through further lockdowns and suffer further personal loss,” Sirju-Ramnarine said.

Sirju-Ramnarine said COVID-19 has killed more than four million people around the world.

“Locally, we too have lost many people to the virus and our condolences go out to their families, friends, and co-workers,” she said.

“Over 48,000 persons have recovered, so today I ask that we not only take a moment to remember the lives of those we’ve lost but also to celebrate those who have recovered and, in some cases, may still need support,” Sirju-Ramnarine said.

Amcham T&T’s president said COVID-19 has caused “too much pain and suffering”, and we are not out of the woods as yet, but that does not mean we haven’t made progress.

“We at Amcham are pleased to lead in this space with all of the members of our Board of Directors and all of the employees of our Secretariat being fully vaccinated. Further we continue to play our part in this regard through our partnership with the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce where we are currently assisting the Ministry of Health in the uploading of vaccination data forms from across the country and of course you would recall that during the months of July to September, we also jointly ran the mass vaccination site at the National Academy for the Performing Arts,” she said.

Sirju-Ramnarine noted this effort would have contributed to the number of vaccinated people in T&T which now stands at 43 per cent.

“However, this is still not sufficient, and we join the Minister in the continued call for citizens, young and old, to get vaccinated. Noting that concerted steps may need to be taken to increase vaccination levels – as individuals, across industries, within the private sector and within the public sector if we are to secure a bright and prosperous future for T&T,” she said.

“In this regard, we were encouraged to see the reopening of many businesses and generation of employment again through the creation of the Safe Zones. Decisions such as these which follow the science, incentivise vaccination and restore a sense of normalcy again are positive steps,” Sirju-Ramnarine said.