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Reyaz Ahamad

GEISHA KOWLESSAR-ALONZO

As yesterday’s islandwide internet outage showed T&T’s growing dependence on efficient and effective connectivity, business owners said they were thankful the disruption occurred in the morning before businesses were operating at full stream.

T&T Chamber President Reyaz Ahamad who described the incident as “unfortunate” added, “The Chamber got many calls from the business community trying to find out what was going on. While it is unfortunate what took place it shows our reliance on digital format and when these things happen they are should be communicated properly and that the system goes back online as soon as possible.

“Because of this there was an obvious loss of productivity and communication,” Ahamad added.

He said there was also a decline in sales as the outage resulted in Linx machines being temporarily shut down.

President of the Arima Business Association Reval Chattergoon who echoed similar sentiments said the outage must be a lesson for T&T as to its future plans regarding connectivity and digital transformation.

“There is a lesson to be learnt as to what is our back-up plan. The entire Arima which is more or less IT-oriented was totally shut down. Even payment by credit cards was in a total mess.

“Most people had to go back to hand-written bills and cash payments only,” Chattergoon explained.

He said internet banking was also severely affected.

Even as service slowly resumed shortly around midday yesterday, Chattergoon said members were still handicapped to conduct business.

“It was very slow. We ought not to be in this position. It is disheartening to know that in an instant all the communication to the outside world and even internally went back to the 1960s. There must be a backup plan because it is very embarrassing what we went through this from a business community because we were trying to reach our clients and suppliers and everything was in a total craze. A lot of people experienced great financial losses,” Chattergoon added.

He said should something like this happen again he would implore his members and also T&T to implement a functional contingency plan.

Chattergoon said even though the outage lasted a couple of hours which several affected sales and business operations he said had it lasted a bit longer it could have had crippling effects.

“We need support from all suppliers, Digicel and Flow to ensure this does not occur again and they need to show the public what they are doing,” Chattergoon added.

Jai Leladharsingh, co-ordinator of the Confederation of Regional Business Chambers (CRBC) said employees working from home were also impacted which only worsened productivity.

“The internet has become an important tool for us to be productive, communicate and contingency plans must be put in place to ensure this does not reoccur,” Leladharsingh reiterated.