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Businessman Ivan Seurattan stands in front of his warehouse which was destroyed by fire.

Chaguanas businessman Ivan Seurattan, 56, is urgently seeking to purchase foreign exchange—$3 million US to be exact—to get his business going again and save the jobs of 20-plus employees.

On Monday, January 4, warehouses with a combined total of $35 million in merchandise were gutted at Citrus Drive, Enterprise.

Seurattan owns Alisha Marketing Limited and Roomlocks Electrical Limited. His brother Brian Seurattan, 54, owns Seumeds Limited. Seurattan said he hadlimited supplies at another warehouse in order to resume business today.

However, Seumeds lost all its stock.

Seurattan said the fire began on the northern end of the warehousing complex and gutted the stock owned by Roomlocks Limited and Alisha Marketing. The blaze then moved to the south and burnt the warehouse owned by Sumeds to the ground. Seurattan said Seumeds employed 12 people and the fate of his employees hung in the balance.

He said they had been working to clear the site of the debris and rubble. However, if he does not get the necessary foreign exchange to pay outstanding invoices and get new stock he may have to fold operations within 4-6 weeks.

He said, “I am appealing to the relevant authorities responsible for finance to look at the situation and assist us as best they could. All our supplies are imported from China and the USA, we have spoken with our bankers and we are now making an appeal to the higher powers.”

Seurattan said if all goes well he plans to begin rebuilding as soon as possible.

Despite the massive loss, he thanked the fire services for their hard work which not only saved his buildings to the western side of the warehouses but the other businesses in the vicinity.

MP for Caroni East Dr Rishard Seecharan said both businesses had made a significant contribution to the economic and social well being of the community.

Seecharan said Suemeds had been in business since 1982 while Alisha Marketing and Roomlocks started in 1999.

Seecharan said, “I strongly urge that the requests for foreign exchange allocations be favourably considered in businesses in order that these valued private sector businesses resume operations.”