Glen Mahabirsingh - President of T&T Constractors Association

Contractors are trying to ensure that employees are not laid off during this period of lockdown.

This is according to the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Contractors Association, Glen Mahabirsingh.

Construction activities have been halted until May 23, as part of the Government’s public health restriction measures.

Last Friday, the Prime Minister announced that only “absolute essentials,” such as groceries and pharmacies, will be allowed to operate. The measures, which are being enforced by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, are intended to reverse the upward trend of COVID-19 infections across the country.

Mahabirsingh told Guardian Media, though association members had in place their own health and safety protocols, they understand and support the government’s move.

“We had a meeting earlier today (Monday) and based on where the numbers are going and the amount of lives that are lost- and we want to give condolences to those families- we think it is important that there are measures in terms of a shut down until the 24th so we could have a safe reopening,” he stated.

Mahabirsingh explained, “In construction, you have a mixture of direct employees as well as a lot of sub-contractors. Yes, there would have some level of inconvenience which they would have had a year ago during the last lockdown so, I assure that the various members have mechanisms to deal with this period of shut down.”

The TTCA currently represents over eighty members, including hardwares that are allowed to operate.

Mahabirsingh said the association has also been holding dialogue with the government on paying off debts owed to members for work done as he noted this money will go a long way, especially now.

“A week and a half ago the association met with the Minister of Works, the Chairman of UDECOTT, NIDCO and that was one item we discussed, and we are in discussions,” he said. The TTCA president, however, did not give any further details about the meeting.

Mahabirsingh urged citizens to do their part in the fight against COVID-19.

He said the association is hoping the curve is flattened so that restrictions can be lifted in two weeks.