Laurel V Williams
People and parang music filled High Street in San Fernando on Wednesday days before Christmas Day. At almost every turn, the sweet voice of the late queen of parang Daisy Voisin can be heard along with a string of soca parang songs from other artistes.
Songs from the late Kenwrick “Kenny J” Joseph, like Paint Brush and Hush Your Mouth as well as from Timothy “Baron” Watkins, seem to be favourites in many stores.
There were scores of people walking the streets with traffic crawling. Street vendors and store workers encourage people to take advantage of their various “deals” and “Christmas promotions.”
Even drivers used tactics to get passengers.
A driver of the Penal/Debe taxi stand told passers-by that the place with the best deals on curtains was in Debe.
Newsday asked him which store he was referring to, and the man responded: “I am a taxi driver and want people to go to Debe.”
Tobago residents Susan Suchit and her seven-year-old daughter Aurora McKenna visited the southern city for the first time “to see what it has to offer.”
“The prizes of items are cheaper, and there are a wider variety of things compared to Tobago. There are a lot of Christmas vybes in San Fernando,” Suchit said.
She was, however, disappointed with the number of homeless people on Harris Promenade.
“They had many things like bottles all over and around the monuments. It was disappointing. Aurora did not want to get too close to the monuments, so we did not get a good picture to carry back to show her friends.”
Managing director of Ideal Vision Optical Brent Khan, at Lower High Street, said eyecare services are not seasonal, so the increase in human and vehicular traffic in the streets did not mean more sales.
“We appreciate the increase in traffic in the past two weeks. More people are coming in to enquire about our services. Some are not interested in getting anything but promised to return. Our sales are not poor, but they are not through the roof either,” Khan told Newsday.
“Because the schools are closed, we are seeing more children coming in during the week. Normally they would come on Saturdays.”
A street vendor believed that the pandemic has changed how people shop.
“Long time, many more people would have stopped to buy things like plates. Now, things are hard, and people are keeping their money. Plenty of people are passing, but they are not really spending much,” the vendor said.
“The hustle would pick up around Friday and Saturday because many monthly paid workers are expected to get their pay by tomorrow.”
Newsday also saw a Venezuelan family who lives in Chatham Village in Cedros.
They say they were looking for sales and intended to visit Rattan’s clothing stores.
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