(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – Chairman Rudy Balak of the shopkeepers’ association VvW does not object to government plans to expand store hours, since “this is the current situation anyway.” The Consumers’ Circle too is not against these plans, but would like conditions for the longer opening hours. Balak points out that many shops stay open until late in the evening, even long after midnight. This is a development of recent years, as an increasing number of ‘foreigners’ seem to have become active in the sector, Balak says, referring to Chinese shopkeepers. The VvW chairman explains that old license requirements state shops can stay open on Sunday from 6 to 8 in the morning and then from 11 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon. The closing time for weekdays was 8 in the evening, but that was later changed to 11.
Balak claims the fact that Chinese shops stay open longer than allowed is ‘unfair competition’, as established local shopkeepers are forced to stay open longer too in order to survive.
“Of course it’s a good thing that consumers can shop around the clock, but it should also be determined whether this is environmentally friendly,” says Consumers’ Circle chairman Albert Aleyne.
The longer opening hours must not lead to noise pollution that disturbs the peace and quiet of the neighbors. Aleyne believes that surveys must be conducted first in order to determine what effects longer opening hours will have on neighbors, adding than one option is to allow longer opening hours only at certain locations in a neighbourhood.