Executive Director of the Dominica Employers Federation (DEF) has slammed the observance of a Merchant’s Holiday in Dominica calling it ‘totally unnecessary.’
In an interview with Dominica News Online Joseph said the holiday has its roots in the old British system and is completely obsolete in the modern age.
According to Joseph the idea of a merchants holiday began back when merchants ran a fiscal year from January 1 to December 31. “That were the days before computers and computing,” he explained. “So the merchant would close his business to the public on January 2 to count stock.
Joseph said with emergence of computers closing doors for taking stock is no longer necessary. “Today with the touch of a computer button any merchant can know his stock,” he said. “Merchants do not need to close to count his stock.”
He also said today merchants don’t need a special day to count stock as the fiscal year varies from merchant to merchant. “So even if he needs to count stock, his financial year might be July 1 to June 3….these days financial years end and begin at any time.”
He also made it clear that holiday, if observed, is not for workers. “While the merchant was closed to the public, workers worked by counting stock so it really was never a holiday for the worker,” the DEF boss stated.
“It is totally unnecessary,” he noted.
Going forward Joseph said the private sector will simply ignore the whole idea of Merchant’s Holiday because Dominica cannot afford another day off. “Dominica’s productivity is rock bottom, our competitiveness is not there and we want more holidays? That cannot be good for the country. As far as the private sector is concerned there is no such thing as a Merchant’s Holiday,” he remarked.
He said soon Merchant’s Holiday will become a normal working day in Dominica. “There will be more businesses opening next year and more the following year,” he noted. “Merchant’s Holiday is going to become a normal day of work in Dominica because we just cannot ask for more days off.”