Chaguanas businessman Ivan Seurattan, 56, says he urgently needs to purchase US$3 million in foreign exchange to get his business going again and save the jobs of his 20-plus employees.

On Monday, a fire destroyed warehouses containing $35 million worth of merchandise at Citrus Drive, Enterprise. Seurattan owns Alisha Marketing Limited and Roomlocks Electrical Limited, while his brother, Brian Seurattan, 54, owns Seumeds Limited.

While Seurattan has limited supplies at another warehouse to start business on Monday, Seumeds lost all its stock.

The fire started on the northern end of the warehousing complex and gutted the stock owned by Roomlocks Limited and Alisha Marketing. The blaze then spread to the south and totally destroyed the warehouse owned by Sumeds to the ground. Seumeds employs 12 persons and will not be able to unlesss business unless they get foreign exchange to pay suppliers for outstanding invoices and get products to restock.

Seurattan said his employees working on clearing the site but if he does not get foreign exchange the may have to close down operations within 4-6 weeks.

“I am appealing to the relevant authorities responsible for finance to look at the situation and assist us as best and 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,” he said.

If all goes well, Seurattan plans to start rebuilding as soon as possible. He thanked the fire services for putting in the hard work that not only saved his buildings to the western side of the warehouses but other businesses in the vicinity.

Suemeds has been in business since 1982 while Alisha Marketing and Roomlocks started in 1999.

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