The closure of IAM and Company store on Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain, on December 8 following the discovery of the body of Republic Bank employee, Shannon Banfield, has resulted in a $2 million loss for this Christmas season.
This was revealed by owner, Ishmael Ali, as the store reopened on Thursday – first time since Shannon’s body was found under some boxes on the third floor of the building.
Ali said his business was badly affected by the murder on his premises.
Ali said he kept the Charlotte Street store closed out of respect for Banfield’s family, who are still grieving.
Ali also claimed that his other locations at Macoya Industrial Estate and Frederick Street in Port-of-Spain, had also seen a drastic drop in revenue with additional losses estimated at $2 million.
As the store reopened on Thursday, there was a mixed response from the building.
People shouted insults at IAM employees. Others made derogatory remarks as to why IAM was still allowed to operate. As a result of some of the remarks, police have stepped up patrols on Charlotte Street.
Some of the people who went into the store, admitted going there for the first time to “see where the thing happened.” But employees were not talking about the discovery of Shannon’s body or the employee, Dale Seecharan, who was charged with her murder.
All these people wanted to see was the staircase to go to other floors, and what the inside of the building looks like. But very few people bought items and they left empty-handed.
On December 5, Shannon left Republic Bank, Independence Square, to go to Pennywise and IAM, both on Charlotte Street. Shannon shopped at Pennywise and then went into IAM. Video footage showed her entering IAM, but never leaving.
Her mother, Sherry Ann Lopez, reported her missing when she did not return to her Santa Cruz home that night. Three days later, her decomposing body was found at IAM.
An autopsy revealed that Shannon was smothered to death. Seecharan, 38, an employee of IAM, was charged with her murder. But questions still linger, are there other suspects in this matter?