Twin Island Republic’s New Used Car Dealers receive their Registration Certificates

Friday 1st May, 2015 represented an important day in the history of Trinidad and Tobago for the promotion of free trade and entrepreneurship. Sixty-nine (69) companies were presented with new Dealer Registration Certificates to allow them to engage in trade in the local foreign used car industry which has made a significant contribution to the level of economic activity in the country over the last twenty years.

Minister Bharath presents Mr. David Ramsingh of Imexpo Group Limited with his Certificate

Minister Bharath presents Mr. David Ramsingh of Imexpo Group Limited with his Certificate

Senator Vasant Bharath, Minister of Trade, Industry, Investment and Communications, and Minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Economy, in his Feature Address said that “the Industry has made a significant contribution to the level of economic activity in Trinidad and Tobago over the years via increases in employment and revenue generation.

Minister Bharath (front row center) with Mr. Norris Herbert, Permanent Secretary (Ag.) to his left and Ms. Donna Marshal-Elias to his right surrounded by the New Dealers

Minister Bharath (front row center) with Mr. Norris Herbert, Permanent Secretary (Ag.) to his left and Ms. Donna Marshal-Elias to his right surrounded by the New Dealers

Providing details on the 264 applications received to date, the Minister shared that 140 companies were investigated and the 69 presented with Certificates fulfilled all the requirements. Of the number investigated, 55 met the infrastructure requirements but are awaiting documentation. When all required documentations are submitted, Registration Certificates will be issued by the Trade Licence Unit. The remaining 16 of the 140 investigated did not meet the criteria. There are 124 applications yet to be investigated and processed. This process will commence on May 11, 2015 and companies will be registered, providing all requirements are met. This exercise is expected to be completed by June 30, 2015.

Senator Bharath noted that “coupled with the successes that were recorded by the Industry, there were certain inherent challenges as well. Such challenges could have led to deleterious consequences if they were not adequately addressed by Government.” As such, the Revised Policy and Procedures (2015-2018), among other activities, was in response to the fact that “the Government saw the need to intervene to better regulate and manage the Industry.”

He told the new dealers that “my Government is one of inclusion and participation in decision-making and following a decision to level the playing field and make the Industry more transparent and competitive, the Ministry decided to invite new Dealers to enter the Industry in 2012. However, while the Ministry was busy focusing on opening up the Industry to benefit consumers, there were those who were already operating in the Industry and who were opposed this initiative and were concerned solely with preserving their own self-interest and were reluctant to introduce new players in the Industry. But the Ministry held firm to its principles and ideals and today I am delighted to be presenting these Dealership Certificates to you, the New Dealers.” To which he received lusty applause.

A smiling female dealer receives her Certificate from Minister Bharath

A smiling female dealer receives her Certificate from Minister Bharath

Mr. Norris Herbert, Permanent Secretary (Ag.) said in his Welcome Address “the journey has only just begun. Now you are in the driver’s seat and great responsibilities lie ahead of you. We urge you to obey the laws by abiding by the guidelines, policies and procedures of the Revised Policy 2015-2018. Provide impeccable service to your passengers (customers) and you will arrive at your destination safely (your business will be successful)”.

The new dealers were also urged, by both the Minister and the Chief Trade Officer to adhere to the existing Licensing Regime, New Policy Guidelines and Regulations and honour the Warranty Agreement as outlined in the Revised Policy and Procedures (2015-2018) in order to maintain their Dealership Certificates.

Three new used car dealers provided testimonials at the Presentation Ceremony.

Mr. Jeffrey Joseph of Joseph’s Motors Limited, Tobago noted that “given the varying location of Foreign Used Car Dealers across the country, we are now able to deliver a personalized yet professional service to prospective used car owners. The Foreign Used Car Dealers are therefore, left with no choice but to supply the market with Quality Foreign Used Cars at affordable prices and to further provide professional after sales support services.”

Ms. Nathalie Johnson of Andass Rental & Transport Service said “today marks a new dawn in the life of prospective entrepreneurs in the car dealership industry. Our journey has been arduous. The importation of foreign used cars, has allowed middle to lower income earners, small and medium businesses to acquire vehicles desperately needed for their convenience.”

Mr. David Ramsingh of Imexpo Group Limited reminded the audience of when this journey began and publicly recognized the invaluable contribution of the staff of the Trade Licence Unit, saying “I stand before you all here in high spirits knowing that the Honourable Minister Vasant Bharath and his hard working team at the Trade Licence Unit in his Ministry have made entrepreneurship a reality to these additional used car dealers in Trinidad and Tobago.”

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