...after protesters fail to meet minister
Camille Bethel firstname.lastname@example.org
Foreign-used car dealers intend to shut down Port of Spain next Friday, president of the Pre-owned Car Dealers Association Inshan Ishamel said yesterday, after a three-and-a-half-hour protest in front of the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Independence Square, Port of Spain, yielded no response from Minister Keith Rowley.
Speaking to the Express after the protest yesterday afternoon, Ishmael said, "The battle has just begun. That is why next Friday will be Black Friday. We will be bringing all of our vehicles with D plates and blocking the streets of Port of Spain. Port of Spain is going to remember us."
The car dealers, their families and employees descended upon the capital early yesterday, waving placards out their car windows, honking horns and blinking headlights in protest of the ministry 's decision to put a hold on the issuing of licences to them.
Protesting outside of the ministry's Nicholas Towers office, Ishmael said: "We are asking you, Mr Rowley, with all due respect, to change your mind because we are not backing down."
The dealers called on the minister to issue the licences so they could feed their families and pay their employees.
"We want we licences, right now, we need we money, right now."
Other protesters who were unable to get parking spaces at the side of the road circled Independence Square with signs stuck to their car windows, doors and car hoods. Many of the placards questioned what would happen to the price of vehicles when there was no more competition for the new car dealers.
Ishmael was adamant that even if they do not get the licences, they would still import the cars.
"This registered system was only started two years ago and they haven't even given it a chance, but if this system is stopped we will go back to the old system. We will go online and order the cars just like we used to do before they started registering us and still bring them in because this industry serves the poor people," he said.
"If Mr Rowley feels he is going to push, I am going to push harder."
At one point it seemed like the car dealers and the police would clash, as the group of protesters started crossing the street back and forth, standing in front of cars and even sitting in front of cars, hindering the flow of traffic along the road and the pavement on Independence Square.
Ishmael and the other protesters were then confronted by the lawmen, who told them they had no permission to gather on the pavement of the Brian Lara Promenade and they should disperse.
In a release issued late Thursday, the ministry said it had already issued 2,900 licences to the 352 registered used car dealers as of January 23, 2008, and additional licences had been temporarily suspended pending the completion of a current review of the quota system.
Inshan, you is the cause for all this dostishness. Its a pity some members of your organisation have to go along with your fockery and dotishness.
Just in case yuh forget its the fockin UNC that made foreign use cars available to the small man. And fockin you and yuh cohorts that support the COP responsible for putting the fockin PNM back in office.
So fockin take wa u get in yuh ass.
I hope dey lock up yuh cont this time and some big nigga well oil yuh bamcee in the cell.
Stupid COP cont.