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High Court extends car dealers’ injunction
The T&T Automotive Dealers Association (TTADA) has been granted an extension of an injunction to block the Ministry of Trade from allowing new car dealers on the market until October 3. Visham Babwah, TTADA president, said his association appeared in the San Fernando High Court on Wednesday where the injunction was extended by Justice Frank Seepersad because the State was not ready with its case.
Babwah said in March, the TTADA took the ministry to court after it learnt the ministry was going ahead without proper consultation with TTADA to implement the 2013-2017 policy to regulate the foreign used car industry. "All we want is proper consultation and fairness to the existing dealers who had built the business,” Babwah said. He said under the 2013-2017 policy, Government wanted to allow 200-plus new dealers into the market.”
He said this would not have been fair if it was implemented with that method. He said existing dealers who have been in business for the past 15-plus years had not been allowed to increase their quotas, with some being only allowed to import as little as ten cars annually.
Babwah said the under quota system introduced in 2007, dealers were given a percentage of what they need to import and this quota decreased by ten per cent annually for three consecutive years.
“We have begged for an increased since this was implemented. We have been begging minister after minister to sustain our business and last year the Minister of Trade announced there were unused quotas, but we never had access to this quota. This is no reason to justify bringing in new dealers. We are not afraid of new competition, but if the minister wants to introduce new dealers, he must not curry favour with the new dealers over the old ones,” Babwah said. “There were plans to start the new dealers with 20 cars while some of the old dealers only had ten cars for the past seven years."
Babwah said only 13,500 cars are allowed annually in T&T. “How will this be sufficient to for the old and proposed new dealers? We are being victimised by the ministry because it was agreed last year that an additional 35 cars would be given to each dealer upon the utilisation of his quota to determine their growth and capacity. But this was discontinued because we believe that the minister is squeezing TTADA and its members,” Babway claimed.