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Removal of visa requirement would kill local Indian clothing industry

Published: 
Friday, January 14, 2011

I have been in contact with the Indian High Commission with respect to the recent statement made by Dr Suruj Rambachan on the issue of unilateral visa removal between T&T and India. The high commission stated that a letter of intent was sent from the office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in T&T to the Indian Government requesting the removal of all visa requirements for not only Trinidadians and Tobagonians but all Indian nationals. I cannot imagine the social and economic effects of an influx of foreigners into our now stagnated economy. I have travelled to India on numerous occasions and have seen first hand the tenacity of the Indian business people, who are willing to engage in all types of underhanded activities in order to make a buck and I am quite concerned with the effects of their presence in our society.

I am perplexed at this point as to why there is no protest for the Government to cease and desist from this course of action. The 2010 population of India is recorded as 1,115,000,000 people, compared to T&T’s population of 1.3 million. What effect would allowing any Indian without a visa to enter our country have? To put it in the simplest terms, these people do not want to buy anything from us, all they want is to sell us their products. We have oil and gas US dollars and they have products to sell to us. The past decade has seen the Indian traders (Indian expos) kill the local Indian clothing industry. Companies such Priya’s, Divas and Designers Castle, to name a few, have lost massive revenue due to the illegal activities of these fairs.

They usually bring in “slave” labour to run their operations while our registered businesses have to pay minimum wages, NIS and other taxes. The lifting of visas for Indians would see the Indian expansion of other businesses in T&T. There are currently Indian importers of furniture, pharmaceuticals, granite and marble, and electronics, to name a few. It is imperative that the various business associations in T&T collectively voice their disapproval of this callous government decision.

Anil Ramjattan
Couva

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