Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 5th 2014 Contents lot of money in one night. I watched
it several times and saw people gam-
ble away thousands of dollars in one
go."Edwards said he would love to
know what the Chinese involved do
with the money from the losing bets.
"I think they help bring other Chi-
nese here. But you have to ask what
kinds of activities is it funding?"
Edwards said he also noticed
roulette machines in San Juan and
"They are cropping up all around."
He said the chamber was willing
to engage the Chinese business own-
ers once they are here legitimately.
President of the San Fernando
Business Association Daphne
Bartlette said there were many unan-
swered questions about some Chi-
nese nationals in Trinidad.
"Why are they allowed to operate
businesses in T&T when they cannot
speak English? What immigration
laws cover and do not cover them?
Do we have immigration officers
who go out and check on these peo-
ple to find out what documentation
they have to stay here permanently?
Are they fulfilling the laws and reg-
ulations of the country? Is there an
unwritten law that these people can
come in and set up shop?"
Bartlette said that for years these
questions have remained unan-
She said she was a bit puzzled by
the Chinese influx. "It s a bit hazy
as to what is really happening. I am
not sure what laws are being over-
"What the members are also say-
ing is that they are giving tremen-
dous competition to the bona fide
business owners. Everywhere you
turn there is a new business. We
asked the past and current govern-
ments to find out what is causing
the proliferation of these expatriates,
because they are certainly not sec-
Bartlette said it was a known fact
that several Chinese restaurants that
did not adhere to proper health stan-
dards were shut down by health
inspectors in South.
She said what bothered her was
the issue with our foreign exchange.
"I always say we should guard our
foreign exchange in a way that we
would not have wanton spending or
Bartlette said what was also
strange was that none of the Chinese
business owners had approached the
association to become members.
Interim president of the Sangre
Grande Business Association Ken-
neth Boodhu said before welcoming
the Chinese to T&T, the Government
should ensure that they pay and file
taxes, make NIS contributions, and
employ local labour.
"I am suggesting that tax officers
visit these businesses to audit them
to ensure that they operate legally.
Are these people coming here and
are not being regulated? This is hard
to tell because no one is keeping tabs
He said if there was no regulation,
legislation needs to be drafted to
ensure that they operate within the
Boodhu said they should not only
source labour within their families,
but give locals an opportunity to
work in their establishments.
In the last seven years, Boodhu
said at least ten Chinese restaurants
were established in Sangre Grande
with little or no complaint from the
He said the same way Trinidadians
go to USA, Canada and England to
open businesses, he did not see a
problem with Chinese coming here
to do the same.
"I see nothing wrong with these
people coming in and setting up
businesses in Trinidad. If we Trinida-
dians can emulate their work ethic,
we can increase productivity. They
are contributing to the upliftment
of our town."
Boodhu said while people have
been frowning at the growing num-
ber of Chinese businesses, Trinida-
dians are just not as ambitious as
"The Chinese are taking advantage
of opportunities. They work very
hard. I think we should embrace
President of the Arima Business
Association Eustace Nancis said
while the increase of Chinese busi-
nesses in the corporation has not
been discussed by members, "it
is always a concern to see the num-
ber of them cropping up here, there
He said, "We just have to observe
it and treat everything with cau-
Nancis said while Arima has sev-
eral established Chinese businesses
for years, new ones are popping up,
"How much Chinese food can one
Nancis said the authorities need
to monitor these restaurants to also
ensure proper health standards are
C C u
Chaguanas Chamber of Com-
merce president Ritchie Sookhai also
confirmed that Chaguanas has a
"huge presence of Chinese busi-
He said the owners of the new
wave of Chinese supermarkets, casi-
nos and restaurants in Chaguanas
had not approached the chamber to
become members, nor have they
lodged any complaints.
Sookhai could not say if the new
Chinese business owners have been
operating legally or illegally, were
granted work permits or import
A u C
President of the Downtown Own-
ers and Merchants Association
(Doma) Gregory Aboud also con-
firmed an influx of "new Chinese
businesses opening in the downtown
area," but said that only the older
Chinese businesses form the core of
"The family business model is at
the heart of the success of the Chi-
nese community, and this model has
proven itself to be a successful con-
cept for centuries. We should not
despise the Chinese community.
What we should do is emulate this
model, where a strong family busi-
ness model can lead to a strong
He feels the investment the Chi-
nese businesses are making can be
seen in a positive light.
"These new entrants should be
required to follow all the conditions
under which local businesses operate
and in this way, they can contribute
towards the further development of
towns and cities."
Aboud said while it is true that
these Chinese have been creating a
tough competitive environment for
those who may have been accus-
tomed to higher margins, "by the
same token they have many lessons
to teach us with respect to their work
Former president of the Super-
market Association of T&T (Satt)
Kumar Maharaj feels that some Chi-
nese nationals come to T&T to set
up businesses in order to acquire
sufficient money to obtain perma-
nent residency in Canada.
Maharaj said all that was needed
for a Chinese national to become a
permanent resident in Canada was
However, a check on the Web
ness-immigration, revealed that
"certain provinces have their own
business immigration programmes
within their Provincial Nomination
Programmes (PNP) where
certain Canadian provinces
will nominate applicants for perma-
nent residency under their Business
Under the PNP, the Web site stat-
ed that a deposit of $100,000 Cana-
dian is required for the province of
Manitoba, but this has since been
Anyone entering Canada must
have a visa.
Maharaj, who owns and operates
West Side Supermarket in Arima,
said he counted 36 new Chinese
supermarkets from Arima to San
Juan, many of which employ "their
He said the Chinese had several
advantages: they live on the premises
of their businesses, did not pay for
security, and opened extended hours.
"So their overheads costs are sig-
He feels sooner rather than later,
the national economy will pay a price
While some customers admitted
that the Chinese supermarkets
offered cheaper prices on goods,
Maharaj disagreed, stating that the
prices at local supermarkets were
just as competitive.
Maharaj also alleged that some of
the Chinese "pay no taxes and they
have no banking accounts."
Newly-elected Satt president Dr
Yunus Ibrahim, of Ramish and Leela
Supermarket, refused to comment
on the growing number of Chinese
supermarkets because he said the
topic was "close to the heart of the
supermarket association" and was
a "tricky" one to answer.
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt October 5, 2014
Chinese nationals in T&T...
Targets for ambush, robberies
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