Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 11th 2016 Contents A9
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Imtiaz Mohammed, 59, and his lux-
ury, burgundy Lincoln Town car are
a daily fixture at the Hyatt Regency
Trinidad and the Cruise Ship Complex
on the Port-of-Spain waterfront.
Dressed in the white and black uni-
form of the St Christopher s Taxi Co-
operative Society, Mohammed,
driver/tour guide, transports tourists
to and from the Hyatt and the Cruise
Ship Complex every day.
He is courteous and professional as
he goes about taking tourists sightseeing
in different parts of the country.
However, he also carries a strange
peace about him and he is always ready
to tell anyone willing to listen the reason
Mohammed said he once roamed the
sleazy alleys of San Juan as a hopeless
One desperate night, after many years
of being a slave to drugs, he had an
eight-hour ordeal with his God. It was
only after that experience that he com-
pletely lost all desire for drugs, he said.
"For seven-and-a-half to eight hours
I challenged Him, telling Him to fix
me or don t let me wake up in the
Recalling the story, Mohammed said
from a young age he lived close to a
notorious San Juan drug empire (now
He was promoted to manager of a
popular fruit and vegetable stall the
drug lord operated in the area and, by
21, he was married. He had also become
a desperate drug addict.
"I started off with marijuana and
then I started mixing cocaine with it.
I would buy the coke, bake it in a test
tube, mash it up and mix it with the
Mohammed said he got a nice feeling
when he smoked that combination but
it was never as nice as the first time
he smoked coke.
Sub-standard cocaine was respon-
sible for that, he said.
"Pushers mix the coke with baking
soda and glucose sugar. When you get
hooked it s very hard to decipher the
The night his life changed
Mohammed reached a point where
he began to steal and beg from relatives
to support his habit. "People on the
drug block also gave me weed."
In the meantime, his family life was
crumbling. He had a beautiful three-
year-old daughter but neglected her,
"I used to walk the streets at nights
about a hundred times buying cocaine.
I would buy five straws at $50 a straw
or some times $100 a straw.
"I would go in the bush, bake it and
smoke it. I would not buy milk for my
daughter. I would take the money for
"I always wanted to come out of
drugs and always tried in my own way
but anytime I made up my mind, the
boss used to pass by my house with a
gun resting on his car seat and tell me,
Kid, I have the hardest here. I have
the best Colombian weed. "
One night Mohammed s life was to
change forever. He smoked his cocaine
and weed, as usual, and put on the tel-
evision to watch the news. He was high.
"But there was no news. Instead, an
American evangelist and a local pastor
were conducting a programme. They
talked about how powerful God is.
"It sounded good in my ears. I taped
the show and when everybody was
asleep, played it over and over again.
"Late into the night, I kneeled down
in front the television and decided to
challenge God. I said, Father, if you
can t deliver me tonight, take my life,
don t let me wake up in the morning.
"I cried out to Him like this for nearly
Mohammed said afterwards he felt
a light travelling down his spine and
something coming out his chest.
"When I got up from my knees I
was a brand new man," he said.
Mohammed went on to reopen his
car repair business and build a house
for his family.
"I bought the Lincoln Town Car and
eventually did what my father did. He
used to work as driver at the Hilton."
As he goes around on his daily trips,
Mohammed shares this story with
almost everyone he meets, giving hope.
From cocaine addict to respected tour guide
Taxi driver, Imtiaz Mohammed. PHOTO: YVONNE BABOOLAL
"Late into the night, I
kneeled down in front the
television and decided to
challenge God. I said,
'Father, if you can't
deliver me tonight, take
my life, don't let me wake
up in the morning.' I cried
out to Him like this for
nearly eight hours."
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