WISAR Updates

We are open from 8.30am to 5pm, Mon to Fri and Sat from 8.30 to 4pm. Social distancing rules apply. No mask, no entry.

Legitimate scrap iron dealers say they’re being punished: “We are not thieves”

Scrap iron workers blocked Clarke Road, Penal, with backfill and burnt tyres as they continued their protest of the closure of the industry.

Legitimate scrap iron workers say not everyone is stealing the TSTT cables and other government infrastructure which has triggered the shutdown of the scrap iron industry.

And while some dealers have erected signs warning that they are not purchasing TSTT cables, charred tyre wires or manhole covers, a source said rogue scrap iron dealers are continuing to make the purchases and hide them in containers bound for export, which usually escape scrutiny because of non-functional scanners at the nation’s port.

At Satnarine Trace in Penal, scrap iron workers staged a pre-dawn protest. It spread to Clarke Road where trucks dumped a huge mound of mud on the roadway, hindering passing vehicles. Police officers were stationed at the site but could not clear the debris.

“Police have no backhoe, we cannot clear this. We have to wait for the Corporation backhoe,” an officer exclaimed.

A scrap iron worker who requested anonymity said: “This is a case where Peter paying for Paul. We are not thieves and we pick up scrap like old stoves and old fridges. But since they close down the industry we have no work. The real cable thieves operate from central, not here, ” he said.

At Prakash Boodoo Enterprises at SS Erin Road, Debe, Operations Manager Nicholas Mahabir said they were still trying to employ some of their scrap ironworkers.

“They have families to mind and we have them here doing maintenance in the yard because at the end of the day they need to have something to go home to, for their families sake,” he added.

Mahabir said Prakash Boodoo Enterprises has been operating for 12 years. Showing signs on the compound, Mahabir said copper is the most expensive metal selling for $1,800 per tonne.

“It is unjust. If they wanted to ban the copper seeing that that is the metal that is purchased by the rogue scrap iron dealers. At the end of the day, they should not have shut down the entire industry because there are van men who are suffering. They should have cut the copper export. This industry has helped a lot of families and to just take away that from them is a hard hit,” Mahabir said.

Agreeing that the industry needed to be regularized, Mahabir said: “While they are putting the legislation in place, they should reopen the industry but keep copper at a ban. Or if not, put the legislation in place ASAP and reopen. You could still stop all copper exports but reopen everything else,” Mahabir said.

Saying that the TSTT cable was easily identifiable, Mahabir said anyone coming with TSTT cables is turned away.

“We do not buy TSTT cables. People may try to hide it in material but we open it and check it. We could identify all the materials that come from Heritage as well. There are different colour codes. We know what is a pumping jack motor, a pumping jack weight and we turn away customers who come with that kind of things,” Mahabir said.

He added: “To regularise the industry, they should register all the van men who collect the scrap metal. There may have householders who don’t want to sell to van men but may want to bring it on their own.”

Even though the cables are sometimes burnt, Mahabir said TSTT material is distinct.

“It may be scorched but you can see the way the wire is entwined that it is TSTT cable.”

Asked whether they report it to the police, Mahabir explained:  “We stop them when they come to the scale and we ask them to leave with it. We are not buying that. To notify the police we have to be cautious. We have our jobs which are not to purchase that kind of material.”

Mahabir said the government should have given dealers some time to clear their yards.

“They should have allowed us to withstand the shutdown by clearing our yards. Thankfully we have no containers at the port,” he added.

He said clean copper sells for $18 per pound; burnt copper is $17 per pound, brass $9 per pound; aluminium is $3.50 to $4.50 per pound; steel is sold for $1,500 per tonne and mixed steel is sold for $1,000 per tonne.

Fuente Guardian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *