The Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) political leader David Abdulah believes the government acted too late to ban the export of copper.
Speaking at a press conference held virtually on Sunday, Abdulah said it’s been more than two months since the T&T Scrap Iron Dealers Association has been calling for a ban on copper exports, yet the government ignored the call.
“We have been engaged in dialogue with them for more than a year. TTSIDA made a call more than two months ago for the government to ban the export of copper. Had the Govt acted at that time, it could have well have put a break on the stealing of copper —whether at the installation at WASA, T&TEC, TSTT lines or Digicel lines,” Abdulah said.
He added that the six-month ban on scrap iron, including copper will put a strain on many families.
“You are putting the burden of adjustment on them by your failures to act, causing them to lose their jobs. When they lose business, they are losing their livelihood. Shutting down the whole scrap iron industry for six months, when you could have shut down the copper export for three months and keep the rest of the industry going while you are dealing with illegality,” Abdulah added.
He also accused the government of threatening workers.
“The only persons who can be charged under the Industrial Relations Act are the workers in that essential service. What he (Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds) was doing about talking about IRA and they could take action against people. What you are doing threatening workers Fitzgerald Hinds?” Abdulah questioned.
He also said the government was talking about anti-terrorism laws without a shred of evidence, noting that intelligence gathering was not being put to good use.
“None of that intelligence has resulted in a reduction in serious crimes in this country. The murder rate is at a horrendous level. People are being killed every day. Wanton violence taking place.
Even police officers are being kidnapped and robbed. That happened some months ago. People are not safe in their homes. We have home invasions; robberies on the streets of Port-of-Spain and elsewhere. Car thefts and so on,” Abdulah lamented.
He also accused the government of trying to demonize WASA workers as they did with Petrotrin workers.