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PM defends scrap iron export ban

All of a sudden, the scrap iron industry has decided to physically shut down T&T, according to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who’s also said people went berserk in trying to make money out of the scrap business.

Speaking at Tuesday’s People’s National Movement meeting in Belmont, Rowley also announced that a road repair company is being established to fix roads which have deteriorated considerably.

Rowley also detailed business trips he’s going on from September 2.

Accusing the United National Congress of joining anyone who has a grouse, he said, “All of a sudden, the scrap iron industry decided to physically shut down T&T… we were ‘exporting’ steel in this big industry to the point where our very existence was being threatened. It became a national security issue.”

He cited cable cutting, fences, manholes covers, church bell, items at Heritage, water lines and theft of the Piarco International Airport’s aviation fuel bond gate, where a lighted match could have caused great destruction. Noting that theft of certain steel could affect a transformer and shut T&T down, he added, “What is Government supposed to do? Say you’re making an honest living – shut T&T down?”

Saying police can’t be placed at every TTEC pole or manhole cover, Rowley who said he had no cocoa in the sun, adding that what has T&T in this situation is “… not who is the National Security Minister or which party’s in office.”

“The real problem is families who know family members are engaged in serious criminal conduct and aren’t applying the standards we expect. If you know family members afforded themselves firearms, go out at night and come back with money when they name not on any payroll … you know you ‘re encouraging murderers in your ranks, your bed, in your house!” he said.

“There are too many people who’ve chosen crime as a way of life – we have to get away from that! If you know who has the gun and the TTPS doesn’t know – who you protecting?”

He asked what is a Prime Minister’s role if people took money from their children who’d know the parent knew they’re in crime.

“The Government will do what a Government could do but this is going to be one helluva long haul as long as you’re doing what you’re doing – and not doing what you should be doing.”

He said this is a period of great difficulty and sometimes mistakes are made. But he said the policy of arming a nation as a response to crime has been shown to be a bad policy, “because if everybody has a gun, what you end up with is the wild west.”

Road repair

company launched

Rowley said funds for road repairs in 2020 and 2021 were spent on priorities during the pandemic “to keep you alive” and there was insufficient for repairs. Government is now in a position to do better, he added, “And we are and will do better … our roads will not remain substandard forever.”

Cabinet had approved the formation of a road repair company in the Local Government Ministry and this is being operationalised, board members appointed and money will be made available from Finance to mobilise resources, he said.

Rowley said the Agri-Investment Forum will be an annual event and the next will be for a longer period and in San Fernando.

Rowley also warned those marching on public servants’ issues the biggest risk they face is if Government can’t pay its bills and has to resort to lenders. He said the IMF – whose first conditionality is to cut public services – would love to get its hands on T&T.

The PM said he’s leaving T&T on the afternoon of September 2 after Finance Minister Colm Imbert presents the Spotlight on the Economy.

The Spotlight event is a curtain raiser to the Budget 2023, which is being presented later in September.

Rowley said he’ll go to Switzerland to talk to and encourage and conclude business with Proman, T&T’s biggest methanol producer. He’ll also meet Shell and BP on negotiations which are coming to an end. He returns on September 10 and three days later, heads to Washington to meet US Vice President Kamala Harris. Rowley co-chairs an Energy sub-committee appointed when the Summit of the Americas was held in July.

Fuente Guardian

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