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Scrap dealers plead for re-opening of exports as industry loses millions after Beetham raid

Legitimate scrap-iron dealers stand to lose $44 million a month. This was the claim made by secretary of the T&T Scrap Dealers Association (TTSDA) Kenny Plaza who spoke yesterday after a meeting with association members in Chaguanas. Plaza said Customs and Excise Department was no longer processing documents for the export of scrap metal out of Trinidad. Plaza said the move came shortly after police and soldiers raided illegal scrap yards in Beetham Gardens last week. Plaza said the industry was at a standstill and over 35,000 people involved in the scrap metal business were not earning an income. “This is a case of Peter paying for Paul,” he said.

Plaza said T&T earned almost over half of a billion dollars in export of scrap which accounted for 37 per cent of exports out of this country. He said most of the people employed in the scrap industry were former construction workers who sought alternative employment when the construction industry hit a slump. Plaza said most of the scrap metal were exported to south east Asia. He said dealers preferred to export rather than sell to Mittal Steel, a local steel producer. Plaza said the association was pleading with the relevant authorities to reopen the avenues for export of containers with scrap.

Plaza said becoming a scrap dealer involved a legal procedure through the courts. He said police had searched the premises of five legitimate dealers since the state of emergency and no contraband was discovered. Plaza said the removal of scrap over the years had saved the country monies which would otherwise have gone to environmental clean up costs. Plaza said used lead batteries which could also pose an environmental hazard were exported along with scrap cars, scrap aluminium and discarded household appliances.

Source Guardian

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