Desperate to stop the Government from shutting down their industry, the Scrap Iron Dealers’ Association (TTSIDA) is threatening to report dealers who buy stolen metals to the police.
Association president Allan Ferguson says it will not be difficult to find these errant dealers, as he announced a list of self-regulatory measures the TTSIDA will take to try to stop the thefts at a press conference on Thursday.
“Don’t believe I won’t be coming in your yards and also before we act, we will call you in, we will tell you to straighten out your situation and if you don’t want to straighten out your situation, we will inform the authorities,” Ferguson said.
“We can’t allow you to destroy this organisation, this industry, because a lot of people gain out of this industry, a lot of people make a living out of this industry and we can’t allow one or two people to destroy this industry,” he added.
His statements come after the association met with a Cabinet sub-committee on Wednesday. The sub-committee was appointed after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced the Government would move to shut down the scrap iron industry if the blatant theft of State infrastructure does not stop.
Attorney General Reginald Armour, Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, Energy Minister Stuart Young and National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds are all on the sub-committee.
Yesterday, Ferguson said the association was moving to make scrap metal collectors easily identifiable by assigning them special stickers.
He said the TTSIDA was doing all it could to get the “evil” out of the industry.
Former association secretary Kenny Plaza revealed the TTSIDA’s interim operational plan, which was presented to the Cabinet sub-committee for consideration on Wednesday.
He said the association was creating a list of special interest items – including copper, gates, manhole covers, compressors and pumps – to guide dealers in their buying.
“Any time a scrap iron dealer sees these items of interest, it will be a red flag. This will now tell the dealer were these items obtained legally. And there will be extensive proof needed to prove that it was obtained legally,” Plaza said.
That proof includes the name, contact and address of the seller, as well as the personal information of the scrap iron collector.
Plaza said dealers will also be asked to hold all items on the special interest list for seven days to ensure all checks are made before they prepare the items for export.
The association also wants all dealers and collectors to register so they can be given registration numbers that they can use while carrying out their legitimate business deals.
Collectors will also have to present proof of purchase to sell their metal.
“All scrap collectors must present upon, to scrap iron dealers or yards as it is commonly known, a complete van collectors form for all metals that fall within this specific items of interest (list). A scrap collector form will bear the personal details, a description of quantity and items involved, the location they were obtained from and if any, the cost to acquire them,” Plaza said.
He said collectors will also be asked to complete and keep forms for transporting metal.
“Failure to do so, scrap collectors could be taken into custody and all goods in transit seized for investigation,” Plaza said.
He said the sub-committee has not yet said whether the entire industry will be shut down.
And while Ferguson admitted these measures were not law, he said the association was seeking to make the industry compliant before the Government has to step in.
“If you want to save the industry, I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to do it,” Ferguson said.
He is also lobbying the State to increase the life of scrap metal dealers’ licenses from one year to five years.
Ferguson said there will be a special meeting of all dealers and collectors tomorrow (Saturday) and for one month, all collectors and dealers can contact the TTSIDA to register and become compliant.