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Scrap iron dealers call on Govt to stop copper export

President of the Scrap Dealers Association of Trinidad and Tobago.

The Trinidad and Tobago Scrap Iron Dealers’ Association (TTSIDA) has made a call for copper exports to be halted until the theft of cables and fittings occuring across the country can be stopped.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, association president Allan Ferguson said this is the only sure way to stop the thieves who have been running rampant nationwide, destroying State and private infrastructure for their gain.

“Today, I am making this plea to the Ministry of Trade and the Commissioner of Police, I am saying today to hold up the export of copper until we get it right,” Ferguson said.

He said there were only ten dealers authorised to export copper and he believes once the exports are stopped, police will be able to identify those dealers who purchase stolen copper.

Since 2018, when the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) stopped using its copper lines across the country, copper thieves began cutting lines to sell the copper for export.

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On April 9, a man was found hanging from overheard lines in Barrackpore. He was electrocuted while trying to steal copper wires.

On April 30, 23-year-old Dillon Shaughn was shot dead by a Carapichaima resident after he and two others were suspected of stealing copper lines in the area.

On February 3, 2021, 14-year-old Michael Sooknanan was electrocuted when he allegedly tried to steal copper lines from the Petrotrin refinery compound in Pointe-a-Pierre.

Last week, photos and videos also emerged with Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) pipelines spewing water, after thieves had reportedly made off with the copper fittings on the line.

“This is unacceptable to see people cutting pipe and water is wasting, I think this tripped it off, whilst people can’t get water, people cutting pipe to waste water, whilst people can’t get electricity people cutting all kind of thing, how much people must die again before we stop this,” Ferguson said yesterday.

Guardian Media contacted Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon for comment on the issue.

Gopee-Scoon said she would not consider stopping the exports, as a review of the industry was currently underway. She could not say when the review began or when it will be completed.

Source Guardian

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