The Scrap Iron Dealers’ Association says money laundering is also plaguing the local industry.
This was the claim made by association president Allan Ferguson yesterday, while responding to claims that a large number of I-Beams and steel poles had been stolen from a Ministry of Works and Transport’s site in Caroni. The material was estimated at $1 million.
A central scrap iron yard was pinpointed in the incident and officers of the Caroni Police Station and the Chaguanas CID were able to solve the case. The yard is alleged to be managed by foreign nationals.
“Since 2013, we have been making the call for the Government to look at the foreign scrap iron dealers in Trinidad and Tobago and I have said this just recently in a news conference but I want to make it very clear Trinidad and Tobago, not all are this way because some are my members and it is just a few among them that are doing this thing and that is why we are asking the Government how did they get their licensing and how they are running scrap yards and these are the things we have to get as locals and I am shocked how some of them are getting it,” Ferguson said.
He said only last week he visited the same scrap yard as this association was carrying out its mandate to regulate the industry.
He said, “If I see anything wrong, I will report it and I will remain strong regardless of the attempts to destroy me.
“We visited the yard last week because it was a new yard that was opened and we told them what we would like them to do regarding the theft of materials across the country and they only joined our association last week. We informed them about illegal items and look what is happening this week.”
Ferguson claimed people are laundering money in “our industry and we are also proposing a legal framework to protect the industry from these types of activities.”
“It is those bent on breaking the law who are after me and I want the Ministry of Trade and Industry, who has the information, to look into who is exporting copper out of the country and it is easy to point out who is committing these crimes,” Ferguson said.
He said people cutting the wires and stealing infrastructure across the country also know who buys these products. The association will roll out stickers for its members so the public will know legitimate members soon.