MINISTRY OF ENERGY AND ENERGY INDUSTRIES
The Scrap Iron Dealers’ Association (TTSIDA) has presented the Government with a list of proposals to stop the scourge of scrap iron thefts across the country.
The association met with Attorney General Reginald Armour, Energy Minister Stuart Young, National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds and Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon yesterday to discuss the issues affecting the industry at the International Waterfront Centre in Port-of-Spain.
The Government’s team forms a Cabinet sub-committee set up after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced he was considering shutting down the industry to stop the pillaging of State infrastructure by scrap iron thieves.
While no major details of the meeting were revealed, TTSIDA president Allan Ferguson said the association will hold a press conference today (Thursday) to discuss the meeting.
However, a Government official with knowledge of the meeting told Guardian Media no decision has been taken yet about whether the whole industry or parts of it will be shut down.
In a press release yesterday, the Ministry of Energy said the sub-committee had asked the association for its comments and strategies to fight the widespread problem of metal thefts. The release said Ferguson supplied the committee with several temporary measures to treat with the issue.
“The Government Committee received the suggestions and indicated that the government will have to take urgent action to address the criminality and criminal elements plaguing the sector as the increased levels of wanton theft are presenting serious national security risks,” the release said.
Saying the Government was willing to continue working with the TTSIDA, the release said it was emphasised that urgent action was required.
“The Government will take the appropriate urgent action to arrest the problems associated with the widespread theft of metal items taking place throughout Trinidad and Tobago,” the release stated.
Several months ago, the TTSIDA called for a ban on copper exports, saying that would stop the thefts.
At that time, Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said a ban on exports was not being considered.
The association has maintained only a handful of dealers are purchasing stolen materials, mostly copper, from thieves for export.