The Trinidad and Tobago Scrap Iron Dealers’ Association (TTSIDA) has boasted that its work to improve the industry is beginning to bear fruit.
Earlier this month, the association met with a Cabinet sub-committee set up by the Prime Minister to develop a policy for the industry.
Dr Keith Rowley had expressed deep concern over the increasing number of theft of state assets, including TSTT cables, water fittings and manhole covers.
But at a virtual news conference yesterday, the association said while it is working with the Government, it has started its own work to help alleviate the situation.
TTSIDA president Allan Ferguson said he is seeing some improvement already.
“Whilst we waiting on them, we said to them that we will go out to try to inform our members what to do and what not to do and it is working good. We see that all people from all over Trinidad coming and registering with us, the people who do the collecting, they coming and working with us and registering with us, so it is going good,” he said.
Notwithstanding the positive outlook, Ferguson said there were “distractors” who are hell-bent on seeing the industry shut down.
However, he promised that this would not happen under his watch.
He did admit again, though, that there are scrap iron dealers who are purchasing the stolen State assets and this is causing the entire industry to be painted in a bad light.
He reminded that a short-term proposal to end the theft had been sent to the Cabinet sub-committee for its consideration.
Among the plans for the van collectors are that they are registered and TTSIDA-approved, identifiable by TTSIDA licence stickers and must present a completed van collector’s form for all metals when selling to dealers.
For dealers, some of what the association is proposing are that all TTSIDA scrap-iron dealers be registered, they must erect public and visible business signs bearing their dealer registration numbers and they will be required to fill out collection forms, which will include the van collectors they purchased from, and if a theft is detected, all registered TTSIDA dealers must contact the nearest police station, surrender the goods to the authority and furnish the police with all details to the van collector.
Only on Thursday, TSTT revealed that for the last six months alone, 306 people were arrested and charged for stealing its cables.