The Scrap Iron Dealers Association (SIDA) is aiming for a significant turnout for the Association’s planned motorcade from South to North on Wednesday to protest Government’s six-month ban on scrap metal exports.
Already the United National Congress said it would be part of the motorcade. This was confirmed by the UNC’s David Nakhid who said, “We’re in every legitimate protest against this uncaring Rowley-led Government….including this one.”
The trade union movement is also expected to support.
The Government stated the shutdown was necessary following continuous vandalism of state assets damaging water and cable lines, affecting citizens and causing over $22 million in repairs. National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said malicious attacks are part of a larger plot which may need the Anti-Terrorism act to prosecute and the ban was needed to end criminal enterprise where millions in stolen assets are being sold for scrap. Law is being drafted to regulate the sector.
Yesterday Scrap Iron Dealers Association president Allan Ferguson said the association applied for police permission for the motorcade last week.
“We’re hoping to receive approval between now and Tuesday; particularly since the effort brings unity to the poor and needy, because for too long—governments come, governments go—they’ve been forgotten,” Ferguson added.
The motorcade is scheduled to start at 9 am from the Brian Lara Stadium in Marabella, heading north on the Solomon Hochoy Highway, then it is planned to proceed to the Eastern Main Road, into Port-of-Spain, along Wrightson Road into Colville Street and to the Queen’s Park Savannah.
Ferguson assured it won’t hamper highway traffic into the capital city as it would be “after” the usual high traffic period.
Ferguson said there are 10,000 to 20,000 people in the sector, those working at the four landfills —Beetham, Claxton Bay, Point Fortin, Arima—plus others from Toco, Diego Martin, Petit Valley, Port-of-Spain, Morvant, Penal, Debe.
“People will participate as this closure threatens the ability to feed their families.”
Maxi-taxis are also being organised, said Ferguson as people living along the route are expected to join as the motorcade passes.
Ferguson’s also expecting support from the trade union movement.
He also said the legal action mounted by the association is taking shape.
“Lawyers are on it already. We’d like the sector reopened this week.”
Meanwhile, the UNC’s David Nakhis described the ban as foolish saying it would put the poor/working class people in that industry on the breadline.
“If there’s corruption in the scrap iron industry, let them (Government) manage it! Why are you there as a Government? You throw your hands up and say you banning everything. We have problems in health, sports—why you don’t shut that down too!”
“You’ve admitted your inability to find some kind of alternative employment for people if you’re going to shut down. So you’re throwing working-class families to the wolves, and also throwing the population to the wolves, as some of those people said they’re gonna turn to crime to feed their families,” Nakhid added.
Nakhid claimed many viable businesses are reportedly involved in that industry make the most profit and won’t suffer, “So Government picked the low lying fruit— poor and working class.”