Scandalous was the word Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London used to describe the scrap iron industry in Tobago. He said unscrupulous individuals, encouraged by dealers, were destroying historical artifacts, cutting up sugar mills and windmills, distressing people, stealing grills from manholes, all in the quest for scrap iron. London, who was speaking at a THA post-Executive Council media briefing, said individuals were also being encouraged by dealers, some of whom have very unsightly sites of scrap iron, often in residential areas. He said he had initiated discussions with various agencies, including the public health authorities, and would be holding talks with the police, the Division of Infrastructure and Public Utilities and any other authority that could assist the THA in controlling “this menace”.
“I have absolutely no problem with people making money but when people do so without any regard for history, without any regard for private property, without any regard for the environment, without any regard for aesthetics-we have a responsibility to control it,” London said. He gave the assurance that the assembly would find a way to control the illegal activity. The Chief Secretary admitted that at some point people had to get rid of some kind of scrap iron since the environment demanded it, but it was something that needed to be controlled in a more effective manner. “We are willing to utilise any legitimate and legal means to control the process. It is not that we are against people getting rid of unsightly material in various parts of Tobago but it has to be done in a way that respects the environment, respects the law,” London added.