What started off as a tyre shop along the Beetham Highway-opposite National Petroleum-evolved into a lucrative scrap metal trade. Over the years, several more yards within the Beetham Estate got into the business of collecting, buying and selling scrap metals. Almost 24/7, pick-ups, trucks, backhoes, containers would be parked at these yards-which were spilling out onto the road reserve. The situation reached a point where members of the T&T Defence Force and the T&T Police Service combined their resources to scrape up and remove these illegal operations during the 2011 state of emergency. The Beetham Estate scrap metal dealers are at it again. They are slowly edging back out on the road reserve. Trucks, pick-ups and containers are regularly seen in the area, either dropping off or picking up.
T&T’s scrap metal trade grew from the days when people stole manhole covers to make tawas to cook buss-up-shut for big functions: weddings, parties, etc, to stealing parts of a bridge. In this case, the brazen thieves took away pieces of a bridge along the Southern Main Road, Pt Fortin. T&T is not isolated regarding the extent to which scrap iron dealers would go to to get their hands on stuff. In West Virginia’s Boone County, a scrap metal task force busted a group of scrap metal thieves who stole from a church. Several air-conditioning units on the property were ripped up for scrap metal. A Boone County deputy patrolling the area caught two suspects in the act. Less than 24 hours before that happened, Boone County deputies arrested two more suspected metal thieves who were caught stealing metal roofing from a trailer park. Deputies caught them trying to sell the metal the very next day. In Allegany, New York, county sheriff’s deputies are investigating the theft of scrap metals from the Allegany firemen’s grounds. President of the Allegany Engine Company, James P Wilson, reported to police that two light poles and several sections of chain link fence were stolen. The items had been stored outside. The theft was discovered in March.
Jamaica could lift scrap metal ban
Jamaica could lift the ban on the trade of scrap metal enacted by the previous government in July 2011. Industry Minister Anthony Hylton, who announced the possibility in February, said that there was no timetable at present, but that the ministry had already engaged in dialogue with stakeholders to ensure “agreement about the way forward.” “We will, therefore, seek appropriate regulation, if that is at all possible at this time,” he said. “This is with a view to stimulate the allied activities and jobs in welding, bodywork and other mechanical operations to contribute to the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme on a sustained basis.” In an interview in December, Hylton said he had concerns about the ban and the process by which it was enacted. “I believe that the scrap metal trade, properly regulated, is a source of living for a number of persons, and it is part of the international trade that is global, and the way to do it is to regulate it,” he said at the time. In today’s world, regulation is the better strategy, he said. “As a matter of philosophy, to prohibit certain business activities in a globalised world is not the smartest way to approach it.”