Government may have to look at outlawing the scrap metal business if thieves continue to wreak havoc across Trinidad and Tobago. This warning came from Jack Warner, Minister of Works and Infrastructure, when he visited a landslip at Balmain, Couva, on Tuesday in the company of Couva South Member of Parliament, Rudranath Indarsingh.
Warner said the time had come to take a serious look at the scrap metal business following the recent brazen theft of iron beams from a 68-foot metal bridge across the Cap-de-Ville River, Cedros. He said he has received reports that the thieves set up “men at work” signs and used blowtorches to cut away the huge beams from the base of the bridge, as well as large chunks of the side railings.
Warner said his ministry was keeping an eagle’s eye on the old Silver Bridge at Caroni which has been lying on the river bank for more than two years. He said there were some problems with the logistics of moving the massive bailey bridge which was still usable.
Warner said the Ministry of Works had no plans to sell the bridge and may use it in Felicity as a crossing to access a proposed cremation site on the northern side of the Cunupia River. He said of 1,006 bridges he was aware of, 950 were in need of repairs.
He said work only started on rectifying the situation when the People’s Partnership came into Government and also noted Cabinet had approved a Bridge and Land Slip Programme that would cover the next three years. Warner said the Programme for the Upgrade of Road Efficiency (PURE) got rolling again last Thursday following
He said PURE would be involved in more than 166 projects and the landslip at Balmain was certain to be included. Warner said he was still in the process of “poaching” staff for the programme who had moved on to other jobs when PURE was frozen last year.
As to ongoing leadership talks between the PP coalition members, Warner said he had decided to stay out of the discussions.