Monthly meetings for scrap iron dealers, ministry of Trade and Industry

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Members of the Scrap Iron Dealers Association. File Photo

AFTER weeks of strained relations, the Scrap Iron Dealers Association and the Ministry of Trade and Industry will begin having monthly symposiums on the state of the industry.

The association’s president, Allan Ferguson said the monthly meetings were agreed to at a meeting with ministry officials on Thursday at the Nicholas Towers, Independence Square, Port of Spain. The first symposium takes place in two weeks.

Ferguson said the four-hour-long meeting was fruitful as the parties agreed to work together.

The association and the ministry have had a complicated relationship. During a press conference on May 11, the association complained that the new legislation and export licences application forms were too restrictive and required too much personal information. In March, line minister, Paula Gopee-Scoon, Attorney General Reginald Armour, TT Solid Waste management and officials from the Environmental Management Agency did not attend to the association’s press conference.

But on Thursday Ferguson said the parties dismissed the ups and downs they experienced in the past.

“All of these things are good for the industry and we are willing and ready to work with the ministry to get all of these going but this is an industry that employs thousands of people and brings in a lot of foreign exchange and we don’t need to be fighting.”

Ferguson said they also agreed that any problems which may arise will be discussed and worked out together.

“From here on now, the ministry and the association will sit down and try to work together to make this industry a much better industry.”

When asked about the association’s proposal to have all its drivers compensated, Ferguson said all the matters could not be discussed in one day.

He said, “We didn’t focus on all of these things. We were more concentrating on the issues that we have at the moment.”

Asked if he believed the upcoming monthly meetings will help the industry succeed, he said, “We hope and based on all the discussions we had with them, everything sounded good, everything sounded like they were willing to work with us.”

He said the permanent secretary, Susan Singh-Seerattan, seemed willing to work with the association.

“One of the things I mentioned to them was I hope that I don’t have to go to the media to vent my feelings about what they are doing to the industry. So I hope that now there is a turnover and we can work together.”

Ferguson said there needs to be some reviews of the Scrap Metal Bill imposed on the industry last year as the association does not want to work against the rules. He said those revisions could ensure the industry moves faster and smoother.

“There are certain sections in the regulation that we had an issue with and we have discussed it with them and we have agreed to work with them for members and other people.”