Scrap iron dealers plead again for industry to reopen

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Scrap Iron Dealers Association president Allan Ferguson, centre, speaks at a news conference at Yzees Event Hall, Caroni Savannah Road, Kelly Village, Caroni on Monday. –

SCRAP Iron Dealers Association president Allan Ferguson has said some people may turn to a life of crime in search of income as the ban on scrap-iron exports continues. He again called on the Prime Minister to reopen the industry.

He was speaking at a news conference in Kelly Village, Caroni on Monday morning.

The six-month ban was announced on August 15, although, under the Customs Act, it came into effect on August 12.

An emotional Ferguson said members of the association have been calling him saying they cannot afford to take care of their families, among other things, and are “willing to do anything” to earn a dollar.

“It (the ban) costing us plenty,” Ferguson said.

In addition to those who buy scrap iron, he said it has also affected the shipping industry.

“A lot of them would have bought a lot of trucks and trailers to be able to move our material to the port and back…they and all feeling it.”

Prior to the ban, there were several reports of people in the scrap-iron industry stealing.

For instance, a bell was stolen from the St John’s Anglican Church, Petit Bourg, San Juan in July.

Ferguson sought to apologise for those in the industry who participated in illegal activity.

“I believe in God…and who want to hide, they can hide from me, but they cannot hide from God.

“I humbly apologise to TT.”

He said it “gives him no joy” to say that he believes the shutdown of the industry is contributing to the increasing crime rate.

“We worked with them, we bring them out of crime, all they know their whole life was about crime and we talk to them, we show them a way to make an honest dollar without doing crime.”

He added that international companies which place containers in areas specifically for stolen items to be stored there must also cease.

“I don’t care who vex, I don’t care who don’t like it.”

He said he wants to have a meeting with acting Commissioner of Police Mc Donald Jacob to crack down on wrongdoers in the industry.