Scrap Iron Dealers Association president Allan Ferguson. FILE PHOTO –
SCRAP Iron Dealers Association president Allan Ferguson has reiterated the association’s call for a meeting with Government to ensure that the domestic scrap iron industry is properly re-opened. He made the call directly to the Prime Minister at a news conference at Signature Hall, Chaguanas on Monday.
At a news conference in Scarborough on March 8, Ferguson disclosed that the association wrote to Dr Rowley to request an urgent meeting with him and some of his ministers to discuss certain aspects of the Scrap Metal Act 2022, which the association believes are not helping to fully re-open the industry.
On Monday, Ferguson said the association only received an acknowledgement from Government that the letter was received.
“I am ready to work with the Government to ensure that this industry starts back this week.”
While the Scrap Metal Act was passed in Parliament and assented to last December by then president Paula-Mae Weekes, Ferguson estimated that only ten per cent of the industry is currently operational.
He claimed that scrap yards have closed down in Point Fortin, Penal and Arima closed last year and have not reopened.
Ferguson did not believe that Rowley did not want the industry to reopen.
“He wants us to work.”
Reiterating that people were suffering because of the industry’s closure last August, Ferguson said he was insisting to the industry’s members and stakeholders that protesting was not the way to get the industry re-opened.
“We don’t want to protest.” Ferguson also said industry members and stakeholders do not want public assistance from the Government.
He said while some people have been advocating to stage protests until the industry fully re-opens, he has rejected those calls.
Ferguson was concerned that if the industry was not fully re-opened, some people could engage in unlawful behaviour.
“I can’t hold them back no more.”
Ferguson said the association is doing its best to rebrand the industry and ensure it works properly. To this end, he disclosed there is a transition team working on various initiatives, including the establishment of a credit union in which scrap metal workers could invest their money and seek financial aid.
He suggested that closed circuit television cameras be set up in scrap yards to ensure that operations there are being done in accordance with the law.
Ferguson said these cameras should be monitored by a private entity.
He did not think having police officers present at scrap yards to monitor the filling of scrap metal containers, since they were not trained to deal with these kinds of activities.
Ferguson also claimed that because the association was having this briefing, one scrap yard in Central Trinidad was inspected to ensure it could load containers.