Scrap iron dealers want meeting with PM

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Scrap Iron Dealers Association president Allan Ferguson –

THE Scrap Iron Dealers Association is calling for a meeting with the Prime Minister to thrash out certain aspects of the Scrap Iron Act, which it believes stifles the growth of the industry.

At a news conference on Wednesday at Gardenside carpark, Scarborough, the association’s president Allan Ferguson told reporters he has asked his secretary to write a letter to Dr Rowley calling for an urgent meeting with him and the ministers that drafted the legislation.

The letter, he said, was sent on Wednesday morning.

“I understand that you promised us that we would have more discussion on the bill. So we are now asking you to meet with us that we could be able to help Tobago and Trinidad, so that we could be able to help our members in all areas because it affecting them,” he said.

“Some people turning away from the industry because of what taking place, and some people selling out because they don’t think they would be able to follow all the rules that it will have.”

Ferguson said people involved in the industry have no problem following the law.

“But is just that is just too much and they will not be able to follow all these ‘blockages’ in trying to do a business.”

He continued, “When you trying to do a business you don’t need blockages, you don’t need things to humbug you from doing business. You need to get assistance from the government to be able to do good business.

“But what we are saying is that good law is good law and bad law is bad law. And that is why we are asking for a meeting with the Prime Minister so we can be able to thrash out all these little problems we have in the industry now.”

Saying some scrap iron dealers are willing to resume operations, Ferguson added, “But we cannot, because we fraid…Mr Prime Minister, I am asking you to hear us and give us a meeting with your sub-committee.”

Ferguson claimed the government did not have Tobago in mind when it drafted the legislation.

“If you understand collecting material, you will understand that Tobago different from Trinidad.”

He said the island does not have a scrap yard.

“All Tobago have is collectors. And when you tell a collector (as outlined by the legislation) he cannot put down no material in your yard, by your house, these collectors need to put the material in a way that they could bring it to Trinidad.

“If you collect 300 lbs of material you cannot bring it to Trinidad, so you need to collect a good bit of material to be able to bring it to Trinidad…So we find ourselves in a problem with a lot of the issues in reference to what they (scrap collectors) have to follow and they wouldn’t be able to follow all these rules and regulations.”

Ferguson said the association also wants to do more for Tobago by way of recycling.

During the news conference, former government minister Sadiq Baksh was introduced as the head of the association’s transition team to regulate the sector.

Baksh said, “Our team is to ensure that we put all of the systems to have a seamless transfer from an unregulated sector to a regulated sector in full compliance and to ensure that all their questions are answered.”

He said many scrap iron dealers and collectors are not satisfied with aspects of the legislation “because they consider it to be extremely onerous – especially onerous for the most vulnerable in the society, many of whom did not access primary or secondary education.”

At the news conference, two Tobagonians were also appointed to the association: Raymond Rolle and Enrique Escobar Gonzales.