Emphasising that change is necessary for the TT Scrap Iron Dealers Association (TTSIDA) to grow and reach its full potential, its president said he supported government's new scrap metal policy 99 per cent. The policy was formed out of a collaboration between the Ministry of Trade and Industry and scrap metal dealers.
Alan Ferguson said he disagreed one per cent, considering that there are still outstanding issues that must be addressed, like the packing of containers.
“We (TTSIDA) have no problem with change. But we need to allow it (policy) to go to the Parliament. The only way we can improve ourselves is by working with the government to do what we have to do,” Ferguson said at a virtual meeting on Sunday afternoon.
“We, as dealers, cause most of our problems. We need to change how we do business, how we set up our yards. Change can cause a lot of hurt and people to fall out with one another. Some people need the association only when they are in trouble.”
In 2021, the policy is expected to be brought to Parliament, ensuring the dealers get their licenses in an organised and timely manner.
On Sunday, Ferguson called on the public to not support a “few people with bad scrap yards,” some of whom try to use the association for personal gains.
He vowed that TTSIDA would not allow government to bring in legislation “to mash up” the scrap iron industry under his watch as president.
Ferguson said, “A lot of people want to come into this industry and overtake it. We will not allow that. We will not give up as an organisation.”
He recalled that the industry’s struggles began in 2011 when TT had the state of emergency and closed down the industry which was eventually reopened.
Ferguson complained that most members could not get loans from the bank to help their businesses grow.
“We as an industry are not recognised in such a way we can go to the bank for funding.”
TTSIDA’s vice president Erros Seejattan shared similar views.
“There is a lot of misunderstanding about the new policy. The license we normally get will no longer come from the court, but from the Trade Ministry,” Seejattan said.
Like the president, Seejattan called on members and the public to obey the laws and do what is necessary to move the industry forward to benefit all.
He said, “Do not employ or buy from people under 18 years. All collectors, dealers, and exporters must provide deals of transactions for records.”