Scrap iron dealers consider legal options against Government
SCRAP Iron Dealers Association president Allan Ferguson said the association was prepared to take legal action against the Government if it implemented a proposed six-month ban to close to the scrap iron industry.
He made this statement at the association's 13th annual general meeting in Charlieville on Saturday.
Reiterating his appeal to the Prime Minister not to implement the ban and for Government to work with the association to regulate the industry, Ferguson warned, "If they (Government do close down this industry. We will take them straight to the Privy Council."
He claimed, "Any time they touch this industry, the Government will have to pay millions of dollars to us."
Ferguson reiterated his claims that that a closure of the scrap iron industry will affect a lot of poor people and could cause a surge in crime in TT.
He also alleged that certain unnamed people in public life were advocating for the scrap iron industry to be closed.
Ferguson lamented that neither the PNM nor the former UNC-led People's Partnership coalition government has done anything to regulate the scrap iron industry.
"The Government is to blame."
Describing himself as a God-fearing man and a champion of the poor, Ferguson wondered why anyone would want to close the scrap iron industry.
He said there was a misconception that only people of African descent were involved in the scrap iron business. "It's Indian and African (people)."
Ferguson also claimed some people in the scrap iron industry were doing things that were encouraging the Government to want to close it down.
"This is not a time to be fighting one another. Come together to save this industry."
Ferguson claimed that after he held a news conference in Port of Spain on August 8 about Government's proposed ban, the theft of copper in TT stopped.
He said this was proof that the association could regulate the industry. Ferguson asked association members to work together over the next two weeks to show the Government it was possible to do this and no ban was necessary.
At a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's on July 7, Dr Rowley said he would seek advice from Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC, about banning the marketing of used metals.
On July 20, the association met with a Cabinet sub-committee to examine issues related to the theft of scrap iron. Energy Minister Stuart Young chaired that committee. The other members were Armour, Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon and National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds.
Young said the sub-committee has written to other stakeholders and asked them to submit recommendations on how to deal with the theft of scrap iron by July 27.
"Thereafter, we will consider the various matters and make our recommendations to the Cabinet via the National Security Council (NSC)."
Both are chaired by Rowley.
At a news conference at his ministry on Abercromby Street, Port of Spain, on August 5, Hinds announced that Government was considering the six-month ban.
Senior government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity on August 8, said the matter is before Cabinet.
"Scrap iron dealers consider legal options against Government"