OPPOSITION Senator Wade Mark on Friday in the Senate alleged the Scrap Metal Bill 2022 might be a plot to shut out the small man from the local scrap metal industry, alleging that a top public official has applied to set up a recycling plant and purportedly take over the scrap industry.
"This legislation will eliminate the small man who is in this industry. If there is criminal conduct and there are criminal elements, go after them.
"But if I am an honest scrap metal collector or dealer and I'm doing this for 20, 30 years, to earn a daily living for myself and my family, why must I be punished for the few and the minority that is bringing hell to the country by thieving cable, thieving copper.
"Why must the majority pay for it?"
Mark said 90 per cent of scrap metal dealers operate out of their residences, as he lamented the bill saying no dealers licence must be granted for residential properties.
"The Government must come clean on this matter.
"We have been advised that a high public official, a high government official, through family connections, has made an application for a major recycling plant whose basis for existence and operation will be scrap metal.
"We want to know if the Government is aware of this individual. I know the name of the individual. I know the parties involved in it.
"I want to challenge the Government to tell us if this bill is designed to promote the interest of a financier who will eventually take control of the scrap-metal industry."
He hit the bill. "This is a burial service. This is a funeral service that is taking place in this House, and I must be part of it?"
He pledged to suggest amendments to the bill.
Mark said it seemed as if dealer registration was a data collection exercise on people.
Mark asked if the registration form to trade in scrap metal would involve racial profiling.
"Why is the Government asking me or any citizen – to sell my battery or scrap iron – 'What is your race?'
He said the form also asked about eye colour, hair and skin colour.
"And if it's a male you know the problem. I don't want no male to come and look at my eyes.
"If you are coming as a female to look at my eyes, I have no problem. Come. Look at my eyes. I might be able to mesmerise you. I might get a better sale for my material or article.
"But you ask a man to come and look at me and my eyes?"
Mark urged an independent licensing committee under the bill rather than the Minister of Trade and Industry.
"We need checks and balances."
Opposition Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial warned the bill sought too much personal information from buyers and sellers of scrap metal.
She was concerned that under the bill if she was selling scrap iron she would have to give a dealer her personal details, saying if he was walking around with copies of her ID and passport she didn't know where that information might end up. She noted that the Data Protection Act only constrained public bodies to guard "people's personal details.
"I can't see people wanting to hand over that information to a man driving around saying, 'Buying old iron, Old battery buying.'"