ALLAN Ferguson, president of the Scrap Iron Dealers Association, has said his members feel disrespected by the Government’s unwillingness to work with them as the Scrap Iron Act 2020 takes effect.
Ferguson spoke to Newsday on Wednesday night after a stakeholders' meeting earlier that day at its By-pass Road, Kelly Village, Caroni headquarters.
The association invited Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon, Attorney General Reginald Armour, TT Solid Waste management and officials from the Environmental Management Agency. None showed up.
The stakeholders' meeting turned into a gathering to vote on the association's next move.
Ferguson said his members will announce what action they will take at a press conference.
He explained the purpose of the meeting was to help those in the industry understand the new law with guidance from the invited guests.
“Many dealers won’t come forward because they don’t understand the contents of the act and they believe it will destroy them.”
Speaking to the media after a pattern-making training at Jimmy Aboud Building, Henry Street, Port of Spain, Gopee-Scoon said she saw no reason to attend.
“The industry has started, effective the actual date of the partial proclamation of this Scrap Iron Act 2022. So it's in full force and there are several persons, 21 of them – I know that Mr Ferguson had given the impression that there have been 150 dealers out there. That's not so.
"So far there are only 21 dealers who have been registered and with us, and then of course, about six or seven of them have put in their request for the export licence.
"So the system has to get going. We are now into a regulated system. The law has been passed in Parliament, partially proclaimed, and we are ready and doing what is necessary. The trade licensing unit is up and running.
"The police, who are going to be part of the authorised officers, as we speak, they're being trained in terms of metal identification.
"There will be no issue here. We're doing all we have to do to ensure that the industry is properly regulated. And there can be no issue with that.”
But Ferguson said, “There will be consequences. There’s going to have a lot of problems because some people believe this bill will destroy them. That’s why they only got 21 people to register.
“The ministry was well aware of our direction of the meeting. What she did there is a cop-out.
“Some of the contents of the act, we don’t agree with it, and it will destroy the industry. That’s why we wanted clarification.”