Scrap iron dealers want meeting with Chief Sec: 'Help Tobago collectors'

File photo: President of the TT Scrap Iron Dealers Association (TTSIDA) Allan Ferguson  - Photo by Marvin Hamilton
File photo: President of the TT Scrap Iron Dealers Association (TTSIDA) Allan Ferguson - Photo by Marvin Hamilton

The Trinidad and Tobago Scrap Iron Dealers’ Association (TTSIDA) is calling for an urgent meeting with THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine.

The request was made by president of the association Allan Ferguson as he addressed members of the media in a news conference on Wednesday in Studley Park.

Ferguson said: “I am asking Mr Farley publicly to meet with the association so that we can be able to help the Tobagonians in the industry to able to do things much better.

"Please, Mr Chief Secretary, meet with us please and let us see what we can do for the collectors in Tobago.”

He said based on his talks with his 50 members in Tobago, he needs Augustine to intervene.

“I want to suggest that we ask you all to help us out with a piece of land around the landfill so that we can be able to set up something here and make it easy for our members in Tobago.

"We would set up something here where we would be able to set something right here in Tobago, where we can collect the materials and we have the facilities right by the dump here where we can take the materials to Trinidad in barges.”

He added: “What I’m saying is if we get this help from the Chief Secretary of the Tobago leg of the whole thing and they could help us set up in Tobago, it will make it easy for a lot of people in this industry.

"They would be able to save a lot of money, it would bring in a lot of employment in Tobago for a lot of people who need employment at this time.”

He said he is yet to write to Augustine but intends to do so.

One Tobago collector, Adopson Toby, said the Tobago collectors are challenged, noting that the issue of pricing continues to be worrisome for them.

In August last year, Attorney General Reginald Armour announced the ban on all operations in the scrap metal industry amid rampant criminal activities, resulting in death in some instances. The ban was expected to be six months long. It was expected to arrest the issue until the government was able to work out the legislative framework to regulate the industry.

The ban was lifted on December 31, with all operations except the trade of copper being allowed.

Toby said: “Before the closing and opening of the scrap industry, we use to get better prices with some of the dealers in terms of when we leave Tobago with materials, it have additional cost and time lose in the travelling to Trinidad because Tobago has no scrap yard.

"The prices is down due to the dealer stating that they cannot export the material, so whatever funds they have they’re just trying to facilitate us.

"We’re still not getting no specials or better prices. I mean it’s a lot of hard work and we work real hard and it's unfair that the government still holding the dealers after seven or eight months of closure and reopening back.”

He added: “They’re suffering the Tobagonian because I mean everybody have a lot of family to feed, send to school, bills to pay, expense the same way and I mean more or less, it’s a livelihood for a lot of us.”

Another collector, Enrique Gonzales said the scrap iron laws, meant to regularise the scrap iron industry, will cripple the Tobago collectors.

“There’s too much clause in this thing that will stop us from doing anything.

"I am appealing to the government to look over this thing very serious for the people who doing the collecting of the iron and materials because is that what crippling the market.”

He said and with dealers not able to get the export license is also bothersome.

“The collector is the one that feeling the pain out here, anywhere we go we losing.

"It is because of the things that the government is doing that have us in this situation here.”


"Scrap iron dealers want meeting with Chief Sec: ‘Help Tobago collectors’"

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