At the official launch of a new association to advocate for the scrap metal trade and other exporters on Tuesday, executives called out the Government over its inflexible position on the continued ban on scrap metal trade.
Dozens of former traders, as well as Opposition member of Parliament Juan Edghill were present at the association’s launch at Regency Suites hotel.
Absent were any senior government functionaries, despite the association reportedly inviting them to the event.
President of the Association, Malek Cave, was heavily critical of the lack of interest paid by the Government in his member’s plight.
Cave readily admitted to having voted for the coalition; but he noted that the former Administration was more willing to work with traders than the current Administration is.
According to Cave, he has been trying since they were elected to office to gain an audience with Ministers in the coalition government, but to no avail.
Cave made a number of recommendations for how the scrap metal trade could be safely opened; including annual licencing with a register of dealers.
He also urged that the policing of the sector be strengthened; as well as toughened penalties for infractions.
Bishop Edghill, who appeared on behalf of Opposition leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo declared his party’s support for a regularised industry.
He also revealed his party’s willingness to either bring a motion to Parliament or pose questions to the relevant Minister’s, regarding their trade.
Meanwhile, the workers themselves also plead for consideration to be given to their trade as the ban itself has rendered them financially insolvent.
While there were always issues surrounding the he management of the trade, the trade itself was suspended in June 15, 2015 due to a forensic audit of the Scrap Metal Unit (SMU).
However, following the audit government removed the responsibility of the trade from the Central Housing and Planning Authority to the Ministry of Business.
Since the suspension of the trade in 2015, the incumbent Administration had given a limited period of 3 months for the trade to be re-opened following a large build up of scrap metals in Region four.