Opposition Spokesperson for Industry, Commerce and Energy, Mr. Gregory Mair said that Industry Minister Anthony Hylton by reopening the scrap metal trade has put the interest of his constituents, where many of the dealers in this industry reside, above the interest of Jamaica on a whole.
Mr. Mair asked that the Minister advise the nation on:
(1) the cost to taxpayers for the monitoring of the trade as against the projected income into the government’s coffers;
(2) what guarantee there is that the foreign exchange earned will return to Jamaica , and also;
(3) whether any broad feasibility study of the trade was done by the government to support its policy actions.
Mr. Mair pointed out that the Minister’s actions will very likely amount to the institutionalization of the theft of property across the island including manhole covers, railings on roadways and bridges, water pumps, gates, cables, utility company equipment, traffic signs, roofs and so on as the supply cannot meet the demand for non-industrial scrap metal on a sustainable basis.
Mr. Mair maintained that while there may be benefits to reopening the trade, it must be done with sensible and pragmatic policies guided by a feasibility study.
At the very least Mr. Mair noted, the best way forward for the industry, is to have legal owners of NON-INDUSTRIAL scrap metal periodically negotiate in the marketplace DIRECTLY with legitimate dealers.