JIS News

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda, has proposed that persons found in possession of, or attempting to export stolen scrap metal, be fined $2 million, up from the current $3,000.
“This Ministry will be recommending to the Cabinet that they approve and increase the fine to $2 million for anyone found in possession of stolen goods or attempting to export stolen goods,” the Minister said.
He was speaking at a press conference, held at the Ministry’s headquarters in New Kingston on July 17.
The Minister said that the increase in the fine would act as a deterrent to persons planning to break the law. “They will be out of business in a jiffy. Today it matters not, because the fine is so insignificant. So, it is that level of punitive measure that is going to be introduced into the mix that we hope will be a serious deterrent to anyone thinking of trying to break the law,” Mr. Samuda noted.
“We feel that this is important enough to attract that fine of $2 million and removal from the list (of registered traders),” he added.
Mr. Samuda informed that customs officers, as well as exporters have been trained “in the management and handling of the materials and they have been sensitized to the need for them to be constantly vigilant with respect to their purchasing habits and the persons from whom they purchase their metals.”
He emphasized that this increased inspection would not cost the tax payers. “It will not be on our budget, because it has been agreed by the exporting community that they will underwrite the cost of the inspection. They will pay for the cost of these customs officers who will be inspecting the goods, because I believe they genuinely want to see their industry well regulated,” the Minister said.
On another matter, Mr. Samuda explained that Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI), the agency of the Ministry responsible for registering scrap metal dealers, would be embarking on a continuous monitoring mechanism. “A system will be put in place to continuously engage the community of traders on a regular basis to see that they are maintaining the standards that they have to achieve in order to be registered, and that it does not once again deteriorate into a loosely run, almost informal industry. It is something that can be beneficial if it is done properly,” the Minister informed.
He said that scrap metal traders are conscientious hard-working persons who deserve the level of respect due to them, but had a stern warning for those who threaten Government employees.
“Anyone found threatening an employee of this Ministry, who is engaged in an exercise in the interest of the people of this country, will not be permitted to continue in this industry as a trader. I will see to it that anyone who threatens, no matter at what level the officer operates, anywhere a threat can be corroborated, I will immediately instruct that that person be removed from the list of legitimate traders,” Mr. Samuda emphasized.