JIS News

Scrap metal dealers have been given one month to co-operate with the Government in uncovering the source of illegal activities, which have re-surfaced in the industry.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, made the announcement at a press conference at his New Kingston office earlier this week following a meeting with the dealers.
He said that certain conclusions were reached at the meeting, and he had “put the industry on notice” to work with the Ministry to monitor the trade, to “determine exactly who within their ranks are engaged in illegal activity (namely) purchasing stolen goods and exporting them”.
“They have given an undertaking that they will do everything to support us and work together. I have not applied the big stick of suspending trading at this time. It may have to be if (the theft) continues or if it escalates. I am hoping it won’t,” he said.
According to Mr. Samuda, despite heavy fines and several meetings with stakeholders, wholesale theft of metals has re-emerged, posing a threat to the country’s infrastructure.
“We are seeing the Ministry of Transport and Works again reporting that railway lines are being removed and sold, where factories are being affected, where they are coming in to steal primarily those products made of aluminum and copper,” he informed.
In the meantime, the Industry Minister said that mechanisms will be established to monitor the locations at which scrap metal is being packaged for export.
“We will put together a team that will do random inspection of sites that are engaged in packaging for export, and anywhere we find where people are engaged in this illegal practice, then we will impose the provisions under the law, to ensure that they are punished,” he stated.
The provisions include a fine of up to $3 million, confiscation of the products, arrest with the possibility of a jail sentence of up to two years, and removal of the license for trading in scrap metal.
Trade in scrap metal, inclusive of exportation, was suspended in June 2008 due to rampant theft of essential infrastructure for sale, which Minister Samuda said, posed a major threat to the economic development of the country and disrupted essential services.
Trading resumed on July 15, 2008, contingent on stakeholders’ compliance with conditionalities outlined by the Ministry.

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