Black Immigrant Daily News
President of the TT Scrap Iron Dealers Association Allan Ferguson. FILE PHOTO –
AN INCENSED Allan Ferguson, president of the TT Scrap Iron Dealers’ Association on Monday called on all poor people, all members of civil society, all trade unions and all oppressed people to band together and take a stand against the delay in reopening the industry – but after Carnival.
“Brothers and sisters in all communities, we need to come together. Forget who is going to start it, forget what I look like and who I am. Let us start to mobilise. Because it has to happen. And if it has to start with the scrap iron industry – if God uses us to start this mobilisation then it will be impossible to stop it. So I am calling you all,” he said.
“But you see, Carnival is taking place, so we will wait until after Carnival. I don’t want to hambug you all, because you love it.
“While people suffer and can’t even feed their family…you all like to shake up and wine. We aren’t going to be bothering you with that because that would be fighting you and we aren’t fighting you…I’m just letting you all know that we need to unite,” Ferguson said.
He was speaking at a press conference at the association’s offices in Kelly Village.
He made the call as the Scrap Iron Bill remains unproclaimed by the President, the one action left to make the legislation actual law.
A fiery Ferguson branded Government as “wicked” for the slow pace it is treating with the Scrap Iron bill, and said the Almighty is not holding back on His judgement, because Government is only focused on helping the rich.
“God don’t sleep, Prime Minister. God don’t sleep, Minister of Trade. God don’t sleep, Attorney General. God don’t sleep, Minister of Energy. God doesn’t love ugly. That is why we are seeing what is happening in this country with all this crime and evil.
“Because you aren’t taking care of the people who you are supposed to take care of, which is the poor,” Ferguson said.
UNC activist Marsha Walker expressed support for Ferguson and the association. She was one of the speakers on Ferguson’s panel on Monday.
She said neither Government’s new scrap iron law, nor a shutdown of the industry will stop criminal activity in the industy. She said the industry was in the state it is in, because of a lack of management by government.
“We have shut down a $290 million industry,” Walker said.
“An industry that generated US$43 million last year at a time where foreign exchange is almost impossible to come by.”
“We are seeing crimes where military ammunition, uniforms and personnel are being used. Does that mean that we are going to shut down the military? No. The answer to all the issues that we are seeing is proper management. We are pleading with the government, re-open this industry immediately and manage it properly.”
Last August Attorney General Reginald Armour announced the ban on all operations in the scrap iron industry amid high levels of criminal activity in the industry.
The ban, expected to be six months long, was put in place to stop criminal activity until government was able to work out the legislative framework to regulate the industry.
The ban was lifted at the end of December with the exception of copper. The bill was passed in the house and Senate, but is yet to be proclaimed by the President.