Scrap iron dealers object to new CEC rule

Scrap iron deal­ers are claim­ing that a new re­quire­ment to sub­mit a Cer­tifi­cate of En­vi­ron­men­tal Clear­ance in or­der to get an op­er­at­ing li­cence can ef­fec­tive­ly shut down the mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar in­dus­try.

“We are los­ing mil­lions by the day,” said pres­i­dent of the Scrap Iron Deal­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Trinidad and To­ba­go Al­lan Fer­gu­son dur­ing a press con­fer­ence at the Sig­na­ture Hall, Ch­agua­nas on Mon­day.

Fer­gu­son claimed that deal­ers are be­ing asked to get a CEC when they ap­ply for an op­er­at­ing li­cence on­ly at the Ch­agua­nas Mag­is­trates Court. With­out the op­er­at­ing li­cence deal­ers are un­able to run their busi­ness­es or ex­port scrap ma­te­r­i­al, Fer­gu­son said.

Scrap deal­ers’ li­cens­es are valid for three years.

He and oth­er ex­ec­u­tives of the as­so­ci­a­tion is now seek­ing a meet­ing with Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley and At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Faris Al-Rawi to re­solve the is­sue.

“I want to tell those in au­thor­i­ty once the scrap iron in­dus­try is shut down this will af­fect the crime sit­u­a­tion in a neg­a­tive way,” Fer­gu­son said.

“This in­dus­try pro­vides for many in the low­er class­es of Trinidad and To­ba­go and it has not been func­tion­ing since the start of the year,” he added.

He says the new re­quire­ment has af­fect­ed most of the scrap yards in the Cen­tral Trinidad.

“I want to know how oth­er scrap deal­ers are not be­ing asked to sub­mit Cer­tifi­cates of En­vi­ron­men­tal Clear­ance from the En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Au­thor­i­ty (EMA) at oth­er courts?” Fer­gu­son asked.

“It seems there is an ul­te­ri­or mo­tive to shut down the in­dus­try for some­one else to ben­e­fit,” he claimed.

As­so­ci­a­tion vice-pres­i­dent Er­ros See­jat­tan con­tends if the li­cens­ing com­mit­tee want­ed this new re­quire­ment they should al­low deal­ers to get their op­er­at­ing li­cences and al­low them to ap­ply for their Cer­tifi­cate of En­vi­ron­men­tal Clear­ance (CEC) af­ter.

“I want to know, how I got my li­cence last De­cem­ber at the Siparia Mag­is­trate Court and oth­er scrap iron deal­ers in cen­tral are be­ing asked this re­quire­ment,” See­jat­tan asked.

He said the EMA can take up to 18 months be­fore grant­i­ng a CEC and this de­lay can shut down many busi­ness­es.

Fer­gu­son said his as­so­ci­a­tion had met with the En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Au­thor­i­ty dur­ing a con­sul­ta­tion for the new Scrap Met­al Pol­i­cy for Trinidad and To­ba­go and a CEC was not dis­cussed as a new re­quire­ment.

He says the new pol­i­cy on­ly di­rect­ed the En­vi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment Au­thor­i­ty to su­per­vise but not en­force a CEC.

The as­so­ci­a­tion plans to re­turn to the Ch­agua­nas Mag­is­trates Court on Tues­day seek­ing an au­di­ence with the pre­sid­ing mag­is­trate rather than the li­cens­ing com­mit­tee.

He said the as­so­ci­a­tion in­tends to take the nec­es­sary le­gal routes to rec­ti­fy the sit­u­a­tion.

- by Otto Carrington. Photo by Abraham Diaz.

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