Sunday, November 20, 2011

The state of the scrap metal industry in The Bahamas


Tribune Business Reporter

THE SCRAP metal industry has been brought to a standstill once again, it was revealed yesterday, one leading operator telling Tribune Business that the Customs Department had its 'hands tied' because it had not received the new regulations that govern the sector.

Everette Rolle, proprietor of Caribbean Recycling and Trading Solutions, told Tribune Business: "We are somewhat at a standstill again. The extension to the ban expired, but the regulations that govern the new Act are not in place.

"Customs is at a standstill; they cannot process anything for us. They haven't been given the regulations in as much as they are responsible for the administrative side. It's crazy.

"The Government has not come to us and said anything because Customs is in a quandary, and in the absence of any clear-cut procedures they say they are going to wait on the Government. We would load the containers but Customs is not going to process the papers for the export. You can't blame them; they say they want to help us but their hands are tied."

The Cabinet Office issued a statement on November 1, stating that the 90-day temporary ban on the export of scrap metal, which was implemented on 27 July, would be extended by two weeks to November 11.

It was expected that by that time, the Pawnbrokers and Second-hand Dealers Act 2011, which aims to regulate the export of scrap metal, would have taken effect. Under the provisions of the Act, business owners or dealers engaged in the export of scrap metal will have to verify the identity of customers and maintain records of all transactions.

Scrap metal export businesses are also subject to monitoring by a police-designated administrator. The Government placed the temporary ban on the scrap metal trade, while imposing a permanent ban on all copper exports in an effort to curb the theft and destruction of property said to be linked with the industry.

Mr Rolle said: "The Government needs to come clean and continue to accommodate us until the regulations are in place. There's something fishy about the whole thing.

"I made some calls, and they said they were going to do something during the course of this week, but we haven't heard anything. It's just uncertainty right now."

He added: "We, in addition to providing employment, are providing service. The Department of Environmental Health can tell you that. It's too close to Christmas for this to be happening. This is a price sensitive business. You purchase stuff hoping to flip it immediately to capitalise on the price."

Attempts to reach Earl Deveaux, minister for the environmentm for comment on the matter proved unsuccessful up to press time. Calls placed by Tribune Business to Customs Comptroller Glen Gomez also proved unsuccessful.

November 18, 2011