Opposition MP Roodal Moonilal, said legitimate scrap iron dealers should not be punished for the increase in copper and metal theft.
Speaking Sunday morning, during the UNC’s weekly press conference, Moonilal said he did not agree with the Government’s proposal to impose a six-month ban on the scrap iron industry to deal with this problem.
He said theft of any kind was solely the responsibility of the police.
Government is set to impose a ban on the industry soon while legislation is being drafted to regularise it.
However, Moonilal said any move to interfere with the operations of the industry will do more harm than good.
“I can tell you in the seven years they have been there, they have done absolutely nothing to regulate this industry to deal with the scrap iron dealers to address some of the areas in this industry that can lend itself to criminal activity.”
Moonilal questioned why the Government decided on such drastic measures when the 2013 scrap-metal policy, prepared by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment, stressed on the high socio-economic benefits the industry creates for the country.
“It is a critical sector that you’re closing down and you say you’re closing it down for six months when we all know there will be no regulations, no change of law, no new regime in six months.
“If they close they will close down for years. This is a recipe for the criminalisation of Trinidad and Tobago. This will lead to further criminal activity. This will lead to a loss of income.
Moonilal said Government needs to consider all the factors and rethink its decision.