Trinidad and Tobago has a poor record when it comes to the enforcement of laws and because of this, Independent Senator, Paul Richards, is wondering how well the new scrap metal bill would be regulated.
Contributing to the debate on the Scrap Metal Bill 2022 in the Senate on Friday, Richards said enforcement of legislation to regulate the scrap metal industry is critical to ensure T&T benefits from the industry’s positive aspects and is protected from its negative aspects.
He said too often, lawmakers in this country pass laws “hot and sweaty” to deal with a particular problem, But months or years later, there is little to no follow-up.
Richards pointed out that not all of the metal being stolen was scrap metal, nor was the theft of scrap metal unique to T&T, as he noted that the United Kingdom recorded 80,000-100,000 reports of scrap metal thefts.
He said there are reports from other countries that criminal elements do not use cash alone to barter for scrap metal and he wondered if the bill effectively closed loopholes for such possible instances, like scrap metal being bartered for guns or drugs.
Richards agreed with an earlier comment in the debate about it being unnecessary to legislate for the police to use force to enter a scrapyard where suspected criminal activity is taking place.
He said: “The police know what they have to do.”
However, he did express concern that such a provision in law could see a potential abuse by police officers against people in certain circumstances.