What appears to have been a brief internal power struggle for control of the Guyana Scrap Metal Dealers Association (GSMDA) has ended with the removal of Malik Cave as the Association’s Technical Director and the re-election of scrap dealer Percy Cole as Chairman.
A spokesman for the GSMDA told Stabroek Business late last week that at a meeting held at the Tower Hotel on Friday a decision had been taken to dispense with Cave’s services. The source also said that at that meeting Cole was returned unopposed as Chairman.
Details are sketchy regarding the reasons for what appears to have been a sudden and, as it happens, terminal falling out between Cole and Cave and the GSMDA source would only say that Cave had been removed for ‘improprieties.”
The move to oust Cave from the Association, however, may prove to be pyrrhic victory for the Cole faction of the Association since dealers on both sides, including Cole himself have conceded that Cave had made considerable progress in talks with government over the future of the industry. Some Cole supporters have said that the removal of Cave will slow the progress of talks with government.
When Stabroek Business spoke with Cave last Wednesday he confirmed that he was “no longer pursuing the interests of the Association,” a circumstance which he agreed could slow down or even derail entirely its discussions with government. Cave told Stabroek Business that twenty four containers of scrap, the release of which he had negotiated with government as a representative of the GSMDA were still lying on wharves with shippers refusing to handle them until outstanding demurrage fees are paid. He disclosed that some containers of scrap that had already been shipped to India without the payment of demurrage fees were yet to be delivered to the buyers.
Meanwhile, Stabroek Business has received conflicting accounts of government’s response to the problems that have arisen within the GSMDA. A dealer who supported Cave’s removal told Stabroek Business earlier this week that a team of GSMDA officials had met Prime Minister Samuel Hinds to discuss the future of the industry. However, Cave told this newspaper that it was his understanding that the meeting had not taken place and that the officials had in fact met an adviser to the Prime Minister on the scrap industry. Cave said that he was now unsure how government would treat with the proposals that he had made to President Jagdeo for the normalization of the industry.
Cole has told Stabroek Business that he had become concerned over what he believed was Cave’s ‘direct involvement” in the scrap metal trade. He said that Cave and an unnamed scrap dealer had transacted business with a named official of GNIC. Cave has said that all of his actions since assuming the position of Technical Director have been “entirely legitimate and above board.”
Meanwhile, Stabroek Business was shown a document signed by nine dealers in ferrous metals seeking Cave’s services in the current negotiations with the government over the future of the industry. Cave said that he was in process of pondering the request. He refused to rule out any future relationship with the GSMDA but said that if such a relationship becomes possible it would have to be under “a new contract.”
Cave said that he remained concerned about the future of the industry and urged government to take action to authorize the shipping of scrap currently being held by dealers in stockpile.