Jamaica shuts down scrap metal exports

(Jamaica Gleaner) Newly appointed Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Dr Christopher Tufton has responded to deafening calls from various sectors for a shutdown of the scrap-metal industry by instituting a temporary ban.

In a release to the media yesterday, Tufton said he gave instructions for the trade to be halted temporarily.

“All exporters with inventories on hand must collect their containers from the ports by the latest Friday, July 22, 2011. These must be packed and returned to the port by July 29. Thereafter, no new scrap metal will be accepted at the port,” the release stated.

Tufton said proposals would be put to Cabinet to take a decision on the way forward for the sector.

President of the Scrap Metal Federation of Jamaica, Jonathan Aarons, could not be reached for comment last evening as his phone rang without an answer.

Yesterday, calls for the shutting down of the scrap-metal industry got louder with Corrpak (Jamaica) Limited, the country’s largest manufacturer of cardboard boxes, decrying the unscrupulous actions of persons who threatened the very existence of its operations.

The company, which is located onMarcus Garvey Drive, has been unable to run its second shift for the last two weeks as scrap-metal thieves have stolen telephone cables, crippling the operations of the company.

The jobs of nearly 40 workers at the company are now threatened.

Executive chairman of Corrpak, Howard Mitchell, said telephone cable on Marcus Garvey Drive in the vicinity of Greenwich Farm were stolen on four separate occasions in one week, causing severe disruptions to businesses.

“I have 38 workers who are out of a fortnight’s pay. I have not met my month’s production value,” Mitchell told The Gleaner yesterday.

“In that area, you don’t get people coming down and walking in and making an order, they phone, send a fax, or they email the order,” he pointed out.

A seemingly agitated Mitchell said he would support a shutdown of the scrap-metal industry at this time until a proper system was put in place to curb the actions of thieves.

“Business is so tight already and it impacts on the country’s revenues, it impacts on the country’s economy, all because a couple of persons have no discipline, have no morals, and don’t care who they inconvenience to make a couple of dollars.”

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