Association has long protested unauthorised scrap metal removal from sugar estates

Dear Editor,

The Guyana Metal Dealers and General Exporters Association (GMDGEA) has taken note of the article appearing in yesterday’s Stabroek News titled, `Scrap Metal Unit still mum on reported removal of billions in scrap from GuySuCo estates.’

We wish to bring to the attention of the media, that for over the past year, our body has protested the manner in which these state assets are being removed from the several estates and we even notified the Scrap Metal Unit (SMU) of our concerns.

It must also be noted that in April 2018, this body wrote to His Excellency President Granger to protest the manner in which the Special Purpose Unit (SPU) of the National Industrial & Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) has approached the disposal of the said metal. Intervention by the President resulted in the SPU advertising the sale of metals from the estates, Dealers were then invited to visit the several estates and tender for the identified metals which amounted to several thousand tons of serviceable equipment and old metal. Despite repeated inquiries made at the SPU/NICIL by me in my capacity as president of the association, to date we remain uninformed of any proposed course of action intended for its disposal.

As a stakeholder in the industry we made several recommendations to the Government of Guyana in pursuit of a tabling of a bill designed to recall Chapter 91:08, the old Metal Dealers Act. In doing so we remain committed to better management of the industry, however, despite receiving a draft of proposed legislation more than one year ago, we are still to see this legislation presented in parliament. We are in possession of hundreds of photographs taken of the scrap metal located at the several estates in Demerara and Berbice and owned by GuySuCo, certainly these could aid in a thorough investigation into the matter.

The absence of this legislation has therefore rendered the newly created SMU, a department at the Ministry of Business, powerless to act, as it is necessary to sanction unscrupulous dealers involved in nefarious activities regarding the purchase of scrap metal. This issue also brings to mind the high handed actions of a particular official at NICIL as it relates to the sale and removal of scrap metal from Linmine and the Alumina Plant in particular.

This association therefore calls on the Government of Guyana to pull the plug on the export of ferrous metals until appropriate verification can be done to ascertain who removed the metals as well as who authorised such sales from time to time. In this regard an investigation by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) must commence immediately since we are not confident that the SMU given its limited powers, has the capacity to bring perpetrators to justice.

The GMDGEA demands that the full force of the law be brought to bear on all persons fingered in the disposal of these metals. Since 2006, some dealers have been fighting to clean up the industry to curb acts of vandalism. However, today, a new trend has emerged, therefore we demand that stern and immediate action be taken to bring sanity to our industry which has for far too long been viewed with skepticism by corporations and the public at large.

Yours faithfully,

A Malek A Cave

President

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