NASSAU, Bahamas, Thursday July 28, 2011 – In response to widespread theft of copper and various metals, the government has placed a temporary ban on the export of scrap metal and a permanent ban on the export of copper.
The scrap metal export ban will last for a period of 90 days.
“These measures have been taken as a result of the impact such theft has had on major industries and utilities whose services have been disrupted,” a statement from the government said yesterday.
“The Government is assessing the scrap metal industry and will engage with various stakeholders and legitimate businesses with a view to better regulating and monitoring the industry.”
On Tuesday, Jamaica’s Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. Christopher Tufton announced that the export of scrap metal has been banned totally, following widespread pillaging of metal over the past three years, particularly in the last few months, as well as failure by industry stakeholders, despite warnings, to implement measures to help to curb metal theft.
The ban in that country followed a temporary shutdown of the scrap metal industry announced the previous week.
Despite criticism of the ban by Dr. Tufton’s predecessor Karl Samuda and scrap metal dealers in the country, Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects Daryl Vaz insisted yesterday that the shutdown was the best move at this time.
He said the Bruce Golding administration stood by its decision, as the industry was “doing more harm than good…The fact of the matter is that we have gotten to the stage now where they are vandalising private property, and government property, which is having a serious impact on the country’s infrastructure”.
“This was a collective decision by Cabinet, it had the input of the Commissioner of Customs, the Permanent Secretary in the (Industry) Ministry, and all issues relating to this matter including the previous ban and the recommendations by the Ministry, were taken into consideration at Monday’s Cabinet. The decision was based on looking at all of the options that were put forward both by the Ministry and the previous recommendations that were there prior to Minister Tufton,” Vaz said.
Dr. Tufton had said that scrap metal theft has cost the government and the private sector more than $1 billion over the past three years.