Jamaica to Resume Scrap Metal Trade Beginning in January

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - December 19, 2012

Above: Industry Minister Anthony Hylton

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Jamaica’s local scrap metal trade will resume after more than a year, according to Industry Minister Anthony Hylton.

The trade, which was banned by the previous Jamaica Labour Party government in the summer of 2011, will relaunch in January.

At the trade’s peak, it employed more than 10,000 persons, Hylton said at a Jamaica House Briefing on Wednesday. The former government had cited widespread theft in enacting the ban.

Hylton was one of the early critics of the ban when it was first announced.

“My position on the trade in scrap metal has been as consistent as it has been clear,” he said. “The trade is an important contributor to economic activity in Jamaica — we need the scrap metal trade.”

But Hylton acknowledged that the scrap metal trade was not perfect. Even when it was earning a “significant amount of foreign exchange,” the level of theft and vandalism was at an all-time-high.

“There was evidence of wanton disregard for public infrastructure and personal property and the level of theft and vandalism was at an all-time high,” he said. “This does not include the dislocation to businesses and the amount of security measures that companies have to institute to prevent theft.”

The trade will resume in the third week of January, he said, with tough standards for operation.

“Let me make it patently clear, this activity will be guided by very stringent rules and regulations with appropriate penalties for non-compliance,” he said. “It cannot be an ad hoc approach, where traders and exporters do as they please — that will not happen under my watch.”

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