[Jamaica information service] Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says that the shutdown of the scrap metal industry is in the best interest of the country at this time.
Mr. Vaz said the Government stands 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".
Speaking at today's (July 27) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House,
Mr. Vaz said the Cabinet decision, which was announced yesterday (July 26) by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, had come following the examination of all options.
"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," he outlined.
Meanwhile, Mr. Vaz noted that the Government is fully aware that the industry provides employment and generate taxes, all of which would be impacted, but stressed that the decision was for the country's benefit.
"We are always open to proposals, but for right now, it (the industry) is closed," he stated.
In a statement issued yesterday, the Commerce Minister said scrap metal theft has cost the government and the private sector more than $1 billion over the past three years. The latest upsurge in the theft of valuable infrastructure, including train lines, heritage items and graves, have led to renewed calls for further Government intervention to address the problem.
Scrap Metal Ban Best for the Country - Vaz