Mon | Mar 25, 2019

Money-mad metal thieves

Published:Saturday | May 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

Having first-hand experience of the foibles of the scrap metal industry, I can totally agree with the Governments indefinitely halting all export of this so-called 'commodity'.

The extremes that the thieves are willing to go to have reached a new level. I see where the sugar industry is losing millions in irrigation investment, gas stations have had theirs signs sawn down, and community projects have been stalled due to the thievery of these money-mad misanthropes.

For years, a hydroelectric turbine rested in my garage, awaiting the favour of the many, but sadly, priority-skewed, aid and grant funding agencies. This shining example of engineering, wrought in stainless steel and bronze, was to be used (if the funds ever became available), to power a yet, unnamed community, probably in the eastern heights of the island. As with a lot of things on this heartbreak island, the main parts of this machine were ripped from my grasp of both and the future beneficiaries by thieves who knew the lay of my property.

The replacement cost to scrap metal value ratio is so wide that one can only blame the failed educational system for this great discrepancy.

not many places

I'm not sure how much the Government gets from the scrap metal industry, but if our infrastructure continues to be dismantled, the cost/benefit ratio can't be that favourable. From personal experience, I know that apart from the Jamaica Public Service and the defunct bauxite companies there are not many places that are generating scrap in large quantities, that may be legally bought and sold.

Thus, most scrap, in our inimitably Jamaican manner, is created by destroying what is before us for quick money. Thus has arisen the 'Vote for a Goat' syndrome spoken frequently about by social commentator Wilmot Perkins, among others.

There is a simple law at work here: supply and demand. Or the inverse: demand and supply. The Government must totally cease all demand by banning in perpetuity this destructive, so-called 'trade'.

Teach the poor to make their own salt fish, grow yam, and as I visited the wilds and dykes of the old Brumdec concept the other day, we have to start growing rice once more. We have the water, the land, the paddies, but seemingly, no will. There is still enough water flowing at documented sites around the island from which hydro-turbines can provide enough electricity that, if wheeled by the JPS, would obviate the need for fossil-fuelled generators, to fire up, say, a new rice mill at the old Elim location. We cannot continue being slaves to those who fill our bellies.

I am, etc.,