I felt the need to rant after reading an article in the Jamaica Observer last week.
Here’s my letter that was published April 16 2013:
I make reference to your article carried Friday, April 12, 2013 “Mark your metal, Hylton urges”. This is not the answer to the problems associated with the restarted scrap metal industry.
To begin with, there is no manufacturing now taking place in Jamaica that produces enough scrap metal to sustain any sort of trade in this form of waste. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong here.
It means that the players in this industry will have to resort to other sources of metal to sustain their operations. Hence stolen cables, vandalised properties and compromised infrastructure like bridges, manholes and the like. I would like Minister Hylton to advise us how to “mark” kilometres of cable to prevent theft. I’d also like Minister Hylton to tell me how to “mark” my wrought iron gate, fence and garbage receptacle to prevent theft. His response to an industry that, I argue, offers a net negative value to the nation speaks volumes as to his absolute lack of appreciation for business basics and operational efficiencies. It is not enough to assure Flow, one of the most recent victims of stolen cables, that “rigorous regulations governing the scrap metal trade would make it difficult for stolen material to be exported”. He just does not get it.
The bottom line is that Flow is minus the use of its asset right now, whether the cables are exported now or later, representing a loss in terms of a reduced asset base and reduced income from customers to whom they cannot provide the service without these cables.
Get real, Minister, and get a grip.