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cashforgoldby Emmanuel Joseph

It’s not all “glitter” for some major dealers regarding the new law that regulates cash-for-gold and scrap metal businesses in Barbados.

Last evening, the House of Assembly passed legislation which consolidated the regulation of both sectors under one law known as the Precious Metals and Second-Hand Metals Act 2013, but combining the penalties for gold and scrap metal thieves, is rubbing the island’s two leading recycling companies the wrong way.

The legislation, tabled by Attorney-General Adriel Brathwaite, imposes fines of $50,000, ten years in prison, or both, on persons found guilty of stealing metals such as second-hand gold, copper or other types of scrap.

However, owner of B’s Recyling at Cane Garden, St. Thomas, Paul Bynoe, told Barbados TODAY that there should be two separate acts.

“It is very hard when a man to steal a metal, but it is even worse when somebody snatch your gold chain. You can’t mix the scrap metal with the gold. It’s harder on a person when you steal their gold. The two penalties can’t be the same, they have to be separate,” insisted Bynoe.

He said while he participated in recent discussions with the attorney-general and Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin on the problems in the scrap metal and cash-for-gold sectors, he did not know what the provisions were in the new act.

Owner of Recyling Preparation Incorporated at Warrens Industrial Park, Peter Chesham, informed this newspaper that while he, too, and other major dealers had held talks recently with the attorney-general and the commissioner of police, he had not seen the final provisions of the new legislation either.

Chesham was nevertheless, quick to point out, that it made no sense penalising individuals who stole a piece of scrap metal in the same way a person who was “knocked over” in the street for their gold jewellery or whose home was broken into and their jewellery taken.

“No way we [scrap metal dealers] should be linked with the gold people, when you have people being knocked over in the street for their gold,” suggested the dealer who has been operating here for the past 20 years.

Another provision of the legislation which has not gone down well, is a requirement that individuals selling any type of metal, must be paid by cheque only.

That, Chesham insisted, was one of his biggest problems.

“It is not practical to pay everybody by cheque. When you have at least 50 people coming here every day, it means I would have to sign hundreds of cheques and leave them behind, because someone is not always here to sign cheques. It also means I would have to buy a lots more cheque books. It doesn’t make sense,” he asserted.

Chesham noted that there was already a system in place requiring photo IDs, vehicle licence plate numbers and other measures that would trace any possible criminals.

He agreed, however, with the provision which mandated dealers to hold items sold to them for a specified period to allow the police to carry out any investigations for likely theft of such articles.

The business leader also argued that it did not make sense writing “a whole set” of cheques for $5, $10 or $20 for the “little old lady” and other individuals who found a piece of scrap somewhere and wanted a “piece of change” to get by.

He is also facing another major challenge — the “high” price paid for copper. Chesham is blaming one of his major competitors, which he claimed refused to lower their price, forcing him to pay a similar rate in order to remain in business.

He said he believed that the formation of a union comprising the three substantial scrap metal dealers — Scrapman Recylcing, B’s Recycling and himself — would be able to further assist the police in tackling the crime more effective.

“If we all worked together, we could save the country a lot of problems,” Chesham advised.

Owner of Scott’s Jewellery and Services, Kelvin Scott, told this newspaper it was the first time hearing the new act had been passed, but knew of discussions regarding doing something about the problem of illegal dealers and theft.

However, Scott was happy that Government had actually approved new legislation.

“I am happy with anything to try to regulate the trade. Any legislation to better the industry, we will support,” he added. “We welcome the legislation, it is something we have been pushing for ever since.”

Owner of Gold Buyers, Scott Goodman was unavailable for comment.†††††

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