Thieves hit Nightengale

Adriel Brathwaite
Adriel Brathwaite

Copper thieves have “hit’ the Nightengale Complex at Black Rock, St. Michael.

A senior official of the Child Care Board, the agency responsible for children’s homes, told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that the culprits “got away with a lot of the copper from the roof of one of the cottages” at the complex recently.

“It is that bad,” she lamented.

The official, who did not want to be quoted, said the matter was currently under investigation.

“It has caused us to review (our security) and a number of things,” added the board official.

Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin had been complaining that the cash for gold and scrap metal business had been a major headache for members of the Royal Barbados Police Force and that there was need for tougher legislation to address the matter.SNbSDottin’s cries were heard, when on January 22, the House of Assembly passed the†Precious Metals and Second-Hand Metals Act 2013, imposing a $50,000 fine or 10 years in jail or both, for persons found guilty of stealing jewellery or scrap metal, such as copper, or other provisions of the new law.

Attorney-General Adriel Brathwaite, who introduced the measure, told the Lower Chamber that the same penalties would be imposed on dealers who failed to register their business.

Brathwaite issued a warning that the new penalties were Government’s way of sending a signal to second hand metal and gold thieves that it was serious about dealing with this situation. But this latest attack on the children’s home at Black Rock, seem to suggest that the new “tough” legislation, may not be a deterrent to copper thieves.

“There is a problem in this country with respect to the stealing of second hand metal and the stealing of jewellery,” noted the attorney-general at the time. He said the old legislation could not assist the authorities in attacking the problem, adding that it provided for fines as low as $48.

“We have a situation in Barbados, where households are deprived of their television antenas. So persons walk around or drive around in your constituencies, enter your homes and remove the antenas from the top of your homes and your solar water heaters,” he lamented.

“The grills in the road that are placed there for the protection of the same individuals, that are placed there for the protection of cars and pedestrians, these grills are taken up and disposed of illegally,” he noted.

Brathwaite said this was why the Government thought it needed to address this issue urgently in order to assist the police and to give the law more teeth.

He said that in order for the act to serve as a deterrent, Government needed to ensure there was adequate policing of those operating scrap metal and second hand gold businesses. (EJ)

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