Good move, Mr AG!

Pawnshops welcome talk of tighter regulation

Pawnbrokers here have welcomed news that Government will be tightening its regulation of that industry.

In fact, two well-known operators have suggested that the move is long overdue.

During a news conference Thursday at police headquarters Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite said he was concerned that operators of the shops were not performing sufficient due diligence, making them susceptible to trading in stolen items.

“From what I have been told, which I wasn’t really aware of, frankly, is that we now have a couple of pawn shops that . . . it’s not even just jewellery . . . that you can take in tools and be loaned some money against your tools.

“What I’m being told [is that] persons are able to steal property, take them to these entities, have cash against them and not enough due diligence or not enough questions are being asked in terms of ‘how can you prove to me whether or not this stuff is actually yours,’” Brathwaite said.

Acknowledging that these shops were not currently regulated, he promised to place them high on his agenda for control and supervision.

However, Manager of the Bridgetown branch of Cashwiz Nakita Coppin told Barbados TODAY her company was already carrying out the necessary due diligence. In fact, she said the company, which has a close relationship with the Royal Barbados Police Force, was already strictly enforcing a number of regulations.

“We take every possible information we can get from an individual. So name, contact number, ID card that we scan a picture of, we also take the ID information. We also do a fingerprint,” Coppin said, emphasizing that “a person cannot do any business with us if we can’t take your fingerprint.

“We also take full information on the item as well. So we have every detail possible that you can have on whatever the item is,” she stressed.

President and Chief Executive Officer of Iexchange and Barbados Gold Buyers Scott Goodman welcomed the Attorney General’s statement, but told Barbados TODAY only one per cent of all customers were seemingly willing to take a chance and pass off items not belonging to them.

“I agree 100 per cent with the Attorney General that the pawn industry needs to be regulated. It has helped the precious metal industry as one of the stipulations is that all transactions must be submitted to the [Royal Barbados] Police Force within 24 hours.

“It would be a great help for the Royal Barbados Police Force to be notified of all transactions so that they can actively compare items purchased to open stolen merchandise cases,” Goodman said.

“Our procedure is that you have to give your ID. We ask you some questions to really kind of gauge if this item is yours or not. Once we believe it is your item we will take photos of the ID, get your address and all your information and then we will purchase the item. But it is not done unless there is a set of questions about the items,” the businessman explained. 

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