Categorized | Featured, Local, News

Scrap wire, metal scandal brew

scrapsborne-house-nov2011-002-300x162There is brewing a matter under investigation by the media, involving and following from news stories we published in December 2011 and again six months later in June 2012, about scrap metal and wire being exported from Montserrat, and in particular from the Exclusion Zones.

The abandoned capital of Plymouth, Montserrat is the centre of attention, but there is a scandal of sizable proportion it would appear from the unconfirmed information reaching us about a matter involved in vicinity of the Belham and surroundings.

The ensuing scandal, which involves but not exclusively to parting of company within the MCAP party/government, as well as the legality of some of actions, was quietly alluded to at the end of the Premier’s recent Dubai visit report press conference. He was asked, “…seeking clarifications on some questions that are being asked and also some allegations that have been made about access into the unsafe zone, the involvement of certain high level officials in giving access to certain persons for removal of materials and vehicles.”

There has been much development following our reports in 2011 and 2012. In June 2012, in a release from the Governor’s Office warned, “If anyone is found in Zone V, apart from those sand miners who have been given permission to do so, they are liable to arrest and will appear before the Magistrate.”

scrapqsborne-house-nov2011-004-300x225All that time there was a company, Caribbean Metal Pro. Ltd. with registered office at Brandt & Associates, Brades, Montserrat, formed since we broke news of the scavenging activity, holding an Agreement dated 20th December, 2011 signed by Premier Meade.

The Agreement was signed and on giving them permission to take away scrap metal from ‘government’ buildings in Plymouth, such as the factory shells, MSS, Technical College, Public Works and others with the proviso that “an authorized government official first verify that the said property in question belong to the Government of Montserrat.”

The Governor’s reaction had come as a result of sand mining officials that there are other persons conducting activities other sand mining or just visiting in the exclusion zone V.

On April 15, 2011, Montserrat Utilities Ltd. (MUL) acting on advice from the authorities, aired on radio, advising the public that it had not authorized anyone to remove its property for scrap metal or any other purpose, reminding they will prosecute anyone found doing so.

MUL management reported that they had reacted to the advice following reports that they had information that their material had been removed from all over the island and especially from Plymouth and the exclusion zone. The management says it had not received any new information, but “it is a matter being followed up”.

Since then the scrap metal activities, some of which have reached the courts, in some cases resulting in imprisonment have become big business, but the reports are that many private properties have been scavenged and containers of the materials have been sold and shipped overseas. One such shipment resulted in unconfirmed reports that in one such instance, people were arrested and over a US$100,000 have become an issue and part of a scandal. In another instance MUL personnel have been summoned by Customs to identify/verify that items being shipped are those belonging to, or not belonging to the company.

Following is the Premier’s ‘comprehensive’ response, almost in full, giving some insight to some of the issues surrounding the ensuing scandal.

“When I was minister for agriculture and environment under the Dr. Lewis administration -we went on a drive to rid the Island of as many of the derelict vehicles as possible. We then sought to have companies from interests in scavenging those vehicles for export. A company and agreed to take those vehicles.

“… We took office, we decided let’s move all of these equipment into Plymouth with the hope that you can export from the Plymouths pier and they can use the facility in there for cutting the vehicles.

“ So yes there was an agreement signed by me as premier with full support of cabinet. Additionally, there are buildings in Plymouth lots of scrap metal and the question is, can we also have some of that scrap metal? And the understanding is yes, as long it’s on the government property you have the authority to do it,” he said

DSC_0122HHe said there was a proviso on that. “However if you wish to go on private property, or property owned by MUL or any other such agencies, you must first have their concurrence – cut your own deal or your own arrangements with them, but on government property you can take all of these scrap metals.”

The Premier went on to explain , “accessing Plymouth” handled in a very simple manner through the authorization of DMCA with a safety criteria plan, involving the MVO. He explained also the opening of the gate to facilitate the movement into the inner gate where the standard practice is that “they will be provided with the key from the Salem police station.”

He then gave the reasoning with an analogy of ‘the old shirt.’ “And therefore are we saying that we much prefer to see that you have a old shirt that can’t fit you anymore and you prefer to leave it in your closet and throw it on the garbage heap rather than give it to somebody for them to use?” he asked.

He justified the economy of the action of allowing access to the government’s property. “The persons who are involved in the derelict vehicles have to pay their workers and import the materials to cut the vehicles and therefore they are creating employment and when they export the products, they bringing foreign exchange to Montserrat – therefore it is something supported by the government of Montserrat supported by cabinet we have no apology to make to anybody.”

He concluded, that where property is taken from private property, “That is a matter for the police,” he said.

He said further that the Cabinet decision, “also speaks to Custom and Police border control, grouping to be able to search containers. He said the operators needed to haveso get a certificate to show that you have permission to export the material.

“So that is the comprehensive manner in which the matter is been addressed and I hope that I have satisfied those who may had have concerns!”

We asked the Premier: “Did the government charge or get anything from the people who exported whatever they exploited in there?

His response, “We always wonder whether or not, and this is why I said having an old shirt in your closet and there is nothing you get from it, just give it to somebody who can make use of it. The persons who are employed must spend money in the economy, it is creating employment and that is what government gets,” justifying, “the fact that you are creating employment, you are creating revenue generating opportunities. And every time people spend money in Montserrat the government gets something.”

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

scrapsborne-house-nov2011-002-300x162There is brewing a matter under investigation by the media, involving and following from news stories we published in December 2011 and again six months later in June 2012, about scrap metal and wire being exported from Montserrat, and in particular from the Exclusion Zones.

The abandoned capital of Plymouth, Montserrat is the centre of attention, but there is a scandal of sizable proportion it would appear from the unconfirmed information reaching us about a matter involved in vicinity of the Belham and surroundings.

The ensuing scandal, which involves but not exclusively to parting of company within the MCAP party/government, as well as the legality of some of actions, was quietly alluded to at the end of the Premier’s recent Dubai visit report press conference. He was asked, “…seeking clarifications on some questions that are being asked and also some allegations that have been made about access into the unsafe zone, the involvement of certain high level officials in giving access to certain persons for removal of materials and vehicles.”

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There has been much development following our reports in 2011 and 2012. In June 2012, in a release from the Governor’s Office warned, “If anyone is found in Zone V, apart from those sand miners who have been given permission to do so, they are liable to arrest and will appear before the Magistrate.”

scrapqsborne-house-nov2011-004-300x225All that time there was a company, Caribbean Metal Pro. Ltd. with registered office at Brandt & Associates, Brades, Montserrat, formed since we broke news of the scavenging activity, holding an Agreement dated 20th December, 2011 signed by Premier Meade.

The Agreement was signed and on giving them permission to take away scrap metal from ‘government’ buildings in Plymouth, such as the factory shells, MSS, Technical College, Public Works and others with the proviso that “an authorized government official first verify that the said property in question belong to the Government of Montserrat.”

The Governor’s reaction had come as a result of sand mining officials that there are other persons conducting activities other sand mining or just visiting in the exclusion zone V.

On April 15, 2011, Montserrat Utilities Ltd. (MUL) acting on advice from the authorities, aired on radio, advising the public that it had not authorized anyone to remove its property for scrap metal or any other purpose, reminding they will prosecute anyone found doing so.

MUL management reported that they had reacted to the advice following reports that they had information that their material had been removed from all over the island and especially from Plymouth and the exclusion zone. The management says it had not received any new information, but “it is a matter being followed up”.

Since then the scrap metal activities, some of which have reached the courts, in some cases resulting in imprisonment have become big business, but the reports are that many private properties have been scavenged and containers of the materials have been sold and shipped overseas. One such shipment resulted in unconfirmed reports that in one such instance, people were arrested and over a US$100,000 have become an issue and part of a scandal. In another instance MUL personnel have been summoned by Customs to identify/verify that items being shipped are those belonging to, or not belonging to the company.

Following is the Premier’s ‘comprehensive’ response, almost in full, giving some insight to some of the issues surrounding the ensuing scandal.

“When I was minister for agriculture and environment under the Dr. Lewis administration -we went on a drive to rid the Island of as many of the derelict vehicles as possible. We then sought to have companies from interests in scavenging those vehicles for export. A company and agreed to take those vehicles.

“… We took office, we decided let’s move all of these equipment into Plymouth with the hope that you can export from the Plymouths pier and they can use the facility in there for cutting the vehicles.

“ So yes there was an agreement signed by me as premier with full support of cabinet. Additionally, there are buildings in Plymouth lots of scrap metal and the question is, can we also have some of that scrap metal? And the understanding is yes, as long it’s on the government property you have the authority to do it,” he said

DSC_0122HHe said there was a proviso on that. “However if you wish to go on private property, or property owned by MUL or any other such agencies, you must first have their concurrence – cut your own deal or your own arrangements with them, but on government property you can take all of these scrap metals.”

The Premier went on to explain , “accessing Plymouth” handled in a very simple manner through the authorization of DMCA with a safety criteria plan, involving the MVO. He explained also the opening of the gate to facilitate the movement into the inner gate where the standard practice is that “they will be provided with the key from the Salem police station.”

He then gave the reasoning with an analogy of ‘the old shirt.’ “And therefore are we saying that we much prefer to see that you have a old shirt that can’t fit you anymore and you prefer to leave it in your closet and throw it on the garbage heap rather than give it to somebody for them to use?” he asked.

He justified the economy of the action of allowing access to the government’s property. “The persons who are involved in the derelict vehicles have to pay their workers and import the materials to cut the vehicles and therefore they are creating employment and when they export the products, they bringing foreign exchange to Montserrat – therefore it is something supported by the government of Montserrat supported by cabinet we have no apology to make to anybody.”

He concluded, that where property is taken from private property, “That is a matter for the police,” he said.

He said further that the Cabinet decision, “also speaks to Custom and Police border control, grouping to be able to search containers. He said the operators needed to haveso get a certificate to show that you have permission to export the material.

“So that is the comprehensive manner in which the matter is been addressed and I hope that I have satisfied those who may had have concerns!”

We asked the Premier: “Did the government charge or get anything from the people who exported whatever they exploited in there?

His response, “We always wonder whether or not, and this is why I said having an old shirt in your closet and there is nothing you get from it, just give it to somebody who can make use of it. The persons who are employed must spend money in the economy, it is creating employment and that is what government gets,” justifying, “the fact that you are creating employment, you are creating revenue generating opportunities. And every time people spend money in Montserrat the government gets something.”