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Ron Ayoung, left, exchange documents with president of the Scrap Iron Dealers Association, Allan Ferguson, during a press conference at Signature Hall, Montrose Road, Chaguanas, yesterday.

The T&T Scrap Iron Dealers Association has asked the Government to allow them to remove the Usine Ste Madeleine and Brechin Castle sugar mills.

The association made the call at a news conference at Signature Hall, Chaguanas yesterday.

The association president, Allan Ferguson, told Guardian Media that his members are the only ones qualified to remove such structure.

Usine St Madeleine and Brechin Castle sugar mills came into the limelight after tenders were made public by the Rural Development Company. The two structures fall under the purview of Ministry of Agriculture.

The Scrap Iron Dealers Association was adamant that they were the only authority to remove such a structure.

The association also claimed that the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (Cariri) report done by the CEPEP Company Ltd showed that the two mills are currently health and safety hazards since asbestos was found at the sites.

The association said asbestos is very harmful and this can cause huge health and environmental concerns for the communities and areas surrounding the two sites.

“Since 2012, we have been lobby to get the two sugar mills to cut down. Recently, we made a call to Caroni Ltd to ask what the situation was with the two mills. We were told it was going for bidding. We took it upon ourselves to get documents and the requirements were in no way to allow us to get a chance to remove the mill,” Ferguson said.

“We have information the tender process is a sham and we know there is preferential treatment, however, we are making it clear to the government that we are the only body in the country trained and qualified to cut down the mill,” he added.

Ferguson contended that to sell steel one must have a licence.

“We intend to challenge the government no matter what it takes. We will not allow anyone else to get the two sugar mills. Things like this happen all the time, this time we will not sit idly by and let someone unqualified get the job,” he said.

The association said they brought in professionals to assess the plans but was unable to do so.

“We are willing to remove the two mills free of charge for the government and we have been lobbying to remove derelict ships at our harbours. To date, the government has not responded to any of our requests and, with plans afoot to sideline us, we are going to fight,” he said.

The conversation is still continuing with regards to these two historical sites whether they should be restored or demolished.