Nassau Pawn Calls for Regulation of Gold-Buying Industry
Less than one month after it re-opened following a police raid that ended with confiscated goods being returned to the store, a local pawn shop has said the time has come to regulate the quickly growing gold-buying industry in The Bahamas.
“Gold-buying operations are springing up all over,” said Corey Rolle, manager of Nassau Pawn located at the eastern end of Bay Street. “Unfortunately, many of these are temporary. Generally, they pay cash on the spot, there are no records, the gold is melted down and since no one knows where it came from or if it is stolen, there is no way to trace it or ever return it to the rightful owner. Such quick-buy, no-records-kept businesses can encourage theft. We know how often this can happen because we turn down the majority of persons who come into Nassau Pawn where we will not purchase anything without a photo ID of the seller.”
Surveillance cameras are also located inside the store that handles everything from scooters to electronics.
According to Rolle, the only way to stop what Nassau pawn called “a serious threat to security and a tough challenge for law enforcement” is to regulate the gold-buying industry.
“Legitimate businesses have best practices standards and there is a very legitimate side to the sale of luxury goods, including gold,” said Rolle. “But for the unsavory aspects of the exchange of gold for cash, we at Nassau Pawn strongly urge officials to immediately consider legislation similar to that which is in place in the U.K. and has allowed the industry to serve the legitimate purpose for which it was originally designed. We deal with people all the time who either need money more than they need their electronic equipment or jewelry or tools or just no longer have a use for them. Sometimes they have fallen on hard times but more often than not, they just do not need an item any longer. A spouse has passed away or a child has grown up and left home, a hundred different reasons. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the difference between the person who legitimately has an item for sale and the Joneser who comes in carrying a $10,000 gold bracelet.” By keeping a permanent log of all sales — and there have been thousands since they opened in March — Nassau Pawn said it is able to trace who brought merchandise in and not only had a written record, but video, thanks to the assistance of police who helped advise placement of surveillance cameras.
“The more we do to establish credibility, the better it will be for those businesses like ours that pay normal business expenses — rent, National Insurance, licensing fees — and which have the measures in place to discern between people who sell because they want to and people who steal because they believe they need money fast and opportunity is as close as a nearby mall or hall.”