Three Haitian bus drivers who ply the Mahaut to Roseau route are calling on the police to address a situation in which they say they were threatened by Dominican bus drivers who claim they are not authorized to do business at the bus stop in Roseau.
The Haitian drivers said the situation has gotten to the point of physical altercations between the two parties and they say they now fear for their lives.
Frantso Moise told Dominica News Online that the situation began in June when new regulations, which included a bus stop on River Street, were put in place for bus drivers plying the route.
“The first day of the new bus stop police came across the bridge and they said nobody should pick up passengers there. So we had to go in the line to wait our turn … I went in the bus stop and the Mahaut drivers say they don’t want Haitians in the bus stop …. I didn’t worry I stayed there and them man fight with me, they block my bus,” Moise claimed.
Moise said he was shocked at the situation.
“I didn’t know what to do because I couldn’t believe what was happening …. I have been driving Mahaut passengers for three years and now this is happening … the bus drivers say they have many buses on the road and is only me and two Haitian drivers that there,” he said.
According to Moise all attempts to get to get the traffic department to resolve the matter have been unsuccessful.
Another Haitian Bus driver Elison Casimire said he was also threatened by several Dominican bus drivers.
“I paying my licenses like everyone one else … I am legal in this country and I cannot make my daily bread … that is not fair, I have been driving bus for three years now in Mahaut … What Haitians do Dominicans? I don’t understand … one bus driver told me that if people wasn’t around he would take me and throw me for no one to find me. The authorities need to do something,” he said.
Mayor of Roseau, Cecil Joseph, has gotten involved in the matter and is appealing to the police to intervene. He blamed the issue on ‘social politics.’
“What they are doing is wrong in trying to prevent another person from making bread rather than trying to see how they can curb it. I am not happy about it. I know the Haitian drivers have been on that route for a few years now so why there is a problem with them? I believe that the (Bus Drivers) Association headed by the President is playing social politics in this thing,” he said.
Attempts by DNO to get a response from the traffic department on the matter have proven futile so far, while several Dominican bus drivers have refused to comment publicly on the matter.
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