Statement on the Tipper Truckers Association of Dominica Engaged on the Pont Casse to Melville Hall Road Rehabilitation – Lot 2 Project

I feel obliged to shed some light on a matter of much debate over the last few days. The Tipper Truckers Association of Dominica is subcontracted to Emile Gaddarkhan et Fils, the main contractor of the Pont Casse to Melville Hall Road Rehabilitation – Lot 2 Project. I have been so advised that the payment claims for the Tipper Truckers Association and other suppliers are processed by the main contractor and included in the contractor’s own claim which is submitted to the Consultant of the project for certifying and passing on to the funding agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD) through the Ministry of Public Works, Energy and Ports. The certified claim of the contractor is submitted to the AFD Regional Office in Martinique for payment.

Notwithstanding the fact for the additional works that is currently ongoing under the new financing facility a new payment arrangement was negotiated and a local bank account was set up by the funding agency in order to facilitate the quicker payment of the contactor and subcontractors including the truckers. All the mechanism for the allowing the transfers of the funds from the local bank have been finalized and payments can now made to the contractor and subcontractors (truckers, works providers, suppliers of cement, steel, fuel). I have been advised that the Tipper Truckers Association has been informed of the state of readiness for making of the payment.

Under this new arrangement the contractor’s claim must still be endorsed by the funding agency and the payment made from local bank account. I have been advised that as of this month the sum of US$4.0 M was paid to the local account by the funding agency. I have been further advised that to facilitate the Tipper Truckers Association the Ministry has agreed for the main contractor to endorse their claim and pass on to the consultant for payment in advance of the contractor’s own claim.

It is unfortunate however that operatives of the United Workers Party including elected members were directly involved in making of phone calls to instigate the truckers to take certain civil disobedience actions like the blocking of bridges and obstructing of traffic.

It is hopeful that new measure will lead to a smoother and more efficient system for all parties concerned.