President of the Tipper Truckers Association Earl Laudat said truckers on the island have not blamed the Roosevelt Skerrit administration for the non-inclusion of local truckers for the construction of the Roseau to Portsmouth road rehabilitation project.
Initially, truckers expressed concerns for the first time following the official ground-breaking of the Japanese -funded Fisheries Complex in Portsmouth in January, after they were told that their services would not be needed.
And last week, they expressed similar sentiments about the $100 million Chinese-funded Roseau to Portsmouth road rehabilitation project, which ground was officially broken for on Friday.
But Laudat said while truckers are upset the latest project has been in the pipeline for some time now.
“I wouldn’t want to blame government because that project has been in the pipeline for a long while. I think if they sit and rationalize the situation, they would realize that it would be cheaper for them to use the local truckers,” he said.
He said “because the Chinese are giving us a grant, they would want to use their own labour. But there is no way it would be cheaper for them. It’s not a matter of fighting for jobs. I heard people saying that we are fighting the Chinese. We appreciate the grant but at the end of the day we too must get something out of it,” he said.
Sixteen Chinese technicians began work on the road project Friday, following the ceremony.
Public Works Minister Rayburn Blackmoore had said that government is negotiating to have locals included in the project.