Local truckers, frustrated over lack of employment, plead for piece of ‘construction pie’

Frustration is reaching an all-time high over the non-inclusion of local truckers in the construction of major projects on island and according to the truckers, if this situation is not remedied, the sector will collapse.

Their issue of lack of employment spans over a decade, but according to the new president of the Tipper Truckers Association of Dominica (TTAD), Anton Laville, the situation has worsened following the passage of Hurricane Maria and fears are mounting that the members are nearing the end of their tether.

Laville told Dominica News Online (DNO) that the TTAD met with the minister for public works and the digital economy Casani Laville recently and followed his recommendation that they further engage the foreign firms on the island, to no avail.

“At this stage, there is nothing substantial for the trucker here on island as we are really not catered for,” he said. “We have no problem working with the foreigners, however, it is our country to build and we should be given the priority.”

Proof of this, Laville pointed out, was a letter requested and sent to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sotradom Jacque Gaddarkhan on  January 29, 2020, expressing TTAD’s commitment to work with the company for the operation of Lot 1 (Bois Diable to Castle Bruce- segment 2), of the rehabilitation of the east coast road.

However, Laville informed DNO that since the approval of the over 100 million dollars  contract funded by the World Bank for the execution of that project, Sotradom has not honoured a previous commitment made between the two parties, which the truckers association has since written to them about.

Laville said that within the past two months, TTAD has sent two letters,  first requesting a meeting with the head of the  company to discuss the status of the engagement of local truckers on the project, and a follow up letter dated August 28, 2021, lamenting what TTAD perceived as antipathy by Sotradom for local truckers.

“We were much surprised at the twist in your response but more by your attitude of hate for Dominican truckers and its people by extension, in the way you spued [spewed] out in your conversations to the vice president Mr. Earl Laudat in response to our letter,” the letter stated.

“We take special interest in your statement of your ability to make life difficult for Dominican truckers and even chose to give us reference by requesting that we ask the people of your native land, Guadeloupe, how difficult you can make people’s life,” It continued. “We take special interest in the fact that you say that you don’t owe the Dominican truckers anything and you are not interested in working with Dominican Truckers.”

The letter ended by requesting another meeting and an update “keeping with the spirit of the commitment given.”

Attempts by DNO to get a comment directly from Sotradom’s management were not successful but we have obtained a copy of a letter sent to TTAD by attorney Hazel Johnson on Sotradom’s behalf denying the association’s accusations that the company was “harboring hatred for Dominican truckers and Dominican people by extension.”

“This is absolutely false and is nothing more than a total exaggeration and misrepresentation of statements made by him,” the letter dated September 3, 2021, stated.

Contrary to the TTAD belief that the January 2020 letter was a dedication to engage their service, the attorney argued that the letter sent was expressly self-described as a “proposal”, and that Sotradom disagrees that any “commitment” exists between the TTAD and the company.

The association has also met with   Montreal Management Consultants Est (MMCE) -the firm overseeing the construction of the international airport- and  has expressed optimism that Dominican trucks will get a chance to make “a decent” income.

Laville is hopeful that as the construction  progresses, consideration can be given to the truckers receiving a piece of the pie in the nation’s largest infrastructural project without having too much trouble.

“One of our  biggest issues with large foreign contractors is that they expect us to be able to work at a rate that cannot be sustainable,” he said. “It is really harsh and people don’t see what is really going on with the truckers. We haven’t asked the government for a stimulus package. We have been bearing the pain figuring out that when this project comes on, we will be making some decent cash.”

As to the truckers’ next course of action, Laville says they will be meeting with the permanent secretary of public works in the near future and following that meeting, the association will hold a general meeting to plan their way forward.

“Something has to be done because at the end of the day, we are struggling; the banks are calling on us and we have to pay back those bills,” he lamented. “Confidence in the industry has been broken.”

Laville has also called for unity among truckers saying, “we can only make it together.”

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41 Comments

  1. Mark
    September 25, 2021

    Jonathan St.Jean, did you get a chance to read the article? Your comment was “as*es assume” so let me point out to you what was said in the article just in case you were too busy to check it out.
    Mr. Laville, president of TTAD said: One of the biggest issues with large foreign contractors is they expect us to be able to work at a RATE that cannot be sustainable. End of quote.
    I don’t have a personal agenda so there is no way I was going to make any assumptions especially when the issue dealt with a man’s “DAILY BREAD”.I was only commenting on what was said in the article.
    Folks like you don’t help the situation because of your one sided approach at looking at things.
    Maybe you’re just incapable of evaluating a situation and coming up with a sound resolution. In this case, you should refrain from offering any advice.

  2. Mark
    September 24, 2021

    The mere idea that these foreign companies are able to secure our local business tells me that something is drastically wrong on island. Everyone keeps hinting at protest action but in my humble opinion, this is only a bandaid on a problem that currently exists.
    Sometimes, it is important to take a hard look in the mirror to find out painfully at times whether the problem is with us or with them, the foreign contractors.
    The “spin doctors” should always attempt to offer real solutions when confronting difficult matters and not just jump on the bandwagon because it appears at the time to be the most popular solution.
    You are not helping anyone when you don’t tell them the truth because they’re left with the impression that their approach is the right approach.
    Don’t allow your personal agendas to deceive individuals who may be seeking guidance.
    Do the right thing.

  3. Mike
    September 24, 2021

    I do not support the Truckers because you guys are like crabs in a barrel fighting for scraps, greed is ……. When the bus drivers striked that was the perfect opportunity to join them and shut the country down completely and force major changes instead you stayed on the sidelines because you heard Airport was coming and your greed kicked in. The earth movement for the Airport has already been assigned, Dominica Strong, Gaurdakan, and Rayneau, I hope local truckers get nothing and from what am hearing not even local sand and stones will be used on the project.

  4. Mark
    September 23, 2021

    Jonathan St.Jean, please read the article again. It clearly states that the contractor expects us to work for unsustainable rates. The article never said that the truckers are unable to get a piece of the pie so my thing is, adjust your rates. The contractor has budgeted x amount of dollars for trucking so he is reluctant to pay y dollars especially when he can get the work done for the amount he has budgeted. Makes sense.
    The question I have is why do we always have to settle for piece of the pie and not the entire pie? Don’t we have the skills sets to handle major projects, are our proposals more costly than those from outside companies,are we unable to complete and deliver projects on time?
    To me, these are things we should be investigating to find out where our weaknesses lie.
    We are running into the same problem time and time again so getting the truckers a few extra bucks this go around will not the problem.
    We should be focusing on making ourselves competitive.

  5. Dcan 2 d bone
    September 23, 2021

    Its only when you in the kitchen you feel the heat… When there were calls to this same truckers association to support the Builders and Contractors association during the building of the Roseau bridge without tendering process they had no voice. At the time their belly was being filled. Now they asking for support and unity. Hoping for a piece of the airport pie, as usual the people who were voted into power will treat you all like the animals you choose to be, fed with scraps and waste…

  6. Iamanidiot
    September 23, 2021

    I also had an issue with the fact that I would see X amount of trucks coming in to do a project. So and So company brining in trucks when we have truckers right here. The money instead of staying to circulate in the economy is being sent back to Barbados or wherever and no one sees a problem with that.
    When a company comes for X months, get paid and go, they go with the money, where are a dominica trucker will come on the market and buy two fig in your hand. It’s not a matter of Red or Blue here. At this point the truck drivers should organize a protest and everybody put your key in a plastic bag so when police come and ask for key just give them the bag with 100 keys, let them figure out which one for what truck. You might think you not affected cause you not a trucker, but you are.

  7. Concern Dominican
    September 22, 2021

    It is so sad that over the past years there is always a problem between truckers of Dominica and contractors in Dominica.
    Looking at it and reading about it i believe the problem is the government of the day..
    Government is the one to put in place terms and conditions for it people to succeed.

  8. Times Now
    September 22, 2021

    I see everybody now blaming the truckers for not taking a stand. These nonsense have been going on for over 20 years and all you people keep walking with heads down and not doing anything to remove this ani ?mal from all you must. Now all you getting at the truckers because they have big vehicles to block and unblock. You all are cowards. Real balls-less sissy. The truckers will soon be singing like little Tommy Tucker once they get a piece of bread from the Doug. This generation is to laid back with no courage putting their children and grandchildren to shame. One man? I mean one man is allowed to mess up the entire country so? While we have people only living to post meaningless comments as though Skeritt is affected by comments. You know this man! Can comments change his behavior? You people should keep from bla bla bla and get this Peeg out. Peegs belong with Peegs. I can hardly wait to see this creature be taken out of office to answer for his CRIMES. Dominicans need to breathe.

  9. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    September 22, 2021

    So, you all see dat red truck der?

    Dat is a labor truck eh!

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

    It supporting Roosevelt; as long as it keep it red collor it owner bound to wock eh!

    Let’s face it; everything in Dominica is political, and every one in the trucking business depends on government for survival; that is the problem; there is not enough to go around.

    In order for all the trucks on the island to keep busy, there must be round the clock activity within certain section of the nations infrastructure via Public Works.

    Our country is only 289.9-305 square miles, it’s not probable, but practically impossible for Roosevelt to keep all these truck owners, and drivers constantly employed.

    In an economy like ours it not going to get any better; we do not have any industries, hence; truck owners cannot expect anything from the private sector; but as I said people get what they pray for.

    Live with Roosevelt and his crap; he gets richer each time he sells a…

  10. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    September 22, 2021

    I am not at least feeling sorry for the truck owners who are complaining; these are the same people who sings glorious songs with the chorus; “we love our PM;” so keep loving him and suffer!

    Now; I have friends and relatives who supports Roosevelt; when I found out that all construction work on the island are conducted by Chines or other foreigners, I asks one of my relatives why are Dominicans not given the opportunity to participate in the construction work in the country.

    I was informed, that Roosevelt is of the opinion; if he extend contracts to builders and engineers of Dominican nationality; they will do nothing than use-up the money before the projects are completed; so that he can fail.

    That is a very stupid notion, because the way contracts work is like this:

    A percentage of the total amount is paid when work begins; by the time the job is half way another amount is paid, the rest is paid on completion. The people complaining are the same ones who keep Roosevelt…

  11. Mark
    September 22, 2021

    Am I missing something here? The article did not say that the truckers were not being hired but rather said that “the foreign contractors expected them to work for unsustainable rates”. The truckers should not be complaining since they have the option of working for the company or going elsewhere where they’re able to get their desired rate. Too many times we price ourselves out of projects because of the amount we charge.I see it all the time. We have to learn to be competitive.
    We are still fortunate that Dominica is such a small market because believe you me, if we really had competition, folks would be forced to adjust or go under.
    Remember it’s the guy with the purse, whether it’s a company or an individual who sets the wages so you either accept or reject his price.
    Also, the contractor has I assume his truckers who are able to function at the current rate. The question is “why can’t we”?

  12. Everything crash
    September 22, 2021

    https://www.jah-lyrics.com/song/ethiopians-everything-crash
    The exact state of Dominica today. Everything has crashed under Skerrit but nobody standing.

  13. Everything crash
    September 22, 2021

    Under Skerrit Dominica is like a volcano that is ready to explode anything. The man has made life very hard for everyone and nobody is optimistic about tomorrow. Under Skerrit many Dominicans, including his very own ministers have seen their blood pressure skyrocketed and sadly many have burst their pressure valve because they under pressure but they can’t talk and cannot show they are unhappy. Under
    Under Skerrit many good families have fallen apart because either the man or the woman or both had to go outside for food.
    Under Skerrit the church, especially the protestant church has fallen flat on it’s face. Pastors are unfaithful, board members and people in top leadership of the church have messed up one way or the other because the church has compromise d the bible to the point where wrong is right and right is wrong. Under Skerrit everything has crashed according to the song but somehow people dying in pain but will not stand against Skerrit.

  14. Waiting For Airport
    September 22, 2021

    Dominicans just docile and losing everything of value as a consequence. Unless all you willing to block the road like the bus drivers, you will get nothing. You all don’t seem to have the fighting spirit that is needed. Government just sh*****g all over every sector in Dominica and no consequences! The ancestors must be shame!

  15. Mr. E-Nigma
    September 22, 2021

    J Astaphan
    Springfield Trading
    Fine Foods inc
    Archipelago

    These companies would write and plead to govt if some big name food provision companies came into Dominica to set up shop and possibly take away from the pies that they are eating.

    why should truckers and heavy equipment owners accept Rayneau, Big Thumb, Dominica Strong, NH and NSG when we can do the same work and also do it better ?

    Dominica is making millions for all outside people but ourselves

  16. Mr. E-Nigma
    September 22, 2021

    we know that the economy of Dominica is in a critical situation now. we can see this happening on the ground. to get some much needed movement in this economy the locals should be engaged as much as possible. this would mean circulation of money locally and not export of money to foreign countries (such as what is going on now with foreign employees working locally).
    how can you import trucks, drivers and other equipment and expect your economy to flourish ?

    when you import all these, the money made is exported

    resolve this situation before its too late…

  17. Jonathan Y St Jean
    September 22, 2021

    It’s a shame that local entrepreneurs in the trucking business don’t have the support of the government advocating strongly for them to secure a piece of the pie in capital projects expenditure in the country. A government which is threatening to import petroleum products and leave the current importers out to pasture, will not legislate that where local services and skills exist, they be utilized. It’s not surprising starting with the Chinese who don’t employ locals on the projects. The government then gives out contracts without tender and doesn’t allow locals to get a piece of the pie. The reason is clear that Skerritt wants to leave the populace poor and dependent on his handouts so he can go and tell his regional colleagues how he’s solving people’s problems. In the meantime the fruits of our passport sales and economic assistance given by friendly countries are syphoned out of the country. The TTAD should contact president Charlo on how to protest this injustice.

  18. Hector Marie
    September 22, 2021

    I think the truckers should use their trucks to block entrances of the work sight until this is settled and i mean jobs are provided or the crooks pack up and leave which i know they will not do

  19. Ibo France
    September 22, 2021

    Life under Skerrit’s management of Dominica is dry, unseasoned, burnt, grilled chicken without the barbecue sauce. It’s unpalatable.

  20. Ttad
    September 22, 2021

    Man You Guys, TTAD, are a bunch of JOKERS. It just a bunch of HOT as usual. You all and by extension Dominicans has become second class citizens in your own country. You all are enslaved again systematically and instead of STANDING TOGETHER, all talk is about Labor and Workers and Skerritt and Linton.
    When you guys understand what it is to protect all you RIGHTS AND INTEREST and stop mixing colors you all will take a stand. Skerritt is playing the DIVIDE AND RULE, game and you all falling for it hook line and sinker

    • %
      September 22, 2021

      Similar to my comment..Them guys are a bunch of Jokers!!!

  21. Chakademus
    September 22, 2021

    Oh my. Continuation of the sellout and mismanagement of our country.

    It is not explicitly stated but who are the truckers actually working the project? The companies are bringing their own trucks I presume. Then after the project is over and they gone our taxpayers are the ones left with the loan payments.

    Breaks my heart.

  22. SOS
    September 22, 2021

    It is alarming how many millions are being LOANED form the world bank for projects in Dominica and we Dominicans are not the major beneficiaries BUT we are the ones who will be taxed in the future to repay these LOANS..
    *we are not the ones making money on these projects to be able to feed our families, pay our debts and improve our life*
    Yesahhh Dominica, what have we done to you to deserve this kind of treatment in the land of our birth? Whatever we did we are SORRY, please forgive us and lets begin fresh.. PLEASE Dominica PLEASE

  23. DeArAb
    September 22, 2021

    This happens with every major project. They complain and Government holds out till things get tight. Once the heat is on Government starts give them jobs but they would have lost enough to those who were first choice to have maximized their benefits .

  24. Shem
    September 22, 2021

    Listen truckers make sure allu gi and vet vax if u want your job eh..i am a plumber and was called for a job on the housing scheme. I wad ask if i am vaxed my repsponse was.no and not.intention too i am a healthy dud who loves herbs. They dismiss me papa so go vax if u want your job

    • Simple
      September 22, 2021

      Ya we so de country come. Is not red and blue is vax and unvax. But my herbs is my vax too..so che k allu vax vibes im out

  25. Mark
    September 22, 2021

    The truckers need to adjust their rates if they expect to get work. The cheaper guy gets the job. It’s simple economics. They have to match or beat the competition to be hired.
    No company will pay more than they have to for work.

    • Jonathan Y St Jean
      September 23, 2021

      How do you know that it’s an issue about rates? The foreigner didn’t say that, the spokesperson for TTAD didn’t say that, the minister of government didn’t say that so how can you jump to that conclusion?. It’s said that as*es assume.

  26. Ibo France
    September 22, 2021

    Almost everyday in Dominica there is a new problem. Local truckers, farmers, contractors, bus drivers, public servants, I mean, no one is exempted from this hornet nest of troubles.

    What is the source of 99.9% of these problems? One man! Getting rid of Roosevelt Skerrit , politically, should be Dominicans #1 priority and should be done with urgency. There can be no socio-economic gains for Dominicans as long as this intellectually deficient, uncaring, mendacious egomaniac remains in the prime minister’s office.

    Another huge problem in Dominica is APATHY. Nothing a corrupt regime is more afraid of than an informed and restless electorate. Nothing these special breed of people loves more than an apathetic citizenry.

    When Covid 19 was raging and many citizens were losing employment, Skerrit took up residence in a $29 000 000 parlour, paid for by tax payers but has stubbornly refused to give the suffering, recently unemployed Dominicans some financial protection. WICKEDNESS!

    • Waiting For Airport
      September 23, 2021

      Getting rid of him wont solve the problem. They are all sell outs and following orders from outside interests which require them to keep the locals poor. Doesn’t matter whose in power.

      What matters is the heart and spirit of the people. Are we as a people willing to stand up and fight for what is ours? Regardless of victimisation, police intimidation etc are we willing to fight and let the political class know that Dominica is our land and we will not accept any interests that do not prioritise the local population?

      Big foreign owned hotels… Foreign investors get tax cuts while local importers are going out of business because of port fees… refusal to legalise weed, one of the most profitable commodities on the planet, why? because that would offend America by allowing us to compete in the industry and empower local farmers… All our policies are foreign interest based… the political class have zero interest in the locals!

      where is our fight back???

      all we care is…

  27. Mr. Nicholas
    September 22, 2021

    I’ve hear Moun Sewye make several appeals to the bus drivers and truckers to stage a demonstration to address these concerns… the problem is….Those who are being affected MUST be willing to make the stand and speak for themselves… They have been offered support, but all else depends on them..

  28. La Isla Dominica
    September 22, 2021

    Really? Is this is really a cause? Most contracting companies have their trucks. So they going to make a loss just to give a trucker a job? I don’t understand. You have to keep up the times. Right now I would not want my son or daughter driving a truck as their only source of income. The truckers are frustrated because they have no other career options but to drive a truck.

  29. RandyX
    September 22, 2021

    Why do all you direct your frustration at Sotradom and MMCE? They are being told by the PM of this country who and how much local Labour should be engaged but you haven’t got the guts to attack him personally. Strange so that all those past years when you all got small scraps here and there from that same PM he was the best thing since sliced bread. If you want a stable income basis in Dominica all you need to get rid of this corrupt government that prevents exactly that from happening. He needs Dominicans to be totally dependent on him in order to totally control them, surely even the most loyal supporters of this PM must see now that he is either unwilling to provide for jobs and contracts for local companies or that he is incapable of having them included in those international contracts. It must have been clear to all you that election promises are hollow and the Red Clinic was something that he would only keep up until such time when it was impossible for him to be removed.

  30. Ibo France
    September 22, 2021

    It’s obvious. Mr. Skerrit has a proclivity for foreigners and a devout hatred for Dominicans. However, he divides Dominicans for his own personal and ultra-selfish gain.

    If the local truckers move to take protest action, Mr. Skerrit would throw them a meatless bone and they would go quiet. Dominicans are too passive and much too easily satisfied.

    This is very bewildering. How can Dominicans sit idly by, watch one man rise from rags to riches, while they live on the periphery of survival, and do nothing to remove the main stumbling block to their progress? Simply unbelievable!

    Life has a habit of giving people exactly what they deserve.

    • Sims
      September 22, 2021

      a little louder for those in the back…

  31. All shall eat
    September 22, 2021

    Block everywhere with your trucks and take your damn key and leave . Let nothing come in or go out Period.

    • ALL SUPPOSE TO EAT.
      September 22, 2021

      I like your name but i think it you should rename yourself to ALL SHOULD EAT or ALL SUPPOSE TO EAT.. cause in this country is some that eating 10 times and the rest of us doesn’t eat..

  32. The Counselor
    September 22, 2021

    These truckers are to damn week and behaving too much like six year old little boys. Instead of all that useless talk, which leads to their blood pressure level rising, they just have to decide to drive their trucks to Roseau and block the streets from both North and south of Morne Daniel, all the way to Roseau and bus drivers should follow them and block everywhere from the entrance to the airport to Portsmouth. Guys stop crying and dying in secret

  33. Bwa-Banday
    September 22, 2021

    Truckers are nothing but braggers with no Cahunas downstairs. I believe that even my little sister would have given that association better representation because she definitely has B*LLS. Let them sit and wait on the Dictator like he gives a hooch about their plight. Crying does not help anyone on island these days. The bus drivers realized that the Dictator is a quapon so they took action and got some immediate results.

    Truckers have all the big trucks and some have heavy equipment that can carry loads, unblock and BLOCK roads on island by a snap of the finger but nooooo they dont have the B*LLS to take action so they continue to suffer. Good riddance!

    Until they grow some of what my little sister has downstairs that ALL men should have down there, they will remain the Weezib of the Dictatorial Cabal and Jack. So my question to the truckers are; Who beat allu, allu there crying? :twisted: :twisted:

  34. %
    September 22, 2021

    Why did you all write to Kassani, and not the “Minister for Everything”, liar Skerrit??
    Before another election he will let each of you carry 2 trips each, then give you all red T-Shirts to wear like slaves! Then you all will praise him again!!!
    You all are MEN, grow BALLS and do something to force Skerrit to know that you all have committments too. After all he along is getting EC$64000.00 a month..
    Who you all want to do it for you??? The women and children????
    STUPPESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    • %
      September 22, 2021

      He alone is getting EC$64000.00 a month.

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